AC Milan will be hoping for all three points to maintain their fourth and last Champions League spot when they face Torino in Serie A on Sunday.
Torino have been on a relative tear recently in Serie A. A streak of five games without defeat has seen them get right back into the race for European spots. They are just two points behind AS Roma for the last European spot. But, most importantly, Torino are just three points away from fourth-placed AC Milan, the team holding the last Champions League spot and their opponents on Sunday.
Gennaro Gattuso has seen AC Milan slip away a little bit. One win in their last six Serie A games and the Rossoneri are now in danger of losing out on Champions League football or worse, European football for the upcoming campaign altogether after being firmly placed to bag a top four place in Serie A.
With five games left in the 2018-19 campaign, AC Milan have a relatively easy fixture list after the Torino game, who are yet to face Juventus and Lazio a second time. Their last league meeting at the Olympic Grande Torino Stadium yielded a 1-1 draw, something that is unlikely to help either club’s cause.
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Daniele Baselli and Simone Zaza are both serving their respective suspensions for Sunday’s match against AC Milan. Koffi Djidji and Iago Falque are also sidelined for Torino, which means Walter Mazzarri doesn’t have much of a choice as far as the attack is concerned.
Mazzarri should switch to a 3-5-2, with not much options upfront. Salvatore Sirigu and the back-three of Armando Izzo, Nicolas N’Koulou and Emiliano Moretti should retain their spots. With not much options upfront, Alex Berenguer should partner Andrea Belotti in attack.
Sasa Lukic should come into the midfield, with Ola Aina, Abdoulaye Meite, Tomas Rincon and Cristian Ansaldi completing the five-man roster in midfield. Aina and Ansaldi should provide the width going forward.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Sirigu; Izzo, N’Koulou, Moretti; Aina, Lukic, Meite, Rincon, Ansaldi; Belotti, Berenguer
Gennaro Gattuso is likely to learn from his mistakes and revert to the 4-3-3 system that has been successful so far for AC Milan. Giacomo Bonaventura is still out while the likes of Davide Calabria and Lucas Paqueta are both doubtful. Paqueta though, is likely to return to action and should be in the starting eleven for AC Milan against Torino.
Mateo Musacchio should come into the back four, replacing Cristian Zapata. The rest of the back four – Alessio Romagnoli, Andrea Conti and Ricardo Rodriguez – should remain the same. Gianluigi Donnarumma will have to improve his performance from the 1-1 draw against Parma Calcio.
Fabio Borini should give way for Lucas Paqueta, who will slot in the midfield three, which will push Hakan Calhanoglu into the front three on the left side. Tiemoue Bakayoko and Franck Kessie should complete the midfield, with Suso on the right side of the attack. Krzysztof Piatek will lead the line forAC Milan.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Conti, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Kessie, Bakayoko, Paqueta; Suso, Piatek, Calhanoglu
1. The last four meetings between AC Milan and Torino in Serie A have ended up in draws.
2. Two of the last four meetings between AC Milan and Torino in Serie A have ended up with a 0-0 scoreline.
3. Torino have recorded just one defeat in their last 10 Serie A games and are undefeated in their last five.
4. AC Milan are on their worst run of the 2018-19 campaign yet, with the Rossoneri winning just one game in their last seven Serie A games.
5. Krzysztof Piatek has 8 goals in 12 league starts for AC Milan so far and has scored a total of 29 goals this season in all competitions for Genoa and AC Milan combined.
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Piatek’s form has dried down a bit, with just two goals in his last five league appearances for AC Milan. But, the striker has still crossed 20 goals for the season in Serie A. The Polish hitman has proven to be an upgrade to Gonzalo Higuain and will be key to AC Milan’s hopes of clinging on to the last Champions League spot.
Gattuso will want Piatek to return to his form before the last five league games and the Polish would want the same for himself.
Torino 2-2 AC Milan
Recent history suggests AC Milan and Torino are set to play out a scoring draw. But, both the teams will go into the match eyeing a win to strengthen their credentials and hopes to gain European football in the upcoming campaign. The 3-5-2 makeshift system and the absence of a natural strike partner for Andrea Belotti should trouble Torino’s chances of earning three points.
AC Milan have their own problems with form. It is expected to be an outing where Torino and AC Milan should score but are unlikely to do enough to get all three points.