AC MILAN

v

SAMPDORIA

Giuseppe Meazza, Milan

April 16, 2011, 18:45 GMT

The Rossoneri host Sampdoria tomorrow with an eye on extending their lead at the top of the table. With nothing but the Scudetto at stake, Milan have plenty of reasons to believe that they can win the title, which has been absent from their cabinet for the last seven years. In their last two games, they have gone from strength to strength, first defeating Internazionale in the derby and thereby achieving a “double” over their fiercest rivals, and then they defeating Fiorentina in an interesting affair, which ended 2-1. Milan has drawn as many as 5 matches this year and this has led to their current predicament. The healthy lead that they enjoyed earlier has come down to only three points and with Napoli breathing down their neck, the only option left is to win.

On the other hand, Sampdoria has enough reasons to believe that their sojourn at the topmost Italian tier of football may soon be ending. Only one victory in their last 14 games does not bode well for a team fighting to stay afloat. A new coach, who was appointed back in March, has not exactly borne fruit as they have garnered only 2 points from their last 8 games.

Team news and tactical brief

AC Milan

Milan enter this match with one eye on the Coppa Italia semi-final next mid-week against Palermo. With their top marksman Ibrahimovic seeing red twice in as many matches, Allegri is likely to put all his eggs in Pato and Robinho’s basket. Literally. With the rejuvenated Seedorf donning the captain’s armband and Pato firing almost at will, it will take a humongous effort on part of Sampdoria to stop him. Pato even went to the extent of saying that he wanted all of 80,000 fans in San Siro to support the home team and get behind them as he felt they are the “12th man”.

With only two losses at home all this season, the Rossoneri are definitely hopeful of a favorable result tomorrow. Allegri exuded confidence in his press conference earlier today where he said, “Tomorrow, we’ll need to play with great attention without saving energy. We’ll have to be tactically aware and play a fast football and because of this I think it won’t be easy. Sampdoria’s position in the standings won’t deceive us, they have good players and we’ll have to face them as if they were the best team in the world, also because now we’re obliged to beat anyone we meet“. Allegri looks at this match with one and only one intention in mind – three points. Even though Sampdoria has lost two of their best forwards, Cassano and Pazzini, to the two Milan clubs, they still are a considerable threat. With Pozzi back in the team and Maccarone faring well lately, Sampdoria is likely to cause all sorts of trouble. Even though they lie only one point away from the R-zone, they have notable players in the form of Poli, Guberti and Palombo.

Milan is likely to field a 4-3-1-2 formation with Van Bommel dropping slightly down to make the formation 4-1-2-1-2. The center-back duo of Nesta and Silva should be back for this match. With Pirlo on the bench after a long time, it can be expected that he will be given a run in the second half. Abate and Zambrotta would be the full-backs for this game. With Flamini and Seedorf at right and left midfield respectively, Van Bommel would have options to pass the ball wide. Boateng would be deployed as the central attacking midfielder, with Pato and Robinho at the top.

Possible Starting line-up: Abbiati (GK), Abate, Nesta, Silva, Zambrotta, Flamini, Van Bommel, Seedorf, Pato, Boateng, Robinho

football formations

Sampdoria

Things are going south for the Blucerchiati for a long time and the future certainly looks bleak for them. Having conceded as many as 23 times in their last 14 games, their defence is not exactly on top of the world. Cavasin replaced Di Carlo in March, but till now has not landed his first win with the new club. In a press conference earlier today, he was heard saying “In matches like the one against Milan, you have to play knowing that you have a chance, even if small, to get a good result. We must believe in it and give all we have. Don’t expect anything special from us, we just want to create problems for Milan with our usual weapons. It will take a great performance to get a positive result, but our main goal is to show the right attitude“.

With Mannini out with a one-match ban, Sampdoria is likely to go forward with a 3-5-2 formation with Volta, Gastaldello and Martinez in defence. Cavasin would cramp the midfield with Guberti, Tissone, Palombo, Polo and Ziegler, in order to stifle the inter-passing between Milan players. Pozzi and Maccarone would form the strike-force.

Possible Starting line-up: Curci (GK), Volta, Gastaldello, Martinez, Guberti, Tissone, Palombo, Poli, Ziegler, Pozzi, Maccarone

Key Facts

1. Milan has lost just twice at home this season with their last defeat coming against Roma in December.

2. Sampdoria has not won in their last 8 matches.

3. Pato joins Ibrahimovic as the top joint goal-scorer for Milan with 14 strikes each.

TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR

Time to set the Italian League on fire.

Pato (Milan): The Brazilian proved that he is back at his best with a sublime performance in the derby against Internazionale. With Ibrahimovic not playing, it is time for Pato to step up once more and showcase his talent. With fellow Brazilian Robinho alongside him, it looks like samba will be the order of the day.

TheHardTackle’s PREDICTION

AC Milan 3-0 Sampdoria

A very strong Milan would like to finish this game with minimal fuss involved. With Palermo waiting for them in mid-week and the game against Roma almost a month away, a calm, relaxed and focused approach would see the Rossoneri come out on top.

TheHardTackle’s BLAST FROM THE PAST

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fxwl1lBZX4Y

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