AC Mila hosts Fiorentina on the final day of the Serie A season as both teams look to finish the season strongly in a game that could be termed ‘Dead Rubber’.
AC Milan play hosts to Fiorentina in a probable dead rubber of a game, where both sides have nothing to gain from this tie. Milan’s mixed bag season has put them in sixth place in the Serie A. Incidentally, their recent patchy form was responsible for them cruising out of place in the Champions League positions on the table.
Milan’s recent 4-0 loss in the Coppa Italia final to Juventus was thought to be catastrophic, considering their current form. In the very next game, Milan almost got over that defeat after Franck Kessie gave his side the lead against his former team, only for Atalanta to come back with a late equaliser.
Milan’s only incentive in the game could be to confirm a sixth-place finish as Atalanta remain only one point above Milan. Although both teams are through to the European places, mathematically still, Fiorentina could qualify for a European position, considering a bad result for either side could put a tie-breaker in place.
Despite a difficult season, Fiorentina have pulled themselves together enough to finish eighth on the table. A win over Milan could close this gap even further as well as giving them hope to start the next campaign well.
Team News & Tactics
Gennaro Gattuso will be evaluating his squad further and may consider a few changes for the last Serie A clash. His side produced a good performance in the previous game against Atalanta, but came short, while Ricardo Montolivo was sent-off, meaning he will be unavailable.
Andrea Conti will also play no part as he has gone under the knife on his troublesome knee. Forward Fabio Borini will not play the game as he serves a suspension for accumulating yellows. Lucas Biglia is available though, but Gattuso is likely to keep him out so he can focus on getting fit for the World Cup.
Gattuso could start with an experimental team, considering there is nothing more to lose from the tie. On the other hand, he could well start with his most robust possible lineup to end the season well and build hope for the next campaign.
Probable Starting-XI (4-3-3) – Donnarummma; Calabria, Bonucci, Romnagoli, Rodriguez; Bonaventura, Locatelli, Kessie; Suso, Calhanoglu, Kalinic
Fiorentina too, have a similar strength squad with much of their players fit to play on the last day of Serie A. Simeone La Faso is their only long-term absentee who is out with a fractured fibula. Jordan Veretout was red carded against Cagliari and will miss the Milan game, meaning Bryan Dabo will take his place.
Despite the evident lack of injury to players, there are still doubts over the participation of Vitor Hugo, which could lead manager Stefano Pioli to tinker with his side’s lineup. Pioli could also bring in Riccardo Saponara as the side’s No.10 or could play with Dabo as a replacement for Veretout.
Overall, with some momentum in the side and the fact that there could be the slightest chance of them getting into European places, Pioli is likely to stick with his strongest possible lineup.
Probable Starting-XI (4-3-3) – Sportiello; Biraghi, Milenkovic, Pezzella, Laurini; Benassi, Dabo, Badelj; Saponara; Chiesa, Simeone
- Milan are unbeaten in their last four games against Fiorentina, including the previous two home games.
- Milan will finish outside of the top-four for five years in a row.
- Giovanni Simeone will become the first Fiorentina player since Toni and Fiore in 2005/06 to play in every single game of a Serie A campaign if he does start.
- Fiorentina have conceded the most goals from indirect free-kick situations.
- AC Milan have not lost a game in which they took the lead this season along with Torino.
Player to Watch
Hakan Calhanoglu has been getting back to his usually lethal form. In the last three games, the Turkish international has scored two and assisted one goal. He has, however, come on as a substitute in many games but has scored only one goal, incidentally against Fiorentina this season.
Calhanoglu’s form is vital for Milan and has been one of their star performers this season. He would want to finish the season on a high note and ensure that Milan finish above Atalanta. Fiorentina will have to watch out for the set-piece specialist.
AC Milan 2-1 Fiorentina
Both sides have struggled this season, although Milan’s season has been relatively better considering they were also playing in Europe. Gattuso has tremendously improved this Milan side and has helped them get back into the Europa League again for next season and would want to continue the momentum, even on the final day of the campaign.
Gattuso would want his Milan side to show the ruthlessness they portrayed during his playing days to ensure that he would rally up his troops to finish the season on a high and that will only be with a win over Fiorentina. At home, Milan have been better and will likely dispatch Fiorentina, considering they are superior regarding current quality of players, especially the attackers.