After their 27-game unbeaten run came to end last time out, Milan will be looking to bounce back with a win against Torino on Saturday evening. It’s the first of two back-to-back encounters between the sides, as they will take on each other in the Coppa Italia Round of 16 next week.
After 304 days, Stefano Pioli’s men lost a game in Serie A, beaten by Juventus with a final scoreline of 1-3. Taking all the absences into consideration – involving six potential starters – many expected the Rossoneri’s incredible run to end and it did. However, Milan were far from outplayed and fought hard until the end.
Nevertheless, the response will be key to understand the effects of the loss. Sure, it could be tough as a loss is so rare for Milan. Then again, they lost against Lille in the Europa League group stage back in November. Quite a devastating loss as well, 0-3 at San Siro, but the response to it was positive.
As mentioned, Pioli is still struggling with several injured players and the squad certainly is decimated. It didn’t help that both Rade Krunic and Ante Rebic tested positive for COVID just before the Juventus clash, forcing the manager to play Davide Calabria in the midfield.
In addition to the duo, the likes Matteo Gabbia, Ismael Bennacer, Alexis Saelemaekers, Hakan Calhanoglu and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are expected to miss the game. The No.10 picked up a minor injury in the Juve clash and is expected to be back next week. Fortunately, Sandro Tonali is back from suspension.
The Italian will slot in alongside Franck Kessie in the midfield tandem, meaning there won’t be any emergency solutions this time out. That being said, Calabria impressed in the role and performed better than Krunic has done most of the season. Brahim Diaz is set to replace the injured Calhanoglu, hoping to show his qualities.
In other words, there will be three changes to the starting XI that played last time out. We can only hope that the situation will get better for Pioli in the coming weeks, with several players expected to return for the Cagliari game. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of them, hungry to get back on the pitch after a long absence.
Probable Milan XI (4-2-3-1): Donnarumma; Calabria, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Theo Hernandez; Tonali, Kessie; Castillejo, Brahim Diaz, Hauge; Leao.
Probable Torino XI (4-4-2): Sirigu; Izzo, Lyanco, Bremer; Singo, Lukic, Rincon, Linetty, Rodriguez; Verdi, Belotti.
- AC Milan are unbeaten in their last 24 Serie A home games against Torino (W16 D8), keeping 17 clean sheets in the process – the last Torino win in this exact fixture was back in March 1985: 1-0 thanks to a Walter Schachner goal.
- AC Milan have conceded at least two goals in each of their last three Serie A home matches and could record four in a row for the first time since 1950.
- Among the players currently in Serie A, Franck Kessié has played the most games in all competitions (23) this season.
- Torino’s coach Marco Giampaolo had the lowest points per game ratio on AC Milan’s bench in Serie A since 2000 (1.29 – G7 W3 L4).
- Torino’s striker Andrea Belotti has scored five Serie A goals at San Siro, only at the Olimpico (six) has he scored more in away matches in the competition.
Although the Rossoneri still have a lot of injuries, and are coming off the back of a tough loss, they are certainly the favourites to win Saturday’s clash. Torino haven’t started this season well at all, though they haven’t lost in their last four, and the feeling is that Milan will be eager to bounce back with a win.
Then again, it’s hard to predict how much damage the loss did to the confidence of the players. It would be typical, as well, to lose against former manager Marco Giampaolo. The situation is far from ideal, but I think Milan will claim all three points tomorrow.
AC Milan 3-1 Torino
How well do you know Italian football? Do you want to battle the best Serie A Fantasy Managers? Play fantasyseriea.com now!