AC Milan travel to 19th placed Genoa on Wednesday, confident of continuing their unbeaten run as they look to extend their lead at the top of Serie A.
AC Milan’s five-point lead got cut to three when they hosted Parma on the weekend. An inspired Theo Hernandez brace kept Milan’s unbeaten run alive and showed the determination this Milan team has as they chase a Scudetto after 10 long years.
The Rossoneri have done well in recent weeks to cope with the numerous injury concerns, especially the one to talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Milan have continued to win matches and lead the points table as we enter a period of fixture pile-up.
Gazzetta Sports Award: Coach of the year 2020: Stefano Pioli 👏
— Milan Reports (@MilanReports) December 14, 2020
Genoa, who were the last team to beat AC Milan in the Serie A back in March 2020, are currently placed 19th in the league table and lost to Juventus 3-1 in their last league game. They are also the team with second-worst goal difference in the league. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Genoa have a series of injuries coming into the game against AC Milan. Rolando Maran is under immense pressure for his team’s performances this season and last week’s loss to Juventus did not help his cause. Genoa now take on the league leaders and it is unlikely that they will be able to salvage a result from this game.
Davide Zappacosta, Christian Zapata, Francesco Cassata and captain Domenico Criscito are all sidelined with injuries while midfield maestro, Milan Badelj, is also a doubt after missing the Juventus game as well.
Marko Pjaca failed to impress versus his parent club Juventus and could see his spot taken by Eldor Shomurodov, who should start in support of Gianluca Scammaca at the top. Maran is expected to play a conservative and compact 4-4-2, as Genoa hope to earn a point from this difficult fixture.
Mattia Bani, Edoardo Goldaniga and Andrea Masiello are expected to continue in defence, while Stefano Sturaro and Lukas Lerager will play in midfield alongside Ivan Radovanovic.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Perin; Goldaniga, Masiello, Bani, Pellegrini; Ghiglione, Lerager, Radovanovic, Sturaro; Scamacca, Shomurodov
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s return to first-team training will be a massive boost for the team and fans alike. However, the Swede is unlikely to travel to Genoa, which means Ante Rebic is expected to lead the line once again for AC Milan.
Guess who’Z back 😉
— AC Milan (@acmilan) December 14, 2020
Youngster Jens Petter Hauge who has been in fine touch this season could get a chance to start from the left, while Alexis Saelemaekers, who missed the game versus Parma, is expected to start on the right. Meanwhile, Raphael Leao is expected to return from injury and get some minutes against the struggling Genoa too.
While the stars of AC Milan in the offensive phase return from injury, Stefano Pioli faces a shortage at the back, with Simon Kjaer and Matteo Gabbia sidelined. This means that Alessio Romagnoli and Pierre Kalulu will start versus Genoa. Theo Hernandez is likely to keep his spot after a stellar performance versus Parma.
Midfielder Ismael Bennacer will undergo a late fitness test to assess his situation after picking up an injury on the weekend against Parma. The ever-improving Sandro Tonali is expected to start the game alongside the reliant Franck Kessie. Hakan Calhanoglu will reprise the no. 10 role.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Donnarumma; Calabria, Kalulu, Romagnoli, Kalulu, Hernandez; Tonali, Kessie; Saelemaekers, Calhanoglu, Petter Hauge; Rebic
- Genoa won their last Serie A match against AC Milan in March this year and they could make it two wins in two versus the Rossoneri for the first time since 2015 under Gian Piero Gasperini.
- Genoa and Milan have not played a draw since 2011. The two teams have played 9 games since, with Milan winning 6 and Genoa 3.
- AC Milan are the only team in Serie A history to have scored 2+ goals consecutively in their first 11 matches of the season.
- Milan midfielder Sandro Tonali only has one Serie A goal to his name that came away to Genoa in October 2019, when the youngster played for Brescia.
- AC Milan remain the only side in Europe’s top 5 leagues to be unbeaten since the resumption of football after lockdown in May (P23 W17 D6). Meanwhile, Genoa have lost their last five Serie A matches, their longest run at home in the competition.
Player to Watch
Jens Petter Hauge
The Norwegian, who already has 4 goals to his name this season, has been at the centre of things after his brilliant goal in the Europa League and has earned a lot of praise for proving to be a bargain for Milan this season.
🗣 Erling Haaland: “Keep an eye on Hauge: he’s a talent and he’s playing for a beautiful club.”
— SempreMilan (@1SempreMilan) December 14, 2020
With Hauge expected to start a number of Serie A games in a tight span of fixtures, he is certainly on course to impress and keep up his good form. Milan will hope that the creative winger can create and score chances with his trickery.
Genoa 0-3 AC Milan
AC Milan should be high on confidence after a stellar comeback versus Parma on the weekend. They would hope to build on that last stretch and bring that same attacking intent to this game. With Genoa’s long list of injuries and their poor defensive form, high-flying Milan could very well run riot. Milan should be looking for a comprehensive victory on Wednesday and we predict a 3-0 win for the Serie A leaders.