AC Milan will be aiming to make it three wins in three games when they take on Venezia at Stadio Pier Luigi Penzo on Sunday.
AC Milan will be looking to move to the top of the table when they lock horns with Venezia away from home on Sunday afternoon in Matchweek 21 of the 2021/22 Serie A.
Following back-to-back wins against Empoli (4-2) and AS Roma (3-1), AC Milan moved to second spot in the standings, with just one point separating them from leaders and arch-rivals Inter Milan. With the Nerazzurri scheduled to play late on Sunday, Stefano Pioli’s side have an excellent chance to take the lead in the title race with a victory in Venice and put pressure on their neighbours and current champions.
Meanwhile, Venezia will be playing their first game of 2022 after their previous fixture against Salernitana was suspended. They are without a win in their last six Serie A encounters, although Paolo Zanetti’s side did manage to hold Juventus to a 1-1 draw during this run. Nevertheless, they remain 16th in the table, just four points clear of the drop zone and will need to turn things around.
The reverse fixture played at San Siro ended in a 2-0 win for AC Milan with goals coming from Brahim Diaz and Theo Hernandez. Ahead of their latest encounter on Sunday afternoon, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
Paolo Zanetti will have to make do without Mattia Caldara and Tanner Tessmann, both of whom are suspended. Tyronne Ebuehi will also be unavailable as he is away on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations. But Dor Peretz is back from injury and in the squad for the contest.
Venezia will line up in a 4-3-3 formation and will go toe-to-toe with their visitors on Sunday. With Milan set to field a new centre-back pairing, the hosts will back themselves to cause problems.
Luca Lezzerini will guard the goal for the home team, with Michael Svoboda and Pietro Ceccaroni shielding him from the heart of the defence. Pasquale Mazzocchi and Ridgeciano Haps will take up the full-back slots on the right and left sides, respectively, and look to keep the Milan wide players at bay.
On-loan midfielder Ethan Ampadu ought to line up as the No. 6 and look to cut out the threat posed by Brahim Diaz. He will have support from Gianluca Busio, while new signing Michael Cuisance will take up the third midfield slot and look to provide the forward thrust when Venezia are in possession.
Mattia Aramu and David Okereke will occupy the flanks up ahead in the attacking third and look to exploit the spaces left behind by Milan’s full-backs, particularly Theo Hernandez. Thomas Henry should be the man spearheading the attack for the home team against the Rossoneri.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Lezzerini; Mazzocchi, Svoboda, Ceccaroni, Haps; Cuisance, Ampadu, Busio; Aramu, Henry, Okereke
Franck Kessie, Fode Ballo-Toure and Ismael Bennacer are away on AFCON duty, while Simon Kjaer, Fikayo Tomori, Pietro Pellegri and Alessio Romagnoli are out with injuries. Ciprian Tatarusanu misses out after testing positive for coronavirus earlier in the week.
Stefano Pioli will set his team up in a 4-2-3-1 formation on Sunday afternoon, with Mike Maignan lining up between the sticks. With no Kjaer, Tomori and Romagnoli, Milan will have a second-string centre-back pairing of Pierre Kalulu and Matteo Gabbia. Alessandro Florenzi and Theo Hernandez should occupy the full-back slots and provide attacking width during possession phases.
Sandro Tonali will essay the role of the deep-lying playmaker for Milan, while his partner in the double pivot, Rade Krunic, will provide the legs in the engine room. The creative onus will largely fall on the shoulders of Brahim Diaz, who ought to line up as the No. 10. The threat from the wide areas should come from Junior Messias and Alexis Saelemaekers.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic should be the man spearheading the attack for the Rossoneri. The likes of Olivier Giroud, Rafael Leao and Ante Rebic should provide additional options from the bench in case things don’t go according to plan.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Florenzi, Kalulu, Gabbia, Hernandez; Tonali, Krunic; Messias, Diaz, Saelemaekers; Ibrahimovic
- AC Milan have picked up wins in 25 of their last 31 away matches in Serie A.
- Venezia have failed to win any of their previous six Serie A games.
- AC Milan have scored at least two goals in seven of their last eight away Serie A fixtures.
- Venezia have let in at least two goals in five of their previous six home matches in Serie A.
- AC Milan have lost only one of their last 22 away fixtures against newly-promoted teams in Serie A (W16 D5).
Player to Watch
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has had such an underrated return to Ac Milan. He returned at the age of 38 and is now 40 years old yet is still tearing up the league and outperforming some of the best attackers across Europe in the last 3 season. Every 87 minutes he contributes to a goal. pic.twitter.com/oYW21rnh56
— IG: interesting_football_views (@InterestingFoo2) January 8, 2022
Having been benched against AS Roma, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is expected to return to the starting XI against Venezia on Sunday. While injuries have affected the 40-year-old’s form this season, he has shown that he can be a valuable member of the side, scoring seven goals and setting up two more in 12 Serie A outings.
If he scores on Sunday, Venezia could become the 80th different team against which Ibrahimovic has found the back of the net in the big five European Leagues. He will need to be at his best for Milan to get over the line and bag three points in Venice.
Venezia 1-3 AC Milan
AC Milan are certainly weakened by the absence of some of their stars, especially in defence, which Venezia could exploit. However, the Rossoneri are starting to click in the attacking unit, scoring seven goals in their last two matches. With Zlatan chasing a peculiar milestone and Rafael Leao showing signs of form after his injury layoff, the visitors should pick up another victory on Sunday and move to the top of the Serie A table.