Parma 1-1 AC Milan: Scrappy performance results in useless draw for the Rossoneri

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AC Milan failed to do what was needed, as Parma managed to find an equaliser at the death. However, one could argue that the home side deserved the point, as Gattuso’s men looked uninspired for the entire game. 

The Rossoneri had a chance to make a leap in fourth place, increasing the distance between themselves and Roma as well as Atalanta, who will face Inter and Napoli respectively this round. However, in classic Milan fashion, they failed to do so, putting in a terrible display overall.  Continue reading

AC Milan vs. Lazio: Pressure mounts ahead of Champions League clash

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AC Milan are faced with a big test this evening, taking on Lazio who are right behind them in the race for a Champions League spot, with one game in hand to add some extra pressure on Gattuso’s men.

Therefore, tonight’s clash between the two will be very decisive in many ways. It’s safe to say that the winner will hold an advantage for the remainder of the season when it comes to finishing top four. Not only because of the points at stake, but also because of the confidence boost that one of the sides will get in case of a win.

The Rossoneri, who performed really well against Juventus despite losing 2-1, will be looking to replicate the performance last time out in order to properly challenge and in-form Lazio, even though the latter drew their last game (2-2 against Sassuolo at home). In these games, however, the previous form never seems to matter.

Historically, Milan hold an advantage against Lazio, especially when it comes to playing at the San Siro. In fact, the Rossoneri are unbeaten since 1989 against Lazio at home in Serie A (P28 W17 D11), while they have never previously had an unbeaten home streak of 29 games against a single opponent in the competition.

TEAM NEWS

As previously mentioned, Gattuso’s men performed really well against Juventus, and really deserved to get away with at least a draw. Therefore, the manager is expected to continue with the same starting eleven.

Donnarumma and Paqueta will miss out on the game due to injury, but are expected the return very soon. In fact, the goalkeeper could reportedly be ready for the Parma game next week, while the Brazilian might need a little more time still.

There had also been talks of Zapata possibly replace Musacchio in the line-up, as the latter hasn’t exactly impressed in the last few weeks. Against Juventus, he was responsible for a very clumsy challenge on Dybala, which allowed the Bianconeri to level the scores. However, the latest reports all suggest that he will get a new chance.

Borini will play from start once again up front, evidently impressing the manager during the Juventus game. This will allow Calhanoglu to stay in the midfield, now that Paqueta is injured. Despite him not being a fan favourite, many would agree that Borini puts in the effort required, although some would like to see Castillejo in his place.

Likely AC Milan XI (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Calabria, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Kessie, Bakayoko, Calhanoglu; Suso, Piatek, Borini.

PREDICTION

Just like any Milan game nowadays, it’s hard to call. It all comes down to consistency, which the Rossoneri haven’t exactly displayed as of late. Should they replicate the performance they had against Juventus, then they should get all three points this evening. However, they might as well fall back into their slump again, and then it will be very difficult against a persistent Lazio side.

AC Milan 2-1 Lazio

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AC Milan 1-1 Udinese: A must-win ends in misery for Gattuso’s men

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AC Milan failed to bounce back from two consecutive losses in the league, facing Udinese in front of a big crowd at the San Siro. The away side managed to snatch a point, while the Rossoneri’s fourth place is now at risk.

For their manager, Gennaro Gattuso, a storm of criticism awaits. In addition to this, the pressure is certainly piling up, as his side managed to take only one point from their last three games. Considering the opponents were Inter, Sampdoria and Udinese, this is unacceptable.

Now, their spot in the top four is in serious doubt, as Lazio only are four points behind with two games in hand. In other words, given the form Inzaghi’s men are in, the Champions League spot could soon be long gone for the San Siro side.

After the fiasco last weekend against Sampdoria, many had hoped to see some improvement this evening. However, instead we got to see something similar, with Milan once again failing to deliver enough quality at the back and up front.

Gattuso switched things up with a 4-3-1-2 formation but that plan went out the window already in the first half as Paqueta came off injured. Castillejo was brought on to replace him, but we all know that the Spaniard isn’t a trequartista. Therefore, the formation change ended up being more of a problem for the Rossoneri players.

Furthermore, as the players failed to perform at the highest of their standards, Udinese grew in confidence as the game progressed, while Milan evidently struggled. The goal conceded, however, was a bit unfortunate for Gattuso’s men, as it came after a great chance for Piatek which was squandered.

On the other hand, Milan’s goal also came out of the blue, more or less. However, Cutrone and Piatek showed why they should continue to play together up front, linking up really well throughout the game and especially on the goal. Tonight, that wasn’t enough though, as strikers can only do so much without proper service.

All in all, two points dropped, which could turn out to be decisive at the end of the season. Next weekend a big clash against Juventus awaits, and after that the Rossoneri will take on Lazio at the San Siro, which will be crucial for both sides with regards to fourth place.

With Paqueta potentially missing the game against Juventus, Gattuso should switch back to the 4-3-3 formation, alternatively use a 4-4-2 formation with Piatek and Cutrone up front. However, when the confidence is this low, it’s hard to see Milan getting anything out of that clash anyway.

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Sampdoria vs. AC Milan: The Rossoneri’s chance to bounce back from derby loss

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This evening, AC Milan will take on Sampdoria away from home, looking to bounce back from the disappointing derby loss two weeks ago. However, it will be far from easy for Gattuso’s men, even though they are favourites heading into the game. 

Giampaolo’s men have caused Milan problems before, especially in the first tie between the two sides this season. Eventually, the Rossoneri came away with the victory at San Siro (3-2), but the away side certainly proved how lethal they can be up front. Gattuso was keen to point this out during the press conference, stating that his side will need a great performance.

“We have to be aware of the fact that this team has already put us in difficulty this year. They have incredible players up front, and the concede little at the back. We will need a great performance. We want to bounce back,” Gattuso said about the game. Continue reading

Top three AC Milan players during the international break

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To the delight of many fans, the international break has come to an end. With that, club football returns, including AC Milan’s Champions League race in Serie A. For the Rossoneri, there have been a few standout performers during the break, as listed below. 

However, before moving on to the top three players, let’s take a look at which players were called up for international duty. Gattuso sent 11 men away in total, five of which are Italian. Donnarumma and Romagnoli were called up to the senior team, while Calabria and Cutrone joined the U-21 side. Goalkeeper Plizzari, on the other hand, played for the U-20 team.

Calhanoglu (Turkey), Laxalt (Uruguay), Kessie (Ivory Coast), Paqueta (Brazil), Piatek (Poland) and Rodriguez (Switzerland) were also called into action for their respective National team. With that said, let’s take a look at the top three performers.

Calhanoglu – Turkey

The midfielder, who has struggled with AC Milan thus far, really showed his worth during the break. He played his side’s first game from start, facing Albania, and scored the goal which sealed the 2-0 win after a brilliant solo run. He also started the second game against Moldovia, putting on a show as he assisted a goal with a bicycle kick.

In other words, a successful week for the attacking midfielder, and Milan fans will be hoping to see more of this against Sampdoria this weekend, as well as for the remainder of the season.

Paqueta – Brazil 

The 21-year-old continues to impress. Arriving at Milan in January, he has been vital for Gattuso’s team, offering something that the side previously lacked as a result of the injury to Bonaventura. Wearing the number 10 shirt, he certainly didn’t disappoint for Brazil.

In fact, just 32 minutes into the first game (friendly with Panama), Paqueta scored the opener in a very similar fashion to his first goal for Milan, arriving at the back post. He played from start against the Czech Republic as well, though he was replaced at half-time.

Piatek – Poland

Who else but Krzysztof? The striker continues to score goals left, right and centre, although he wasn’t given the chance from start straight away. Poland were in need of a goal against Austria as they pushed for the lead, and decided to introduce Piatek in the 59th minute. Just like clockwork, the Milan striker gave his side the lead (and the win) ten minutes later, proving why he should start over Milik.

Against Latvia, he played from start along with Lewandowski up front. Although he didn’t get on the scoresheet in that game, he certainly showed how important he can be when it matters the most. Hopefully, he can continue this positive trend in Serie A, as the race for the top goalscorer is getting tougher by the week.

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AC Milan 2-3 Inter: Gattuso’s men punished for the first 55 minutes

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The long-awaited derby ended in misery for AC Milan and all of its fans, as Inter edged the designated home side in front of a big crowd at San Siro. This is the Rossoneri’s first loss in the league since December. 

Given both sides’ recent form, not many would’ve expected Inter to get away with a 3-2 win, and especially not how they managed to do so. Despite their poor spell, Spalletti’s men completely dominated the game for the first 55 minutes, which turned out to be costly for Milan.

In that period, Inter could’ve scored 3-4 goals, both ‘only’ managed to put two past Donnarumma in goal. The first one came after just three minutes, as Perisic picked out Martinez at the back post. The Argentinian did brilliantly to find Vecino, who slotted it home.

Gattuso’s men managed to ride the storm until the half-time break, but they were reminded of Inter’s brilliance straight away in the second half, as de Vrij headed in the second just five minutes into the last 45. Milan got a lifeline as Calhanoglu picked up Bakayoko with a brilliant free-kick, and the Frenchman scored his first goal for Milan with a fantastic header. 1-2, and game on.

Just before the second half started, Castillejo was brought on to replace Paqueta, and more changes took place after their first goal. In fact, Cutrone replaced Rodriguez, which saw they Rossoneri switch to a 4-4-2 formation with the youngster and Piatek forming a duo up front. Calabria was moved to the left side while Kessie slotted in at right back.

The pressure started to mount on Inter but perhaps Gattuso changes were a bit naive. Politano was clipped by Castillejo just inside the penalty box, resulting in the referee blowing his whistle. Martinez stepped up and scored the third, but the game wasn’t over just there.

Gattuso decided to send on Conti instead of Kessie to get some structure to the play, and straight away the response came. Suso, for once, was responsible for a fantastic cross into the box, which eventually fell to Musacchio. The Argentinian made no mistakes to bring Milan back into the game once again, with just under 20 minutes remaining.

However, even though Gattuso’s men racked up a few dangerous chances, nothing more came of it. The loss means that Inter are now ahead of Milan in the standings, although only one point separates the two sides.

So, were there any positives to take out of the game? Despite the lacklustre performance, a few players stood out. Starting at the back, Musacchio looked very secure even though the team conceded three goals. Many would’ve seen him as the weak link ahead of the game, but surprisingly Romagnoli performed worse than his colleague, by quite some margin.

Bakayoko also put in a good display, for the most part, and his first goal for the club is something he will remember, although the result didn’t go his team’s way. During a spell of the game, he played as a deep-lying midfielder along with Calhanoglu, who was brilliant this evening. The Turk International was forced to move around a lot due to Gattuso’s changes, but did brilliantly in adjusting to the circumstances, running the show for Milan. For me, he certainly was the man of the match, which hopefully can inspire him to continue like this.

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AC Milan vs. Inter: Previewing the Rossoneri’s big chance to cement third place

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The long-awaited day has finally come. This evening, AC Milan will take on their city rivals Inter at the San Siro, looking to please their fans with a derby win for the first time 2016 (in Serie A). 

Gattuso’s men are enjoying a run of very good form, having won their last five Serie A games. However, tonight’s test will be one of the toughest of the season, given how much is at stake in a derby, especially in tonight’s edition.

TEAM NEWS

The importance of this game certainly reflects Gattuso’s choices in the starting eleven. After the likes of Biglia, Castillejo, Conti and Laxalt got the chances from start against Chievo, Milan will now revert back to their usual line-up.

Rodriguez is back from suspension, which could prove to be key for the Rossoneri. Bakayoko was given some much-needed rest last time out, and thus he should perfectly ready for this clash.

Up front, Calhanoglu is back from start after attending the birth of his first child last week, although he did come on in the second half against Chievo, making a great impression. Hopefully, we can see more like that from the Turk, who along with Paqueta will be decisive on the left flank.

Likely AC Milan XI (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Calabria, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Kessie, Bakayoko, Paqueta; Suso, Piatek, Calhanoglu.

THE OPPONENTS

Inter, on the other hand, haven’t been as good lately. A draw against Fiorentina and a loss against Cagliari cost them dearly, as Milan were able to pounce on the opportunity, overtaking the third place. Just this week, the Nerazzurri were also eliminated from the Europa League, losing to Eintracht Frankfurt at home.

Their former captain, Icardi, won’t feature in tonight’s clash as his row with the club continues. Certainly a boost for Milan, though Lautaro Martinez has proven to be a capable replacement. However, in the derbies, Icardi has always been lethal, as displayed last time out.

Likely Inter XI (4-3-3): Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, De Vrij, Skriniar, Asamoah; Gagliardini, Brozovic, Vecino; Politano, L.Martinez, Perisic.

MATCH FACTS 

Looking at the stats, it’s safe to say that Inter are narrow favourites to win tonight’s encounter. However, trends don’t last forever, and Gattuso’s men will be hoping to capitalize on the opportunity. Take a look at the top five stats below.

1. This will be the 170th Milan derby in Serie A; the Nerazzurri have won twice and drawn three of the meetings since the Rossoneri last won, back in January 2016 (3-0).
2. AC Milan have failed to score in their last two Milan derbies in Serie A: only twice in the history of the competition have the Rossoneri failed to find the net in three consecutive games against Inter (the last time was between 1979 and 1981).
3. In all competitions, AC Milan are unbeaten in their last six Milan derbies as host team (W3, D3); the last time they lost was back in October 2012 (0-1).
4. In 2019, Inter have picked up just 11 points in eight games in Serie A (W3 D2 L3), nine less than AC Milan have managed (20: W6, D2); only Juventus have picked up more points than the Rossoneri this calendar year (22)
5. AC Milan have won their last five Serie A games – they have not won six consecutive matches in the competition since 2006 (9).

PREDICTION

As most of us know, it’s always tough to predict a derby, simply because form never seems to matter when the two sides face-off. However, ahead of this one, most Milan fans will feel confident enough to predict a win, and I’m one of those. With that said, it certainly won’t be easy for the Rossoneri, and we can expect them to concede at least a goal, despite their defensive form.

AC Milan 2-1 Inter 

What to Watch For: Milan vs Inter

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Milano’s rivaling clubs clash on Sunday evening for the marquee matchup of Serie A Round 28 as Milan square off with Inter at the San Siro.

Last October, Nerazzurri captain Mauro Icardi headed home a very late winner to deal the Rossoneri a 1-0 defeat, but Gennaro Gattuso’s in-form group will look to exact revenge and expand on their one-point lead in third place over their struggling rivals.

Here is what you should be watching for in the latest installment of the Derby della Madonnina: Continue reading

Chievo 1-2 AC Milan: Rossoneri grab fifth consecutive win ahead of the derby

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AC Milan did what they had to do against Chievo, although there’s a lot to ask for still. In any case, the Rossoneri grabbed three important points ahead of the Milan derby next weekend, as they will head into the clash ahead of Inter in the standings.

As expected, Gattuso’s men saw most of the possession throughout the game, but were troubled on more than one occasion by Chievo’s high pressing. Rodriguez’ absence was notable, as he’s usually very good at playing out from the back, an aspect in which Laxalt needs a bit more work. Luckily, however, Biglia was there to rescue the build-up phase when Chievo were knocking on the door.

Even though Milan didn’t really test the host’s goalkeeper in the first half, they still managed to grab the opener. Paqueta won a free-kick on the edge of the box after a nice move, and Biglia converted it brilliantly with a curling effort. Sorrentino could do nothing about the strike as it ended up in the top left bin.

However, just ten minutes later, Chievo equalised through their captain Hetemaj, who was left unmarked in the box after Conti lost track of the player. Sloppy goal to concede for the Rossoneri, who hadn’t let one in since the game against Atalanta.

Gattuso’s men were unable to respond in the little that remained of the first half, but showed great desire at the beginning of the last 45 minutes. This paid off as Milan re-took the lead through Piatek, who capitalized on Castillejo’s flick: a true striker’s goal. After the goal, the Rossoneri focused on the defending, seeing out the win.

The home side failed to get back into the game, allowing Milan to claim three important points ahead of next weekend’s clash with Inter. Just like against Sassuolo, the performance wasn’t fantastic by any means, but they got the job done. Compared to the Sassuolo game, there were certainly improvements tonight, which hopefully can benefit them well against Inter.

Looking at individual performances, Biglia was the man of the match. Returning from injury, the Argentinian put in a great shift in the midfield, dictating the play from start to finish. This is something we’ve gotten used to with the no.21, but his free-kick goal certainly sweetens the pot.

The fan favourite, Conti, was without a doubt the flop of the match. Tonight’s performance didn’t live up to his usual standard, both in the defensive and attacking phase. Since his return, he’s only performed well, so the poor performance was eventually going to come. On the whole, it will only help him in his recovery phase.

Some Milan fans will feel that the performance could’ve been better. On the other hand, Gattuso’s men have been performing on a consistent level for the last weeks, and the results just go to show for it. Of course, the performance will eventually have to pick up even more, though three points is an important testament to the progress.

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Chievo vs. AC Milan: Team news, match facts and prediction

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On Saturday evening, Chievo will host third-placed AC Milan at the Stadio Bentegodi, with the guests looking to grab what should be considered as a routine win, given the record between the two teams. 

However, with Gattuso’s men being under pressure to keep their spot in third place, there will no longer be any easy games this season, at least so it seems. The Champions League race is incredibly tight, which Inter got first-hand experience of last week, dropping from third to fourth place after their away loss to Cagliari.

With that said, tomorrow’s game will be crucial for AC Milan, considering that the derby is up next. Only one point separates the two sides, making the coming weeks interesting from a neutral perspective, though it will be nerve-wracking for the respective fans.

Team News

Gattuso is expected to make four changes to the starting eleven, starting with two changes at the back. Conti will replace Calabria on the right flank, while Rodriguez is out due to suspension. In his place, Laxalt will start from the first minute.

Bakayoko will also be given some much-needed rest, following several weeks of intense matching. Biglia, who’s recently returned from injury, will replace the Frenchman. Other than that, the midfield will stay intact, with Kessie and Paqueta completing the trio.

Up front, the last change will be made. Suso and Piatek will, of course, play from start, but Calhanoglu is expected to be on the bench, having been in Germany earlier this week to see his new-born baby. The Turk will most likely be replaced by Castillejo, although Borini remains an alternative.

Likely AC Milan XI (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Conti, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Laxalt; Kessie, Biglia, Paqueta; Suso, Piatek, Castillejo.

Likely Chievo XI (4-3-1-2): Sorrentino; Depaoli, Bani, Barba, Jaroszynski; Leris, Diousse, Hetemaj; Giacherini; Stepinski, Meggiorini.

Match Facts

Looking at the stats and facts ahead of the game, Milan are clear favourites, having won 21 of their last 24 games against Chievo. Down below are the top five facts.

1. Milan have won 21 of their last 24 Serie A games against Chievo (three draws) and have not lost a league match with the Gialloblu since December 2005 (2-1 at the Bentegodi).
2. During the first 13 games in Serie A this season, Milan faced, on average, 12.5 shots per match (17 goals conceded), while over the last 13 matches, the average number of shots faced has been 12.1 (only five goals conceded).
3. Chievo (85 mins) have lead for the fewest number of minutes at home in Serie A this season, while Milan (73 mins) have trailed for the fewest in away matches in the competition in 2018-19.
4. Milan sit third in Serie A after 26 matches; the last time they held such a high position in the table during the second half of the season was back in 2012-13.
5. Milan have won each of their last five Serie A games against Chievo, scoring at least three goals each time, but have never kept a clean sheet either.

Prediction

As mentioned previously, this shouldn’t be a tough game for Milan. As long as they don’t underestimate Chievo, then they should be in the clear, although the performance will have to be significantly better than the one we saw against Sassuolo. If they can recover from that narrow win, then 3-1 (in Milan’s favour) is likely.

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