Saturday, March 29, 19:45 Hrs GMT
AC Milan will surely be hoping for an upswing in their fortunes now, having defeated the hi-flying Viola in the previous round. Though their journey have seen more pitfalls rather than success, Seedorf will surely be hoping to earn maximum points from the remainder of the matches in Serie A.
Chievo are presently lying at the 16th position in Serie A, but more importantly, they are only 3 points off the relegation zone. With the number of matches reducing by the match-day, they will soon be in a battle for survival if they do not manage to garner enough points.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Milan will be missing the services of El Shaarawy, De Sciglio, Petagna, Montolivo and Abate due to injury and Mexes and Constant due to suspension. Seedorf has almost a full squad at his disposal and will surely be looking to make the most of the available players, now knowing that his job might be on the line should Milan fail to qualify for Europe next season.
After a streak of 4 losses, Milan finally snapped out of it and managed to draw the match against Lazio. The general atmosphere around Milanello was downright abysmal following their ouster from the UEFA Champions League and Milan needed some points, not only to climb up the table but also to appease the fans who have been calling for their heads for quite some time. So much so, even Maldini came out criticizing the activities surrounding Milan, stating that they have destroyed what was built painstakingly over the last decade. While former players and coaches have had mixed reaction for the Seedorf regime, another blow came from Barbara when she stated that Seedorf was actually Silvio Berlusconi’s choice and no one else’s. All these does not lead to a harmonious dressing room and when the season will end, all among the top brass needs to sit down and decide on a plan so that the rapid decline in the past 2 years can be stopped.
Seedorf will field a 4-2-3-1 formation with Abbiati under the bars. In the absence of De Sciglio and Abate, the back-line will be formed by Zaccardo on the right, Emanuelson on the left with Rami and Bonera playing through the center. Montolivo’s injury leaves the door open for Muntari and De Jong to play as the holding midfielders in front of the defense line. Essien might get a look in later on in the match in place of Muntari.
The midfield will be formed by Honda on the right, Taarabt on the left with Kaka playing through the middle. Taarabt’s future is totally dependent on Seedorf. Should he continue past this season, then Milan will have an option to buy him permanently, but given the fact that another loan player, Rami is already knocking on Milan’s door for a contract, Taarabt might have to rely solely on Seedorf. Balotelli will start this match as the lone forward.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-2-3-1): Abbiati(GK); Zaccardo, Rami, Bonera, Emanuelson; De Jong, Muntari; Honda, Kaka, Taarabt; Balotelli
Chievo will be missing the likes of Guana due to injury and Rigoni due to suspension. Chievo gained three crucial points against Bologna, thereby putting three points between them and the relegation zone. However, Corini cannot rest just yet knowing that the other Verona – Hellas will surely be in Serie A next term. Chievo have lost their last 4 away matches in Serie A, and that is surely something Seedorf will be hoping to extend this weekend. Corini seems to have imbibed a sense of ‘competitive nastiness’ into his team and will be hoping that somehow his side stay in the topmost tier of Italian football next season.
The key player for Chievo in this season has been the ex-Milan forward – Paloschi. He has been on fire this season, and after his brace in the previous match, has not moved into double figures for the season. His most effective performances have come when Chievo have deployed a 4-1-2-1-2 formation, and Corini will surely deploy a variant of this. Chievo are horrible in avoiding offsides, and are extremely weak in keeping possession of the ball. They also lack the ability to finish off scoring chances and commit too many individual errors. However, most of the time, they play down the left, attacking with width, while attempting crosses and long balls often.
Cheivo will deploy a 4-3-1-2 formation with Agazzi in goal. The back-line will be formed by Sardo on the right, Rubin on the left with Dainelli and Cesar playing through the center. The midfield will be formed by Bentivoglio on the right, Radovanovic on the left with Guarente playing as the central midfielder. Hetemaj will be deployed in the hole behind the strikers. The forward line will be formed by Obinna and Paloschi.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-1-2): Agazzi(GK); Sardo, Dainelli, Cesar, Rubin; Bentivoglio, Guarente, Radovanovic; Hetemaj; Obinna, Paloschi
Player to Watch Out For
Balotelli (AC Milan)
He has had a roller-coaster ride in the last couple of weeks, but Balotelli has finally silenced his critics by doing what he does best – scoring goals on the field and being the best at what he does. After the UEFA Champions League against the Atletico, Balotelli was largely regarded as a failure with people calling for his head. However, as he has shown in the previous match against Fiorentina, he is not the wasted player that many have perceived him to be. Yes, he still has a long way to go before he can call himself a match-winner, but he is already on the way. The biggest support for Balotelli came from none other than Seedorf himself, as the coach decided to stick with the troubled superstar even when all around him was calling for his head. Seedorf’s endorsement paid off and Balotelli displayed that hunger against Fiorentina – helping in setting up the first goal before scoring the second one. If Balotelli continues to play like this on the field, Milan might end this season with some European hope.
Milan 1 – 1 Chievo
With the season coming to a close pretty soon, Milan still have a mathematical chance of being in Europe next season, possibly playing in the Europa League. But for that to happen, they need to win matches from now till the end of the season. Chievo are lying in the bottom half of the Serie A table, and they will surely be hoping for some point from this match so that they can escape relegation.
Blast From The Past