Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milan
Sunday, November 11, 14:00 Hrs GMT
Milan takes on Fiorentina this weekend looking to continue their stuttering start to the season. After suffering the worst start in over 70 years, Milan seems to have gotten back on track in the recent matches. In their last Serie A match, they defeated Chievo 5-1 at home, a fact which will be on the back on their minds when they face Fiorentina. However, their impressive victory was marred by the mid-week draw against Malaga in the Champions League.
Fiorentina are currently placed fourth in the league table having lost only two matches so far. Their impressive start has surprised one and all but they have been pegged back by the untimely injury to Jovetic, their leading scorer this season. However, that should not deter the Viola from going all out against Milan.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Milan will be missing the likes of Mesbah, Strasser, Didac Vila, Muntari, Antonini and Abate for this encounter. The latest to add to the growing line of injuries this season is Abate, who was substituted within 10 minutes in the match against Malaga. Although he was not fully fit to play, Allegri decided to risk him anyway and he ended up with an injury which will sideline him for two weeks atleast (similarity with Thiago Silva and Roma last year).
After shuffling through almost every formation possible in the book, Allegri seems to have found a new one – the 4-2-3-1 and according to Montolivo, the formation is ‘suiting’ Milan, just like the 3-4-3 was ‘suiting’ Bonera. The injury to Abate sees the return of De Sciglio to the starting line-up, who was sidelined sometime back with an injury. This will give the youngster ample opportunities to cement his place in the team once again. Speaking of returns, Robinho too will be on the bench for this match and after all the rumors of his move to Santos in January, it might be good for him to finally score some goals.
Abbiati will start this match with the back-line formed by De Sciglio on the right, make-shift defender Constant on the left and Bonera and Mexes forming the heart of defence. With defenders returning from injury, Milan finally have some cover on that front with Acerbi, Yepes and Zapata on the bench for this match. Allegri is still reluctant to play Pazzini from the beginning so it looks like another start for Pato, who broke the goal-scoring ‘duck’ against Malaga.
The midfield sees the combination of Ambrosini and Montolivo, with Ambrosini expected to drop down to help the Milan defence. Although it recently has been seen to drop down in the previous matches, he will be needed upfront in this encounter. The attacking trident will be formed by Emanuelson on the right, Bojan through the center and El Shaarawy on the left. Playing Bojan through the center is a questionable decision since he lacks the ability to hold on to the ball. He is much suited to play on the wings but with Emanuelson and El Shaarawy already booked for the only two spots, he will have to play through the center. Pato will play as the lone striker for this match and since he tends to move to the right as a match wears on, El Shaarawy and Bojan might need to move up.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-2-3-1): Abbiati (GK); De Sciglio, Bonera, Mexes, Constant; Ambrosini, Montolivo; Emanuelson, Bojan, El Shaarawy; Pato
Fiorentina will be missing the likes of Camporese and Jovetic through injury. The loss of Jovetic at this crucial juncture might hamper Fiorentina as they look to strengthen their stranglehold on top of the Serie A table. Fiorentina’s top goal-scorer, Jovetic is out for atleast two weeks following a muscle tear. Although it was initially assumed that he will be fit to face Milan at San Siro, latest reports seem to suggest otherwise. Milan Milan Milan
Fiorentina has reveled this season and the man of the moment seems to be Vincenzo Montella, who has been instrumental in Viola’s rise this season. After arriving in the last transfer window, Montella seems to have found a winning formula and Fiorentina are reaping all the benefits of it. Fiorentina has deployed a strict 3-5-2 formation this season in all of their matches and that has proved to be quite successful so far. The formation will see Viviano under the bar with the back-line formed by the trio of Roncaglia, Rodriguez and Tomovic.
Fiorentina has been extremely strong this season from set piece situations and they attack down the wings. However, their defence lacks the ability to reduce through-ball attacks, something which Montolivo will look to use in favor of Milan. They usually try to score from long shots and are adept at playing a possessive brand of football. Also, they attack more on the left which means that the right midfield of Milan will be kept pretty busy all throughout the match.
Their five-man midfield will see Aquilani, Pizarro and Valero line up in the heart of midfield and they will be supported on the right by Cuadrado and on the left by Pasqual. Ljajic will reprise his usual rose as right forward and in the absence of Jovetic, El Hamdaoui will play as striker.
Probable Starting Line-up (3-5-2): Viviano(GK); Roncaglia, Rodriguez, Tomovic; Cuadrado, Aquilani, Pizarro, Valero, Pasqual; Ljajic, El Hamdaoui
Player to Watch Out For
Riccardo Montolivo (AC Milan)
The former Fiorentina man took some time to settle down at Milan and is now a regular starter under Allegri. Sadly, he remains the only creative source left after the mass exodus last summer. After spending 7 years in Fiorentina, the match might just take its toll on Montolivo, who is bound to perform out of his skin. Having scored twice in the last three Serie A appearances, he is rightly hogging the limelight with El Shaarawy, who is the top scorer in the league presently. All in all, it will be a homecoming for Montolivo and it will be interesting to see his reaction should the winner come from him. Milan Milan Milan
AC Milan 1-1 Fiorentina
Fiorentina are currently on top form and they lie fourth in the league table. Going by their form only, a victory can be predicted for the Viola. However, Milan has shown a rare fighting quality of late and it will be difficult to completely rule them out of the encounter. Although Fiorentina are hampered by injuries, they might find it hard to come away from San Siro with all three points.