Can AC Milan still finish above Internazionale?

With Juventus, Roma and Napoli dominating Serie A this season, the traditional superpowers of AC Milan and Internazionale have had to watch on from the sidelines.

Despite being crowned Italian champions on a combined 36 occasions, 18 each, the Milanese giants are both going through transitional periods under new managers.

Inter are in fifth place in the time of writing and are adjudged to be making progress under Walter Mazzarri. Milan on the other hand have had a nightmare campaign and sit in 11th place.

However, with both teams having five domestic games to play, bragging rights in the city are still up for grabs – Inter finishing above their rivals is not a forgone conclusion.

Mazzarri’s charges have drawn their last three games against modest opposition, while Milan have won their last three, closing the gap on their cross-town rivals to five points.

The teams still have to meet in the second Derby della Madonnina of the season, which will surely play a major role in the position that each finishes.

However, looking at the fixture list indicates that there is every chance that Milan could finish above Inter if their recent mini-rejuvenation in form continues.

Clarence SeedorfClarence Seedorf’s men have two winnable home games next against Catania and Livorno, with a trip to take on Roma and an away day against Atalanta on the final day of the season straddling the derby against Inter.

Realistically, Milan will look to pick up 12 points from these five games, which would well and truly put them in the running for Europa League qualification.

Inter on the other hand know that they could strike an almost definitive blow by winning the derby – but their other remaining fixtures are more trying than that of their rivals.

The Nerazzurri have away days at Sampdoria and high-flying Parma to negotiate, with home fixtures against established opposition in the form of Napoli and Lazio also.

Although the derby game will have a big bearing on the points difference between the two sides at the season’s culmination, it is likely that Milan will close the five-point gap.

The merits of the Europa League have been questioned thoroughly in the recent past, but for both these sleeping giants qualification to European football seems like a positive outcome to underwhelming campaigns.

Mazzarri has slowly but surely been leading Inter towards a fight for a place in the top three, but needs major summer investment on a squad that is currently not good enough for the Champions League.

Seedorf’s future at Stadio San Siro is still a source of contention and the Dutch manager will need to finish the season strongly to win over the Rossoneri faithful and ensure he is in the hotseat for next term.

On paper Milan have a competitive side but like their rivals will look to bring a number of new faces into the squad in the summer.

Whether or not either Milan or Inter can pose a threat on the top three next season remains to be seen, but in the meantime being the city’s highest-ranking team at the end of the campaign gives both something still to play for.

By
I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo, goal.com, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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