Milan are currently gearing up for the sixth round of Serie A, hoping to extend their 23-game unbeaten run with an away win against Udinese tomorrow. It will be their first lunch-time clash of the season, but it should have little significance considering their impressive run of form.
Stefano Pioli’s men have certainly impressed at the start of the season, winning all of their games except the one against Roma last week, which ended in a 3-3 draw. As the likes of Juventus and Inter have struggled, the Rossoneri are currently at the top of the standings, two points ahead of Napoli in second.
Therefore, the upcoming two games will be very important for Milan as the one after that is against the Partenopei. Of course, it also depends on the latter, but the Rossoneri need all the points they can get – especially when they are considered favourites. In his press conference, Pioli made their stance clear.
“For us, tomorrow’s match is the most important. Matches are not won on paper, all matches are worth three points. We want to stay in the lead after tomorrow,” he stated.
Gigio Donnarumma, Jens Petter Hauge and Antre Rebic are all back in action and will be at Pioli’s disposal for the game. The former two tested negative for COVID-19, while the Croatian finally has recovered from his elbow dislocation. Out of the three, only Donnarumma is expected to play from start.
In total, Pioli will make six changes to the XI that played against Sparta Praha, reverting back to his usual starters. This means that Theo Hernandez, Franck Kessie, Alexis Saelemaekers, Hakan Calhanoglu and Rafael Leao will start. The latter has done really well lately and will be hoping to strengthen his position even more.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who missed a penalty mid-week and got subbed off at HT, will be looking to bounce back with another good performance. He has scored in his last five league games for the Rossoneri, leading the top goalscorers chart with six goals in three games this season.
As for Udinese, they will field a strong attack, with the likes of Rodrigo De Paul, Roberto Pereyra, Kevin Lasagna and Gerard Deulofeu playing from start. The latter, of course, had a six-month loan spell at Milan in the 2016/17 season and has always maintained his love for the club.
Probable Milan XI (4-2-3-1): Donnarumma; Calabria, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Kessie, Bennacer; Saelemaekers, Calhanoglu, Leao; Ibrahimovic.
Probable Udinese XI (4-3-3): Musso; Stryger-Larsen, De Maio, Nuytinck, Ouwejan; De Paul, Arslan, Pereyra; Lasagna, Okaka, Deulofeu.
- AC Milan have won only three of their last 12 away league games against Udinese (D2 L7), with their most recent such victory coming in November 2018 – a 1-0 win, thanks to Alessio Romagnoli’s goal in the 97th minute.
- Udinese could lose five of their opening six Serie A games of a season for the third time in their history, after 1961/62 and 2017/18.
- AC Milan have found the net in each of their last 25 league games (59 goals over this period, an average of 2.4 per match) – only twice in their entire Serie A history have they managed a longer such run (29 in 1973 and 27 in 1949).
- Udinese’s Kevin Lasagna has scored his joint-most Serie A goals against AC Milan (three). Only Lyon’s Moussa Dembele (20) has fired more shots without finding the net than the Udinese striker (18) in the top five European leagues this season.
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored in each his last five league games – only two AC Milan players have enjoyed a longer such run in Serie A in the three points for a win era: Andriy Shevchenko in 2001 and Ibrahimovic himself in 2012.
Milan are clear favourites to win this game and the pressure will be on them to take control, which could benefit Udinese. On the other hand, Luca Gotti’s men are severely lacking confidence after losing four of the first five games, while their opponents are at an all-time high on this front.
Udinese 0-2 AC Milan
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