After the win against Bologna, Milan will be looking to add yet another three points to their tally, taking on Crotone at the San Siro tomorrow afternoon. As Inter came away with all three points against Fiorentina, the pressure is now on the Rossoneri to reclaim their spot at the top of the league standings.
Stefano Pioli and his men have exceeded all expectations this season and even in difficult situations, they have managed to get good results to preserve their lead. A fantastic achievement, especially if you consider just how young this squad is. Having made it this far, they have no intention of stopping.
Therefore, it will be necessary to secure the win tomorrow and against Spezia next weekend to avoid what could be tough pressure for the derby. The latter will take place on the 21st and it would be ideal to bring six points to the game. And of course, with just one point separating the sides currently, all points are important.
Initially, it seemed Pioli would be able to welcome back some key players for this clash. And while that is still the case, arguably one of the most important has been forced to withdraw from the squad, namely Ismael Bennacer. Suffering from bronchitis, he won’t take part in the game tomorrow.
In addition to the Algerian, Sandro Tonali isn’t quite ready either and has been left out of the squad. This means that Soualiho Meite will get the chance from start, partnering up with Franck Kessie in the midfield tandem. A perfect opportunity for the Frenchman, who hasn’t been able to win over the fans yet.
On a positive note, Matteo Gabbia and Hakan Calhanoglu are back in the squad, with the latter COVID-19 negative. The defender, on the other hand, has been out for a very long time and it’s certainly nice to see him back. They won’t play from the first minute, though the No.10 is in line for an appearance off the bench.
In the attacking trio, therefore, Rafael Leao will keep his spot behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with Alexis Saelemaekers and Ante Rebic on the flanks. Against Bologna, it didn’t seem to ruin the balance too much so you can’t blame Pioli for trying this solution once again. After all, it could result in many goals.
Probable Milan XI (4-2-3-1): Donnarumma; Calabria, Tomori, Romagnoli, Theo Hernandez; Meite, Kessie; Saelemaekers, Leao, Rebic; Ibrahimovic.
- Milan have won four of their five matches against Crotone in Serie A, keeping a clean sheet in all of their last three.
- With 46 points in 20 games, Milan are averaging 2.30 points per game: only in 2003/04 (2.41) and 2005/06 (2.31) did the Rossoneri finish the season with a higher average.
- Crotone picked up only two points in their first 10 away matches of the league. In the 2016/17 season they survived, they picked up one, while in the relegation campaign of 2017/18 it was four.
- Franck Kessié, who has already equaled his record for goals in a single Serie A season (seven as in 2018/19), has scored two goals at Crotone in Serie A, both from penalties, including his first for Milan in August 2017.
- Simy has participated, with three goals and one assist, in all of Crotone’s last four Serie A goals.
Milan are clear favourites for this game and are still unbeaten against Crotone, who have struggled big-time this season. The outcome of the reverse fixture was a comfortable 2-0 win for the Rossoneri and we can expect to see something similar tomorrow, even though there is a bit of pressure.
Speaking of the latter, Crotone are probably experiencing more of it and this could be yet another key tomorrow for Milan, who have managed to keep their cool even in tough situations. Therefore, I believe Pioli’s side will take the opportunity to clinch yet another three points and run with it.
AC Milan 3-0 Crotone