San Siro, Milan
Saturday, September 28, 18:45 Hrs GMT
AC Milan will be looking to get their season back on track with a victory over Sampdoria at home this weekend. After losing to Napoli for the first time since 1986, Milan almost lost to Bologna in the midweek fixture. However, with a little luck going their way, they managed to come back from 3-1 to level the score minutes before the final whistle. Milan have to raise their game and they need to do it pretty soon, or else this season too might end without any silverware.
Sampdoria have not started their season too well either, losing three matches and drawing two matches so far. In their previous match against Roma, they lost by a margin of 0-2, a result which sent Roma to the top of the table with maximum points from their matches. In addition to that, they also lost the local derby to Genoa recently.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Milan will be missing the likes of Bonera, De Sciglio, Silvestre, Pazzini, El Shaarawy, Montolivo, Saponara and Kaka due to injury and Balotelli due to injury. Although the injury list has remained more or less the same since quite some time, the addition of Balotelli to the unavailable list will surely hurt Milan more than the other players. Balotelli is one player who can be the difference-maker in any game, and his outburst after the final whistle in the match against Napoli has not been well received by anyone at Milan.
Milan did think of lodging a formal complaint over the second booking of Balotelli but later changed their stance and came down strongly on the player. Everyone from Tassotti to Allegri spoke against Balotelli and presently, Milan are even thinking of hiring a psychologist for him. The biggest loss will be his absence in the match against Juventus. However, this might not be the end of it for Balotelli, since he is also likely to be banned from the national team as he abused an official.
Allegri will field a 4-3-1-2 formation for this match with Abbiati manning the posts. The Milan back-line will be formed by Abate and Constant as the right and left backs respectively. The central defensive pair for this match will be Mexes and Zapata. The midfield will see the likes of Poli playing on the right, Muntari playing on the left with De Jong playing the role of the central enforcer. This match will also see Poli face off against his old team mates. Lack of creativity will hamper Milan, but in the absence of any creative player from the midfield, they are bound to be ham-struck in that area till they return.
The forward line will be formed by the likes of Matri and Robinho playing on top. Emanuelson, who has been moved almost all over the pitch, is likely to start this match as a trequartista. The only other forward at Milan’s disposal is Niang – who might see some action at the end should Robinho prove ineffective.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-1-2): Abbiati(GK); Abate, Zapata, Mexes, Constant; Poli, De Jong, Muntari; Emanuelson; Matri, Robinho
Sampdoria will be missing the likes of Eder and Gastaldello due to injury and Barilla due to suspension. Delio Rossi is under considerable pressure since their derby day loss to Genoa. After that match, furious Sampdoria ultras wrote an open letter to the club, the coach and the players.
We saw a group of cadavers wandering round the pitch. Not only did you not look like players, but not even men. It is not the behaviour of a man to fall without a fight, to let himself be derided without reaction.
The shame you covered yourselves in should push you to react with pride, even if we’re not sure you have the moral content to do that.
In any case, prove to us what you’re made of straight away, from Saturday’s game. We can say for certain that the good life is over for you. Our presence in Bogliasco, to watch you do your work, will be constant from here to the end of the season.
A lot is riding on Rossi to get their season back on track as soon as possible. Sampdoria are usually strong at shooting from direct free kicks and attacking set pieces – something which Milan have been horrible so far. The inability to defend a corner or a free kick will surely see Sampdoria score against Milan in the upcoming match. However, Sampdoria are weak against defensing counter attacks or attacks down the wings. But the worst part for Sampdoria has been their clear lack of finishing their scoring chances.
Sampdoria will deploy a 4-4-2 formation with Da Costa under the bars. The back-line will be formed by De Silvestri on the right, Costa on the left with Mustafi and Regini forming the central defensive pairing. The midfield will see the likes of Gavazzi on the right, Wszolek on the left with Obiang and Krsticic playing through the center. The forward line will be formed by Sansone and Gabbiadini.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-4-2): Da Costa(GK); De Silvestri, Mustafi, Regini, Costa; Gavazzi, Obiang, Krsticic, Wszolek; Sansone, Gabbiadini
Player to Watch Out For
Alessandro Matri (Milan)
After his 11 million transfer to Milan from Juventus, Matri has not exactly set the league on fire. In four starts so far, he has not yet scored his first goal for Milan. However, that is likely to change in the coming matches, if his team-mates and coach are to be believed. Both Birsa and Allegri spoke highly of the former Milan player, expecting him to break the duck pretty soon. With Balotelli sidelined for the next two matches, this is the perfect time for Matri to grab the spotlight. Matri has shown glimpses of what he can do, but without any goals, he is finding it hard to get the backing of the Curva Sud.
Milan 2 – 1 Sampdoria
Milan will be looking to take all three points on offer at home. After a somewhat disappointing start to the season so far, nothing could lift the morale of the entire squad than earning a victory in front of the home fans. Sampdoria are not expected to pose much of a challenge, although going by their performance in the previous match, Milan can make a tough match out of it.
Blast From The Past