Juventus will look to maintain their slender lead atop the Serie A table as they face an AC Milan side that are on a hot five-game winning streak in the league.
Juventus have regained their lead at the top of the Serie A, thanks to a slip up from Napoli. But, their draw against relegation-threatened SPAL has seen their lead cut to just 2 points at the top. The Bianconeri are now in danger of being toppled, if they do not muster up a winning performance against AC Milan on Saturday.
AC Milan have recovered their season, and how. Gennaro Gattuso’s appointment at the helm seems to have galvanized the entire squad, who are now firing on all cylinders. With the Rossoneri now out of the Europa League, thanks to Arsenal, their focus will now be on qualifying for the UEFA Champions League for the next season.
AC Milan are currently 5 points behind fourth-placed Inter Milan, despite a hot five-game winning streak in the Serie A. Gattuso will now hope to rally his troops for the final stretch of games in order to grab a spot in the top four and qualify for the Champions League.
Juventus ran away with the game in their last encounter, with AC Milan losing by a 2-0 margin. Ahead of their latest meeting, we take a closer look at the two sides.
Team News & Tactics
Massimiliano Allegri seems to be in a pickle, of sorts. The Juventus manager has two important fixtures coming up. While Juventus have to line up in a strong manner on Saturday to ensure a win, the manager must rest some players for their upcoming UEFA Champions League encounter against Real Madrid.
Juan Cuadrado and Federico Bernardeschi are confirmed absentees for the game while Giorgio Chiellini is a doubt for the fixture against AC Milan after he missed the international break with injury.
With Chiellini doubtful, Medhi Benatia should come into the lineup after serving his one-game suspension while the rest of the defence is likely to be retained from the drab draw against SPAL.
Allegri is expected to make just one more change to the lineup that started against SPAL, with Mario Mandzukic returning to the lineup and is likely to take his place on the left, instead of Alex Sandro.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Buffon; De Sciglio, Benatia, Rugani, Asamoah; Pjanic, Matuidi; Costa, Dybala, Mandzukic; Higuain
Ignazio Abate is out for Saturday while Andrea Conti is likely to miss the remainder of the season, after the youngster picked up another injury. Davide Calabria should be selected over Fabio Borini on the right side of the defence, while Alessio Romagnoli is likely to replace Cristian Zapata in central defence.
The midfield three is expected to remain the same from their 3-2 win over Chievo, with Giacomo Bonaventura, Lucas Biglia and Franck Kessie being deployed by Gennaro Gattuso.
The forward line is also expected to be retained from their 3-2 win over Chievo, with Patrick Cutrone’s form likely to keep Andre Silva on the bench, especially after the Portuguese’s disappointing outing for the national team during the international break.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Calabria, Bonucci, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Bonaventura, Biglia, Kessie; Suso, Cutrone, Calhanoglu
1. Red Romance – AC Milan’s last two visit to Juventus have yielded a red card for the visiting side in each game.
2. Juventus are undefeated in their last 5 games in all competitions at home against AC Milan.
3. Fortress – Juventus have conceded just 4 goals at home in 14 Serie A games, with 11 clean sheets to boot.
4. Free Spirits – Juventus have scored at least two goals or more in 9 of their 14 home league games.
5. Gianluigi Buffon has kept 18 clean sheets in 43 appearances against AC Milan.
Player to Watch
It will be match between the old guard and the new guard as Donnarumma and Buffon face off on Saturday. Both the teams are in form and are likely to muster up several attacks on the opposition’s goal, meaning that the two goalkeepers will have to be active and up to their mark.
Donnarumma has already shown just why he has been hailed as the true successor to Buffon and on Saturday, he can showcase his skills another time.
Juventus 0-0 AC Milan
Juventus have an exemplary defensive record at home in Serie A. AC Milan, on the other hand, are in some form and will look to exploit the home side’s susceptibility at some junctures, when the team switches off, of sorts.
Both the teams though, cannot take a defeat, for that would mean a crushing blow to their respective league goals. We expect this to be an entertaining match, but one that is likely to end in a draw, most likely a goalless one.