AC Milan will aim to secure their first league win since early November as they host Parma at San Siro on Sunday.

AC Milan’s performance in the UEFA Europa League has been quite respectable this season, coming on the back of an impressive 5-2 win over Dudelange in midweek. But, the Rossoneri will be looking to get their domestic campaign back on track when they host Parma on Sunday.

The Italian giants have failed to win a single league game since the first week of November when they beat Udinese in a tightly-fought contest. Since then, they have lost to Juventus and have drawn against Lazio last weekend, meaning a win could be imperative as Gennaro Gatusso’s men look to push for the Champions League places.

As for Parma, they are breathing on the neck of Milan, trailing their weekend opponents by just two points. Thus, a win on Sunday could help them move ahead of Rossoneri by the end of the weekend.

Parma have been in great touch, too, securing back to back wins in their last two league outings while remaining unbeaten in their last three matches, during which they have conceded only two goals.

And here at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two sides ahead of their crucial encounter this weekend.

Team news & tactics

AC Milan

Gattuso is expected to ring in a few changes from the side that secured a 5-2 win over Dudelange. With the likes of Mateo Musacchio and Alessio Romagnoli out injured, the Italian will be forced to revert to a three-man backline once again.

AC Milan's Italian coach Gennaro Gattuso reacts during the Italian Serie A football match AC Milan vs Juventus on November 11, 2018 at the San Siro stadium in Milan. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP) (Photo credit should read MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

Gatusso has struggled to deal with Milan’s injury crisis this season. (Photo by Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images)

Thus, Ignazio Abate will again feature alongside Cristian Zapata and Ricardo Rodriguez in central defence while Stefan Simic, who started in midfield will start on the bench. Davide Calabria and Diego Laxalt will operate as wingbacks. Laxalt, in particular, will be expected to provide the width into the attack using his clever runs into the opposing defence.

In midfield, Tiemoue Bakayoko will once again deputize for the injured Lucas Biglia at the base of Milan’s 3-5-1-1, alongside Franck Kessie and Hakan Calhanglu.

 While Kessie and Bakayoko will be tasked with recovering possession in midfield, Calhanoglu is expected to advance further up the pitch and provide the necessary support to the lone attacking midfielder Suso. The duo will look to provide adequate service to the lone frontman Patrick Cutrone.

Talismanic forward Gonzalo Higuain is suspended but will return to action next weekend.

Probable lineup (3-5-1-1): Donnarumma; Abate, Zapata, Rodriguez; Calabria, Kessie, Bakayoko, Calhanoglu, Laxalt; Suso; Cutrone.

Parma

Unlike Milan, Parma won’t have to deal with any major injury concerns with Federico Dimarco being their only absentee, although Emanuele Calaio is ruled out this weekend due to suspension.

But, coach Roberto D’Aversa has limited resources at the club and is, therefore, unlikely to make any significant changes to the side that won 2-1 against Sassuolo last weekend.

TURIN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 10: Parma Calcio head coach Roberto D Aversa looks on during the Serie A match between Torino FC and Parma Calcio at Stadio Olimpico di Torino on November 10, 2018 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)

Roberto D’Aversa is unlikely to make any changes to his side against Milan. (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)

Bruno Alves and Alessandro Bastoni will continue to pair up in central defence while Simone Iacoponi and Riccardo Gagliolo occupy the fullback slots. Gagliolo will be an important cog in defence, having made the most number of interceptions and clearances than any other player in the team.

In midfield, Matteo Scozzarella will start at the base of Parma’s 4-3-3 along with Antonio Barilla and former Napoli midfielder Alberto Grassi. They will look to exploit the weak Milan midfield that is decimated by injuries.

And finally, in attack, Gervinho and Luca Siligardi will team up with the main striker Roberto Inglese, who has scored three goals in 10 games this season.

Probable lineup (4-3-3): Sepe; Iacoponi, Alves, Bastoni, Gagliolo; Barilla, Scozzarella, Grassi; Gervinho, Inglese, Siligardi.

Key stats

  • Only Juventus and Napoli have picked up more points than Gennaro Gattuso since he joined Milan a little more than a year ago.
  • Parma have collected 20 points in 13 games so far – they have achieved this same feat only once in the last 10 seasons.
  • Parma are the lowest scoring side(14) in the top half of the league table. 16th placed Empoli have scored more goals than the Crociati this season.
  • There have been over 2.5 goals scored in Parma’s last 4 away games.
  • There have been under 2.5 goals scored in AC Milan‘s last games.

Player to watch

Suso

SEVILLE, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 08: Suso of AC Milan reacts during the UEFA Europa League Group F match between Real Betis and AC Milan at Estadio Benito Villamarin on November 8, 2018 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

Suso can provide the attacking spark going forward. (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

Suso has been directly involved in 10 goals in his last seven league appearances at the San Siro, scoring two and providing eight assists. And he will once again play a key role this weekend as Milan host a Parma side that has impressed this season.

The Spaniard is blessed with excellent technical qualities and his ability to carve out the opposition defence with some pinpoint passing and accurate through balls will be crucial against the well-drilled Parma defence. His partnership with Hakan Calhanoglu in the final third will likely shape Milan’s fate – making him one of the players to look out for in this crucial league encounter.

Prediction

AC Milan 1-1 Parma

It could turn out to be yet another disappointing weekend for Milan, who will certainly rue the absence of star striker Gonzalo Higuain. In addition, Parma have boasted an excellent defensive record, of late and are unlikely to concede more than one goal against a decimated Milan attack. Thus, we expect a stale 1-1 draw in this one.

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