In contrasting form, Juventus and AC Milan take on each other in the blockbuster Serie A clash of this matchday with the Bianconeri hoping to get a grip on their season.
Massimiliano Allegri did not envisage such a poor start to his second reign as Juventus manager. The Bianconeri are yet to win a league game this term, and have a solitary draw and two defeats from their opening three games, pinning them to the 16th spot on the table. Another bad performance will put the spotlight on the manager, who is hoping to arrest this slump.
The Old Lady did get off to a winning start to their Champions League campaign, with a 3-0 victory over Malmo. Juventus qualified for the continental tournament courtesy of their disappointing fourth-place finish last season and are hoping the Group stage victory will spur them on for their Serie A campaign.
Losing Cristiano Ronaldo seems to have affected the team’s form in front of goal somewhat. The Bianconeri have scored just three goals from as many games while conceding five in the process. Last weekend’s defeat away to Napoli would have crushed their morale, but they could regain it with a good result against AC Milan.
Meanwhile, the Rossoneri have enjoyed a solid start, winning all their games, to sit just below leaders Inter Milan and second-placed AS Roma in the table. Stefano Pioli’s side have shown immense quality in front of goal, scoring seven in their three games, holding the division’s best defensive record, conceding just once.
Despite the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic for most parts, Milan have shown attacking fluidity during this season, with goals coming from all sorts of positions. They also showed their attack-minded nature when facing Liverpool earlier this week, scoring twice and unfortunately losing the clash at Anfield.
Milan have a 100% record in Serie A so far, and Pioli would like to continue the run, although they face a wounded animal in Juventus. The clash represents contrasting forms of both Italian giants. It would make up for the biggest game of this Serie A matchday, with the Rossoneri aiming to collect three points.
Team News & Tactics
There is positive news for Max Allegri on the injury front, with key winger Federico Chiesa set to return after recovering from a thigh problem. However, the manager could be cautious with him and not name him in his starting lineup.
Meanwhile, Federico Bernardeschi is certainly out of this game with a knee problem. Allegri will also make a late decision on his starting central defensive pair, choosing a partner for Leonardo Bonucci on the agenda. Matthijs di Ligt started during midweek against Malmo and could be replaced by Giorgio Chiellini.
Midweek goalscorer Alex Sandro will start again at left-back, while Danilo will take his position on the opposite flank. Allegri could keep the team’s shape with the 4-4-2 formation, with Rodrigo Bentacur and Manuel Locatelli holding together the central midfield.
Juan Cuadrado and Adrien Rabiot are expected to start this game in wide areas, while Allegri is likely to play with a front-two. Alvaro Morata and the rejuvenated Paulo Dybala have shown good displays in tandem to start together against AC Milan.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Szczesny; Danilo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Sandro; Cuadrado, Bentacur, Locatelli, Rabiot; Dybala, Morata
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is again unavailable after a recent setback on the Achilles problem. The Swede remains the only big problem for Pioli this season. The manager could name a lineup similar to the midweek clash to Liverpool, making only a few changes, notably in midfield and attack.
Pioli is likely to start with the same defensive lineup that played against Liverpool. Mike Maignan will be the goalkeeper with a back four of Davide Calabria, Simon Kjaer, Fikayo Tomori and Theo Hernandez in front of him.
Sandro Tonali, who started on the bench during midweek, could be in line to start against Juventus and play alongside Frank Kessie in central midfield. Rafael Leao and Brahim Diaz will keep their place in the attacking third, with Alessandro Florenzi set for a start in Alexis Saelemaekers’ place on the right side.
Olivier Giroud was only named among the substitutes on his return to England. However, he could come into the lineup in place of midweek goalscorer Ante Rebic, with Pioli emphasising on aerial ability.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Calabria, Kjaer, Tomori, Hernandez; Tonali, Kessie; Florenzi, Diaz, Leao; Giroud
- AC Milan have the best defensive record in Serie A this season, conceding just one goal so far.
- AC Milan are undefeated in 25 of their last 27 away games in Serie A.
- AC Milan have kept a clean sheet in 7 of their last 8 games in Serie A.
- Juventus has seen over 2.5 goals in their previous three games against AC Milan in all competitions.
- Juventus have only won once against AC Milan in their last five matches in all competitions.
Player to Watch
Despite Juventus’ struggles since the season began, Paulo Dybala seems to have rediscovered his form in the final third. A goal and an assist in two Serie A games might have given the Argentine attacker some confidence back, as he seemed a bit off last season. However, with Ronaldo’s departure, he is again the key player in Turin.
He has to find his best form to help Juventus out of their slump, while his creative style will help to unlock Alvaro Morata’s true goalscoring potential. Against AC Milan, Dybala has a terrific chance to show his mettle and get the Old Lady out of their problems.
Juventus 1-1 AC Milan
With the contrasting forms of both sides, a draw could be a likely outcome from the game. Milan have shown fluidity in attack, Juventus have been leaky in defence. Based on form, But the Old Lady are getting back to their usual rhythm, as seen during the midweek clash with Malmo.
Milan will surely be different gravy to Malmo, and Allegri will be hoping to end their opponents 100% record this season. However, it could become a cagey contest, and we expect both teams to score and the game to end with a scoreline of 1-1.