AC Milan will be looking for their second straight win, when they welcome Udinese to San Siro on Wednesday night.

AC Milan had hit a bit of rough patch in recent weeks in the league, firstly by losing 2-0 to Spezia and then being humbled 3-0 by their title rivals Inter Milan, increasing the gap between the two to four points.

However Stefano Pioli’s men put in a strong performance in a 2-1 away victory against AS Roma on the weekend to keep the pressure on the Nerazzuri. A first half penalty by Franck Kessie and a sublime solo effort by Ante Rebic was enough seal the win for the visitors at Stadio Olimpico.

Pioli will hope that the win in Rome ends their poor run of form and helps them reinvigorate their title challenge against their arch-rivals. The Rossoneri have already lost four games in the league in 2021, which is two more than they lost in entirety of 2020. Milan will look for their second straight win against Udinese on Wednesday.

Udinese won their last game against Fiorentina, thanks to late goal by Ilija Nestorovski, extending a ten-point gap to the relegation zone. They have been in good form in recent weeks, winning three of their last five games and losing only once in their last seven league games. Luca Gotti’s men will look to continue their good run of form but will have to play extremely well to get a positive result at San Siro.

Milan won 2-1 against Udinese in the reverse fixture. Ahead of this game, let us take a look at both teams.

Team News and Tactics

AC Milan

Stefano Pioli has found himself in the midst of a sudden injury crisis to his team, with top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic being unavailable after picking up an injury against AS Roma. Both Hakan Calhanoglu and Ante Rebic were subbed off early in the second half with muscular problems last weekend and they will be assessed ahead of this fixture. Ismael Bennacer will continue to remain absent because of his injury.

Gianluigi Donnarumma will feature in goal, while Davide Calabria, Simon Kjaer, Fikayo Tomori and Theo Hernandez will retain their positions from the previous game.

Sandro Tonali will partner Franck Kessie in the heart of the midfield, whereas Brahim Diaz will likely replace the injured Calhanoglu in the creative role. Mario Mandzukic will take Ibrahimovic’s place in the lineup and he will be joined by Alexis Saelemaekers and Rafael Leao to form the Rossoneri’s attack.

Pioli’s 4-2-3-1 system provides Calabria and Hernandez the freedom to play a more attacking role as the wing-backs. Tonali will play as a deep lying playmaker, pulling the strings in midfield, with Kessie playing as the box-to-box midfielder. Brahim Diaz and Saelemaekers will provide with the creativity upfront.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Donnarumma; Calabria, Kjaer, Tomori, Hernandez; Tonali, Kessie; Saelemaekers, Diaz, Leao, Mandzukic

Udinese

Luca Gotti will welcome the return of his versatile Argentinian playmaker Roberto Pereyra, after he served a one game suspension against Fiorentina. Gotti, however, will be without the services of Gerard Deulofeu, Fernando Forestieri and Thomas Ouwejan, Mato Jajalo and Igancio Pussetto, as they are currently sidelined due to injury.

Juan Musso will play in goal, with Rodrigo Becao, Kevin Bonifazi and Bram Nuytinck forming the back-three. Jens Stryger Larsen and Marvin Zeegelaar will be the wing-backs

Rodrigo De Paul will be joined by Tolgay Arsalan and Walace in the three-man midfield. Upfront, Pereyra is likely to replace Nestorovski and partner Fernando Llorente to spearhead the attack.

Gotti employs a 3-5-2 formation, with Larsen and Zeegelaar being tasked with creating chances from the wide areas, De Paul is the creative outlet and his link up with Pereyra and Llorente will be a key ingredient in Udinese’s attacking display.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Musso; Becao, Bonifazi, Nuytinck; Stryger Larsen, De Paul, Arsalan, Walace, Zeegelaar; Pereyra, Llorente

Key Stats

  • Udinese have lost only one of their last seven games in Serie A. (P7 W3 D3 L1)
  • AC Milan have lost three of their last five home games. (P5 W2 L3)
  • The Rossoneri have lost only once in their last 13 games against Udinese at the San Siro. Winning eight of those encounters. (P13 W8 D4 L1)
  • Rodrigo De Paul is Udinese’s best performer this season with 5 goals and 4 assists in Serie A.
  • Udinese have not won a single game against the top four sides this term.

Player to Watch

Franck Kessie

After a couple of disappointing displays in Serie A, Franck Kessie was at his best again, as he dominated Roma’s midfield and capped it with a well taken penalty in the first half. The Ivorian has been a vital player for the Rossoneri  and is usually the first name on the team sheet.

Kessie adds steel to Milan’s midfield, with his good reading of game and strong tackling. However, it is his box-to-box abilities and the knack of making those late runs into the box from midfield that makes him such a standout player.

With 8 goals and 3 assists in 23 Serie A games this season, Kessie has earned the tag of being one of the best midfielders in the Serie A and one could argue, probably one of the best in the world too. Stefano Pioli will count on his goalscoring prowess to help his team win the Scudetto this year.

Prediction

AC Milan 2-0 Udinese

Milan will want to make San Siro their fortress in order to maintain their challenge for the Serie A title. The Rossoneri will be high on confidence after their performance in Rome and will look to win their second game in a row on Wednesday.

Udinese have been in good form in recent weeks and will be a tough team to beat. Luca Gotti will want his troops to be more organised and put in a strong display against this powerful Milan side. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-0 victory for the home team, as their attack will prove to be too strong for Udinese’s defence.

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