Milan sit seventh in the Serie A table after three games of the season, already three points adrift of their biggest rivals and league leaders Inter.
It is now six years since AC Milan finished in the top four of Serie A, slumping as low as 10th during that spell as they continue to search for a recipe to restore their former glories.
Ever-improving finishes of seventh, sixth, sixth and fifth over the past four seasons suggests that they are heading in the right direction, but progress has been slow going for a club that has been crowned champions of Europe seven times.
Much of their past success has been built on a rock-solid backline, and under new boss Marco Giampaolo they do at least seem to be edging back towards that all-important trait.
The Rossoneri have conceded just one goal in their three league games this season, keeping a league-high 10 clean sheets in 2019 including back-to-back ones heading into this match.
However, for every Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi and Alessandro Costacurta in Milan's history, there is also an Andriy Shevchenko, Filippo Inzaghi or Marco van Basten, and it is at the sharp end of the field where they have been let down recently.
Giampaolo's side have scored just twice this term, with all three of their matches so far ending in a 1-0 scoreline - defeat to Udinese on the opening day before narrow victories over Brescia and Hellas Verona.
Saturday's match will be their toughest test yet, particularly considering the flying start Inter have made to life under new boss Antonio Conte.
The Nerazzurri have won all three of their league games this season - the only team in Serie A to still boast a 100% record - and have very real ambitions of finally being able to threaten the unprecedented dominance of Juventus this season.
Like their neighbours, Inter have been something of a fallen giant in recent campaigns and have not finished higher than fourth since 2010-11 - the year after they won a treble and a fifth successive league title - but they do seem to be further along in their path to recovery.
Expectations were tempered a little in midweek, though, with Inter needing a 92nd-minute equaliser from Nicolo Barella to avoid a shock defeat at home to Slavia Prague in their opening Champions League group game.
Even a draw in that match could prove to be costly considering that they share a group with Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund too, but on the domestic front at least everything has started in ideal fashion for Conte.
AC Milan form: LWW
Inter Milan form: WWWD
Inter Milan could be without wing-back Antonio Candreva for the derby after he was forced off in the early stages of the second half against Slavia Prague.
Valentino Lazaro came on in his place on that occasion and is the most likely replacement should one be needed this weekend, while Barella - who also came off the bench in midweek - will be hopeful that his late equaliser has earned him a starting role.
New signings Romelu Lukaku and Stefano Sensi have already established themselves in the first team and will be looking to continue their bright starts, with Lukaku scoring twice in his opening three league games and Sensi matching that tally from midfield.
Alexis Sanchez, another summer arrival from Manchester United, came on for a 10-minute cameo last weekend before being an unused sub in the Champions League, so he is still awaiting his full debut.
Diego Godin is another whose integration has been slightly slower than hoped, although he made his first start last time out and should keep his place having now overcome his fitness issues.
Mattia Caldara is a long-term absentee, meanwhile, with the central defender not expected back in action until late November after rupturing his cruciate ligament in May.
AC Milan possible starting lineup:
Donnarumma; Conti, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Biglia, Kessie, Calhanoglu; Suso, Rebic; Piatek
Inter Milan possible starting lineup:
Handanovic; Godin, de Vrij, Skriniar; Lazaro, Barella, Brozovic, Sensi, Asamoah; Martinez, Lukaku
We say: AC Milan 0-1 Inter Milan
AC Milan are not exactly the entertainers at the moment, and this is likely to be a tight and tense edition of the derby. Inter are the form team going into the game, though, and we are backing them to continue their 100% start to the season with the scalp of their fiercest rivals.