Mario Balotelli and Kaka will be key to AC Milan's fortunes in the Milan Derby against Inter. Reuters
Not too long ago, the Milan Derby between Inter and AC Milan would be a fight between two teams at the top of their game and right up there competing for the Serie A title.
However, when the two big sides battle it out in the Serie A on Sunday, it won't be a top-of-the-table, a-win-and-you-lead battle; it will be one between a side battling to get into the Champions League places against a team barely able to keep their place in the top ten.
This season has not quite gone according to plan for either team so far - Inter, of course have struggled in the last couple of seasons - and neither team look even remotely champion material at the moment.
Having said that, though, even if there might not be a lot at stake in terms of the Serie A standings, a Milan Derby will always be the pick of the weekend in Italy, one of the biggest games every time in the Italian football calendar.
"The derby is always a special game and this close to Christmas makes it even more special," Milan's Daniele Bonera said. "It could mean a merry Christmas for us giving us a few more points on the table and helping towards 2014 in a calmer frame of mind.
"It'll be a tough game on Sunday evening from a technical point of view as Inter remain a strong team even if they haven't had such great results in the past few matches."
Neither side are coming into the game in great form, with Inter, fifth on 28 points from 16 matches, falling to former manager Rafa Benitez and Napoli last weekend for their fourth straight game without a win, while AC Milan, tenth and nine points behind their rivals, earned a point in a hard-fought battle against Roma on Monday.
"We're doing everything we can to prepare the match in the best manner possible even if we dropped a few points on the way to the game. We've let in too many goals and there's some disappointment from the games where we should have got more than we did."
Team news: Inter Milan: Cristian Chivu (toe), Diego Milito and Walter Samuel (both thigh) are out injured with Ricky Alvarez suspended.
Milan: The injury list is even bigger with Stephan El Shaarawy, Robinho, Ignazio Abate, Valter Birsa and Matias Silvestre all sidelined, while Riccardo Montolivo is suspended.
Key men: Inter: Rodrigo Palacio will be the man that Walter Mazzarri looks to for goals in the high-profile clash at the San Siro.
Milan: Mario Balotelli will be keen to shine against his former side, and the Italian striker will be needed by Milan to find goals. Kaka will also be raring to go as he looks to score his 100th goal for the club.
Where to Watch Live
The game is scheduled for a 1.15am IST start on early Monday morning with live coverage on Star Sports HD1 in India. You can also catch the match live online by clicking HERE. To catch the action in the US courtesy live streaming click HERE, while UK viewers can click HERE. The match can be live streamed in the Middle East and North Africa HERE with the same going for Latin America viewers HERE.
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