Decimated Milan Face Resurgent Fiorentina

AC Milan–Fiorentina

22.12.2018

After going winless for ten league games, Fiorentina finally recorded a victory last weekend and will hope to follow it up as they travel to San Siro on Saturday afternoon. They will take on an AC Milan side who, despite being held to a shocking 0-0 draw by Bologna on Tuesday, remain in fourth place. 

That coveted Champions League berth is going to be hotly contested from now until the end of the campaign, with Fiorentina only five points behind despite sitting tenth in the current table. Gattuso knows he must improve his side’s performances and in a recent interview, he hinted that a change of formation might be the answer.

“Having more strikers in the box doesn’t necessarily mean we fill it out more efficiently,” the Milan boss told Sky Italia this week. “I think that when we play 4-4-2, we can become a bit predictable at times for the opposition. When you play with two strikers, if they don’t make different movements to stretch out the opposition defence, it becomes impossible to break them down.”

He may be forced into a change as midfielders Tiemoue Bakayoko and Franck Kessie are suspended for Saturday’s encounter with Fiorentina. “We’re missing two important players, but we’ve got plenty of options on the bench,” Gattuso continued. “We certainly won’t be beaten before we even start and we’ll figure something out.”

That would have meant a start for Andrea Bertolacci, despite not having featured much so far this term, until he too succumbed to injury, although the Rossoneri will be boosted by the return of Andrea Romagnoli. The club Captain made his comeback against Bologna after a month on the sidelines and instantly improved the backline, his commanding presence sure to provide a boost for the entire team in the coming weeks.

For Fiorentina, this game represents a chance for Stefano Pioli to use his entire squad, finally seeing the entire group fit and available for selection. Key players Jordan Veretout and Nikola Milenkovic have returned from suspension and are expected to slot back into the starting XI immediately, while Kevin Mirallas – who has scored in each of the last two games – should retain his place in attack.

Giovanni Simeone also got back among the goals last weekend after a difficult few weeks and the Argentina international represents La Viola’s biggest threat up front. The key for Fiorentina will be to dominate that decimated Milan midfield, and how Pioli handles that department could well decide the game. Bryan Dabo certainly made his case for inclusion with a superb display against Empoli, but will it be enough to displace Marco Benassi on Saturday?

Predicted Lineups:

AC Milan (4-3-3): Gianluigi Donnarumma; Ignazio Abate, Cristian Zapata, Alessio Romagnoli, Riccardo Rodriguez; Davide Calabria, Jose Mauri, Hakan Calhanoglu; Suso, Gonzalo Higuain, Samu Castillejo

Fiorentina (4-3-3): Alban Lafont; Nikola Milenkovic, German Pezzella, Cristiano Biraghi; Marco Benassi, Jordan Vertetout, Gerson; Federico Chiesa, Giovanni Simeone, Kevin Mirallas

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