Torino will be desperate to get back to winning ways when they host fellow strugglers AC Milan at the Olimpico di Torino on Friday.
It has been an underwhelming start to the campaign for AC Milan under new manager Marco Giampaolo. The Serie A giants are dawdling at the wrong end of the table, with just six points on the board. They recently lost to arch-rivals Inter Milan in the Milan derby, putting an end to their two-game winning streak in the league.
They will be looking to rekindle their winning momentum against Torino. But, Giampaolo’s men haven’t had an excellent scoring record so far, netting just two goals in four matches – joint lowest in the league alongside Sampdoria and Udinese. At the same time, however, their tally of just three goals conceded is only bettered by high flying Inter.
As for Torino, they, too, will be desperate to clinch three points after losing their previous two games against Sampdoria and Lecce respectively. The club from Turin are currently tenth in the league table, scoring six goals, conceding six goals and picking up six points.
It is, however, too early to take anything into serious consideration as a win against Milan could help Torino overtake fifth-placed AS Roma. And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of their enticing match-up in the Serie A this week.
Tactics & Team News
Walter Mazzarri is not expected to make too many changes to the Torino side that lost narrowly to Sampdoria last weekend. However, defender Bremer could be replaced with Kevin Bonifazi. The 23-year-old will partner Lyanco and the ever-present figure of Armando Izzo, thus forming the three-man backline.
We could expect another change in the full-back slot where new signing Ola Aina is likely to be replaced by Diego Laxalt. Aina featured on the left side in the last game, but Laxalt start there against his parent club, with Lorenzo De Silvestri starting on the opposite flank.
The midfield will remain the same with Soualiho Meite, Daniele Baselli and Tomas Rincon forming the three-man setup. However, Meite is likely to occupy a more defensive role and offer protection for the backline. The experienced Rincon, meanwhile, will play a key role against Milan this week.
The Torino attack will be spearheaded by the duo of Simone Zaza and Andrea Belotti. The latter is the club’s top scorer this season with two goals but will be keen to extend his scoring tally. Mazzarri could later exercise his wide-attacking options, including Alex Berenguer and Iago Falque later in the game, at the expense of a defender most probably.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Sirigu; Bonifazi, Lyanco, Izzo; De Silvestri, Rincon, Meite, Baselli, Laxalt; Belotti, Zaza
Ante Rebic is available for selection and might be in contention to receive his starting debut for Milan. But, the Croatian hasn’t done anything in his past two appearances and might have to settle for a place on the bench.
That means Rafael Leao could once again get the nod in attack. The Portuguese wonderkid will partner Krzystof Piatek in Milan’s 4-3-1-2. Piatek will be desperate to extend his scoring tally this season, having netted just one goal in four matches.
The creative and midfield department could remain unchanged for the visitors. Suso could operate as the lone attacking midfielder, just behind the main two strikers. Hakan Calhanoglu will look to provide the additional creative essence in the final third as he is almost a guaranteed starter in midfield.
The Turkish international will be partnered by Lucas Biglia and Franck Kessie. Lucas Paqueta, meanwhile, is out injured which is proving out to be a huge blow for Rossoneri.
Giampaolo might be open to shuffling the fullback department, with the duo of Davide Calabria and Theo Hernandez tipped to replace Andrea Conti and Ricardo Rodriguez. The central defensive pairing should remain the same as club captain Alessio Romagnoli looks to lead his side to their third victory of this new campaign.
Probable Lineup (4-3-1-2): Donnarumma; Calabria, Romagnoli, Musacchio, Hernandez; Kessie, Biglia, Calhanoglu; Suso; Leao, Piatek
- The last time Torino went six consecutive matches unbeaten against AC Milan in Serie A came back in 1978. They are currently on a run of five games without defeat.
- The last time Torino won back to back home matches against AC Milan in Serie A came back in 1986 – they won the most recent game against the Rossoneri at Olimpico Grande Torino Stadium.
- AC Milan’s last win in Piemonte in Serie A came back in 2012-13. Since then, there have been five draws and eight defeats for the Rossoneri in their last 13 matches on the road against Torino and Juventus in the top flight.
- Torino lost their last home match in Serie A – the last time they suffered back to back defeats at the Olimpico Grande Torino Stadium was back in 2018.
- AC Milan have won three of their last four away Serie A matches (L1) – as many wins as in their previous 11 games on the road (D5 L3).
Player to Watch
Torino are kind of favourites to win this clash despite having lost their last two matches. And the onus will be on star striker Belotti to rekindle their scoring form.
It will be interesting to see how the 25-year-old combines with Zaza as they look to trouble the Milan defence that has conceded only three goals this season. But more importantly, the fact that Torino do not have any other reliable goal-scorer other than Belotti makes him a vital part of this fixture.
The forward will look to pressurize the Milan defenders, though both of them are excellent passers of the ball. And on the counter, his mobility and positioning is something the opposition will certainly need to be aware of.
Torino 1-1 Milan
Torino have historically performed well against Milan, especially at home. But, even though the visitors haven’t found their scoring boots just yet, they are not expected to go down that easily this time. It will likely turn out to be a cat and mouse chase, and at the end, we expect both sides to share the spoils.