AC Milan will look to concentrate on their winning form as they host a struggling Chievo Verona side at the San Siro on Sunday.
AC Milan will brace themselves for a crucial Serie A fixture as they lock horns with bottom club Chievo on Sunday afternoon. The hosts have had a disappointing start to their league campaign, lavishing on the wrong side of the table with just nine points in six matches – a far cry from their Champions League aspirations at the start of the season.
However, the Rossoneri are coming on the back of a two-game winning streak, having secured convincing victories over Sassuolo and Olympiacos within the last seven days.
And a win this weekend could potentially lift them ahead of league rivals Roma and Lazio and given their outstanding form coming into this fixture, it’s hard to foresee the hosts dropping points against Chievo.
Speaking of Chievo, the Yellow and Blues are apparently going through a major crisis, having already suffered five defeats in seven matches. They are also one of only two clubs yet to secure a single win in the league thus far and just to add more salt to their wounds, Chievo were deducted three points earlier in the season due to false accounting.
As a result, Lorenzo D’Anna’s men are currently sitting at the bottom of the league table with a shocking points tally of -1. Therefore, the fans will certainly expect their teams to put in a strong effort against Milan this weekend as they look to recover from an uneventful start to the season.
And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over both the sides ahead of their important match-up on Sunday.
Team news & tactics
AC Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso will be facing a few injury issues ahead of their clash against Chievo. Key fullbacks Andrea Conti and Ivan Strinic are sidelined with the former still recovering from a knee injury he obtained back in April while Strinic is out with a heart problem.
Fortunately for them, however, Ricardo Rodriguez will be available this weekend. The Swiss international has started the last games and will retain his place as the left-back ahead of new signing Diego Laxalt while experienced defender Ignazio Abate will be deployed on the opposite flank. In central defence, Gattuso will likely stick to his preferred duo of Mateo Musacchio and Alessio Romagnoli.
Milan are expected to resort to their reliable midfield trio of Lucas Biglia, Giacomo Bonaventura and Franck Kessie. All three of them have been very consistent in the past few matches and could once again play a vital role this weekend. Tiemoue Bakayoko will provide added depth in midfield, as he starts on the bench.
In attack, Patrick Cutrone will likely remain on the bench despite scoring twice in the win over Olympiacos while Gonzalo Higuain will spearhead the Milan attack.
The Argentine international has had a splendid start to the season, scoring two goals in four matches and could wreak havoc in the Chievo defence this weekend. He will be partnered by the effective wide-duo of Suso and Hakan Calhanoglu.
Probable lineups(4-3-3): Donnarumma; Abate, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Biglia, Kessie, Bonaventura; Suso, Higuain, Calhanoglu.
Much like Milan, Chievo haven’t been lucky when it comes to injuries either with the Serie A minnows potentially missing out on the services of at least five players this weekend.
The absence of key defender Nenad Tomovic, in particular, could be a huge blow while both Nicholas Frey and Antonio Cinelli are suspended for the visit to Milan.
In addition, key attacker Emanuele Giaccherini is also doubtful for this game though we can expect the Italian international to recover in time as he starts alongside Valter Birsa and Mariusz Stepinski in attack.
There will be a slight alteration in defence, with Mattia Bani coming into the side at the expense of Fabrizio Cacciatore. As a result, Federico Barba will shift into a wider role, allowing Bani to feature alongside Luca Rossettini at the heart of the Chievo defence.
In midfield, Lorenzo D’Anna will revert to a three-man setup with Ivan Radovanovic starting at the base of Chievo’s 4-3-3. He will be partnered by Nicola Rigoni and Perparim Hetemaj, which will see Birsa shifting into a wider role, as mentioned earlier.
Probable lineup(4-3-3): Sorrentino; Depaoli, Bani, Rossettini, Barba; Rigoni, Radovanovic, Hetemaj; Giaccherini, Stepinski, Birsa.
- Chievo Verona are scoreless in their last three matches in the Seria A. They last scored against Roma in mid-September.
- AC Milan have impressed in the attacking department this season, scoring at least 2 goals in each of their last four home matches.
- Lack of defensive solidity has been Chievo’s main issue this season as they have conceded at least 2 goals in each of their last three away games. Only fellow-strugglers Frosinone have conceded more goals than Chievo this season.
- History suggests that the host will dominate the game this weekend as they have won 20 of their last 23 matches against their opponents in all competitions.
- Chievo are one of only two clubs yet to secure a single win in the league this season and are currently seven points adrift of safety – more than anyone else in Europe’s top five leagues so far.
Player to watch
AC Milan’s new signing Gonzalo Higuain have been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dire start to the season. The former Juventus superstar has already plundered four goals in six matches in all competitions. Furthermore, he also notched up an assist this campaign, making him Milan’s productive attacker this season.
His goal-poaching qualities could prove to be ideal against a Chievo defence, who are likely to park the bus in an attempt to avoid further humiliation, especially against an in-form Milan. And considering his fiery form going into this game, Higuain could cause a myriad of problems for the Yellow and Blues this weekend.
AC Milan 2-0 Chievo Verona
It’s hard to foresee Chievo Verona causing an upset this weekend given their lack of form going into this fixture. The Rossoneri also share a good record versus Chievo, who have failed to score in their last three matches. Therefore, the hosts should emerge as easy victors in this fascinating encounter at the San Siro this weekend.