AC Milan will be aiming to reduce the gap to the top six of the Serie A table when they lock horns with Torino at San Siro on Monday night.
AC Milan will be looking to get back to winning ways when they play hosts to Moreno Longo’s Torino outfit at San Siro in matchweek 24 of the 2019-20 Serie A on Monday.
Milan are currently on a three-game winless streak across all competitions. They were handed a 4-2 defeat by local rivals Inter Milan last time out in the league, following which they put up a decent performance to hold Juventus to a 1-1 draw in Coppa Italia earlier this week. Manager Stefano Pioli will be hoping that his team are able to notch up a win on Monday and move closer to the top six.
Torino are in a wretched run of form, having lost all of their last five fixtures in all competitions. During this run, they have conceded a whopping 20 goals, while netting just four. Following their 3-1 defeat to Sampdoria last time out, Moreno Longo’s side are 14th in the Serie A table, five points above the relegation zone and will be hoping to arrest the downslide as soon as possible.
The reverse fixture in Serie A saw Torino beat AC Milan 2-1, but the Rossoneri extracted revenge by thrashing Il Toro 4-2 in the quarter-final of Coppa Italia last month. Ahead of the third meeting between the two sides this season, we at The Hard Tackle take a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
The switch to 4-2-3-1 in the game against Juventus seemed to work quite well for Milan and Pioli is expected to stick with the same formation moving forward this season.
In goal, there is no looking past Gianluigi Donnarumma, despite him continuing to be linked with an exit. Davide Calabria and Theo Hernandez ought to occupy the full-back slots ahead of Andrea Conti and Ricardo Rodriguez, while Simon Kjaer is set to partner captain Alessio Romagnoli at the heart of the Milan defence.
Ismael Bennacer will start in one of the two pivot positions in the middle of the park and essay the role of the enforcer, while his partner Franck Kessie will provide the legs. Hakan Calhanoglu will slot in as the No. 10 for the Rossoneri and look to create openings for his attacking partners.
Threat from the wide areas ought to come from Samu Castillejo and Ante Rebic, both of whom have been in decent form of late, while veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be the man leading the Milan attack against Torino. Rafael Leao is an option at the manager’s disposal, should he opt to play with two strikers.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Donnarumma; Calabria, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Kessie, Bennacer; Castillejo, Calhanoglu, Rebic; Ibrahimovic
Torino will be without defensive mainstay Armando Izzo, who is suspended for the game after being sent off in the last game. Simone Zaza and Daniele Baselli are back in training, but are still not fully match fit to be able to start. Simone Verdi has been included in the travelling party despite being down with fever and will be assessed close to the game.
Longo set his team up with a three-man backline in his first game in charge last time out and is expected to stick with similar tactics at San Siro. Salvatore Sirigu, who has been linked with a move to Milan in the summer, is the undisputed choice in goal for Torino.
Nicolas N’Koulou and Lyanco are certain to feature in the three-man backline on Monday, while Koffi Djidji is likely to come into the starting XI in place of the suspended Izzo. Lorenzo De Silvestri and Ola Aina ought to be the two full-backs on the right and left sides respectively for the visitors.
Seasoned campaigner Tomas Rincon will be tasked with disrupting Milan’s rhythm in the middle of the park, while his partner Sasa Lukic will be in charge of providing the forward drive.
Verdi, should he recover from fever, should get the nod on the right flank for Torino while Alex Berenguer should be retained on the left wing. Captain and star striker Andrea Belotti has gone five league games without a goal and will be hoping to get back into groove on Monday night.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Sirigu; N’Koulou, Djidji, Lyanco; De Silvestri, Rincon, Lukic, Aina; Verdi, Belotti, Berenguer
- AC Milan are unbeaten in their last 23 home Serie A games against Torino (W15 D8) only against Verona (28) do they currently own a longer such streak.
- Torino have won their last two Serie A meetings against AC Milan, as many as they had in their previous 45 encounters with the Rossoneri in the Italian top-flight (D24 L19).
- AC Milan have conceded the fewest shots during the first half of action in Serie A this season (105). Indeed, the Rossoneri have conceded the lowest percentage of their goals during first halves this term (29% – 9/31).
- Torino have picked up 27 points in 23 Serie A games this term; their worst return at this stage of the season since 2008/09 (19 points), when they were ultimately relegated.
- AC Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic is unbeaten in his four Serie A games against Torino (W3 D1), scoring three goals across these appearances.
Player to Watch
After a very slow start to life in Milan, Rebic seems to have burst into life in recent weeks. The Croatian, on loan from Eintracht Frankfurt, having failed to score till the turn of the year, has now netted four times in five Serie A matches in 2020, while he was also on the scoresheet for the Rossoneri in the Coppa Italia semi-final against Juventus.
Rebic has scored at least twice as many goals as any other AC Milan player in Serie A in 2020. And this form has seen the 26-year-old become a regular in Stefano Pioli’s side. With his ability to score and link-up play with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the final third, he will once again play a key role for Milan against Torino.
AC Milan 2-1 Torino
AC Milan may have not won any of their last three matches, but there have been a lot of positives for the Rossoneri, especially in their last game against Juventus in the cup. Torino, on the other hand, are in a rut and with a new manager at the helm, it is likely that they will need some time to get things back on track.
Milan’s attack has been revitalized to some extent by the presence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and given Ante Rebic’s recent form, a leaky Torino backline is likely to find it hard to keep the hosts at bay. And that is why, we at The Hard Tackle are predicting the Rossoneri to pick up three points on Monday night.