AC Milan will be looking to maintain their lead atop the 2020/21 Serie A table as they welcome Parma Calcio to the San Siro on Sunday.
What a start AC Milan have had to the 2020/21 Serie A campaign under Stefano Pioli. The Rossoneri are unbeaten in the league and are currently sitting comfortably atop the league table, 10 gameweeks in. Milan have lost in Europe but still managed to top their group in the UEFA Europa League over Ligue 1 outfit Lille.
Parma had a disastrous start to the 2020/21 Serie A campaign but have managed to lift themselves up after losing 3 of their first four league games this season. Parma have since lost just one of their six fixtures, amassing 7 points. These points have led to Parma escaping the relegation zone, with a buffer of 4 points between them and the drop.
The away side has 4 fixtures left in December, including the one on Sunday and will be eager to go into the new year with as many points accumulated as possible. For AC Milan, the goal will be to go into 2021 still the leaders of Serie A.
Parma’s last visit to San Siro ended up in a 3-1 win for AC Milan and Pioli will hope the Rossoneri can repeat their heroics on Sunday. Let us now take a look at how the squads are shaping up.
Team News & Tactics
Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be a big miss for Pioli’s side, with Ismael Bennacer the only other absentee for the Parma match. The manager will have to keep the midweek fixture against Genoa in mind while picking his players. AC Milan fielded two different sets of back fours in Serie A and the Europa League and the trend is likely to continue.
The back four from their 2-1 win over Sampdoria is likely to come in, with the likes of Davide Calabria, Matteo Gabbia, Alessio Romagnoli and Theo Hernandez to form the defensive line. Gianluigi Donnarumma will continue to be in goal for AC Milan.
Sandro Tonali and Franck Kessie should form the base of the midfield in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with the former the only player likely to play his third game in a row. Alexis Saelemakers and Hakan Calhanoglu will be in charge of providing the width in front, with the impressive Brahim Diaz playing in the hole.
In the absence of Ibrahimovic, we should see Ante Rebic get a run-out against Parma.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Donnarumma; Calabria, Gabbia, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Tonali, Kessie; Saelemakers, Diaz, Calhanoglu; Rebic
Vincent Laurini and Juraj Kucka are sidelined for the trip to San Siro, while Giuseppe Pezzella is back in the squad. Luigi Sepe will keep the gloves for Parma against AC Milan, with a back four of Maxime Busi, Yordan Osorio, Bruno Alves and Simone Iacoponi to protect the goal.
Hernani, Jasmin Kurtic and Matteo Scozzarella will look to stifle the AC Milan players for room in midfield and be the first line of defence for Parma. Yann Karamoh and Gervinho have been influential in attack and will reprise their roles out wide. Andreas Cornelius will lead the line for Parma and will hope to receive some good service from Karamoh, Gervinho and others.
Fabio Liverani will set up his side to defend from the top while also looking to avoid letting the AC Milan full-backs come up in attack to overlap and allow the likes of Saelelmakers and Calhanoglu to join Diaz in the middle of the park or even make runs past the backline.
Probable Lineup (4-3-2-1): Sepe; Busi, Osorio, Alves, Iacoponi; Hernani, Scozzarella, Kurtic; Karamoh, Gervinho; Cornelius
1. Parma have failed to keep a clean sheet away from home in the 2020/21 Serie A, conceding 13 goals in 5 matches thus far.
2. AC Milan have kept clean sheets in 3 of their 5 home league games.
3. AC Milan have conceded 5 goals in their last 3 home league games.
4. Gervinho is Parma’s top scorer so far, with 4 goals in 9 Serie A appearances this season.
5. Franck Kessie is having a blinder of a campaign, with 4 goals and 2 assists deep from midfield in 10 Serie A appearances.
Player to Watch
The 33-year-old has been instrumental for Parma this season. While Gervinho has scored in just two league games this season, his brace in each of those rescued points for the relegation-threatened outfit. In fact, Gervinho has won Parma 4 points so far this campaign through his goals alone.
His directness will be crucial to putting pressure on the AC Milan defence and create some space for Cornelius to thrive in. Every time he gets the ball, Fabio Liverani will hope for the 33-year-old to run at AC Milan and put them on the backfoot.
AC Milan 3-0 Parma Calcio
Stefano Pioli’s side will feel the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has been playing lights out this season. However, it is tough to see Parma being able to unlock the AC Milan defence, which has been the key to their unbeaten league run so far.
Franck Kessie is the only central midfielder to have scored at least four goals in each of the last five seasons (since 2016-17) in the ‘top five’ European leagues.
— MilanData📊 (@acmilandata) December 7, 2020
Despite Zlatan not being available, AC Milan have Franck Kessie, Brahim Diaz and more to provide the goals from midfield. Parma have been putting in spirited performances but the Rossoneri are likely to have too much quality about them on Sunday. AC Milan seem to be in form this season and San Siro should play host to another home win on Sunday.
We are going with a 3-0 win for the home side.