Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milan
Saturday, November 3, 17:00 Hrs GMT
After recording a victory over Genoa which led Allegri to claim that critics have been harsh on Milan, the same team collapsed rather miraculously in the match against Palermo. An insipid first half showing was coupled with a strong second half comeback which only went to highlight the volatile nature of the performance. However, Milan midfielder Kevin Constant who was particularly impressive in the game against Palermo has claimed that Allegri has given him confidence and this comes confirms the general dressing room air being quite positive at Milan despite the abysmal start to their season.
Chievo have nothing to lose and everything to gain when they take on Milan this weekend. Placed in the relegation zone with the only bright sparks in the team being Drame, Thereau and Pellissier, the Gialloblu know they have an uphill battle on their hands.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Milan will be missing the likes of Mesbah, Robinho, De Sciglio, Strasser, Didac Vila, Boateng and Antonini due to injury and Bonera due to suspension. Muntari has been playing in the Primavera for some time now and it can be expected that he will be given a run-in at some point during the match.
Allegri will field a 3-4-3 formation for this match, the one he has been implementing since the loss to Malaga. There has been mixed response to this new formation with Bonera claiming that this was a “different and challenging experience”. Club owner, Silvio Berlusconi, however was fuming at Allegri’s tactics and even vent his frustration at Galliani, who still maintained that Allegri will continue at the helm of Milan.
Amelia will start this match with Mexes, Zapata and Yepes forming the core of defence. Talking of defenders, Milan will only have Acerbi to fall back upon should there be any need for a substitute. Flamini excelled in his limited appearance this season and should get some time in this match. The defence line is laid bare due to the injuries to Antonini and De Sciglio and coupled with the second yellow for Bonera, Milan will be walking a tight rope in this match.
Montolivo and Emanuelson will start at the center of midfield with the former expected to drop deeper in order to support the back-line. Emanuelson likes to go forward at every opportunity but given the fact that he will have Abate for company on the right of midfield, he should curb his attacking instincts just a little bit. Nocerino gets his start after a long time and he will be playing on the left of midfield. Last season, by this time, Nocerino had already scored some goals and was a genuine attacking threat. However, that seems to have been washed away with the departure of Ibrahimovic – who made him look that good. The forward line sees Bojan returning to the starting line-up with El Shaarawy on the left wing. Pato will play as central striker and might be replaced by Pazzini later on.
Probable Starting Line-up (3-4-3): Amelia (GK); Mexes, Zapata, Yepes; Abate, Emanuelson, Montolivo, Nocerino; Bojan, Pato, El Shaarawy
Chievo will be missing the likes of Squizzi, Paloschi, Sardo and Cesar for this match. Chievo are currently languishing second from bottom in the league table and all does not seem rosy for the Flying Donkeys. Having scored only 1 goal with no victories on the road, it can be said that they have certainly not been the best of travellers. Although the same can be said of their opponents – Milan is another question altogether. However, in the match against Napoli, Chievo showed real determination to hold on with 10 men on the field.
Chievo will be using the 4-3-3 formation for this match with Sorrentino reprising his role under the bar. Out of all the formations that have been tried so far, including the 4-1-2-1-2 and the 4-3-2-1, this has been their most successful formation with 2 wins and 1 draw. The back-line sees the pairing of Dainelli and Andreolli in the center of defence. Supporting them on the right is Frey and on the left is Drame. The latter has been having a particularly good season so far and is a force to reckon with aerially. Chievo usually create goals through long-range shots and are well adept at protecting leads. However, they lack the ability to finish well and are somewhat weak aerially. In addition to that, they often lose possession in key areas of the field and are also known to lose their calm against highly skilled players.
Their three-man midfield will see L. Rigoni line up with Guana on the right and M. Rigoni on the left. However, their top three are the ones who will keep the Milan defence busy at all times. Thereau will play through the center with Luciano on the right and Pellissier on the left. Thereau and Pellissier have scored the highest number of goals so far with 2 goals apiece. Milan Milan Milan
Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-3): Sorrentino (GK); Frey, Dainelli, Andreolli, Drame; Guana, L. Rigoni, M. Rigoni; Luciano, Thereau, Pellissier
Player to Watch Out For
Stephan El Shaarawy (AC Milan)
With the present Milan line-up, it is pretty hard to focus on someone other than El Shaarawy. His performance so far this season has been immaculate and he has drawn praise even from former coaches. Slowly and steadily, the young Pharaoh has climbed to the top of the scoring chart with 7 goals so far. In the last 2 months spent at Milan, El Shaarawy has scored 10 goals in total, making him the highest goal-scorer for Milan this term. With no signs of stopping down, it looks like Milan have finally succeeded in unearthing a gem. It remains to be seen how consistent he will be in the coming games as that will be his biggest test.
AC Milan 2-1 Chievo
Milan staged an amazing comeback in their previous match and will be looking to build on that performance when they face relegation-threatened Chievo at home. However, it might be too soon to think of a revival for Milan and unless they perform consistently, they might be even out of Europe next time around. Chievo, on the other hand, will be looking to gather any points they could away from home.