Saturday’s meeting between AC Milan and Juventus will provide calcio fans with another marquee match up in this exciting season. It’s a tale of two clubs who share a similar start to the season.
The Bianconeri are coming off back to back wins after their loss to Lazio. A bizarre, high scoring win away to Udinese preceded a 4-1 win over newcomers SPAL. Despite the wins Juventus have not looked themselves this season sitting 3 points behind Napoli and playing inconsistently. There have been rumours of infighting between Dybala and Max Allegri and the overall effort on the pitch has been questioned not only by fans and media but by the coach himself. After going 2-0 up against SPAL the team stopped playing and allowed their opponents to come back into the game before Gonzalo Higuain and Juan Cuadrado sealed the game.
Mario Mandzukic who has been Juve’s most consistent player this season will return from suspension. Blaise Matuidi and Sturaro have been included in the squad but are still dealing with minor muscular injuries and it is unclear whether they will get any action on Saturday. After going with a Costa-Bernardeschi duo up front midweek Allegri will probably refer to his traditional lineup. Sami Khedira has been on fire since returning from injury and should slot in beside a rested Pjanic. Claudio Marchisio is available and may receive some time off the bench in order to find his legs. As players return from injury Max Allegri will have some options to rotate the squad around. The coach hinted Asamoah will start and despite Daniele Rugani playing well look for Juventus to start Andrea Barzagli alongside Chiellini.
4-2-3-1: Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Barzagli, Chiellini, Asamoah; Pjanic, Khedira; Cuadrado, Dybala, Mandzukic; Higuain.
The free-spending Rossoneri have been a disappointment so far this season after much hype in the summer transfer period. They have won once in 6 matches in all competitions and that win came midweek against Chievo. That particular win showed the calcio world just what Milan is capable of, but the question remains whether or not they can play that way consistently. Marquee signing and big Ex of this match Leonardo Bonucci will not be playing because of suspension. Bonucci has been out of position all season so this may work in Milan’s favour. The club is dealing with several injuries to Andrea Conti and Giacomo Bonaventura and Davide Calabria. Montella will have to shuffle his lineup and potentially formation as a 3 man backline has not worked so far this season. Lucas Biglia is fatigued but with limited options must start this match. Manuel Locatelli who won Milan the game against Juventus last season at San Siro could come off the bench. Look for Ricardo Rodriguez to remain at left centre back as is his coach’s preference with Romagnoli and Musacchio with Suso remaining wider on the right and Fabio Borini covering the right wingback position. Nikola Kalinic appears to be Montella’s preferred striker up front over Andre Silva in big matches. It’s only a matter of time before this side begins to gel and really make a push in Serie A. Milan can be deadly once they get going with their bevy of attacking talent so Juventus must be weary especially in front of a sold out San Siro.
3-4-2-1: Donnarumma; Musacchio, Romagnoli, Zapata; Borini, Biglia, Kessie, Rodriguez; Suso, Calhanoglu; Kalinic.
Prediction: This will be an exciting end to end game in my opinion and though I believe Milan will keep it close Juve have too much talent against a weak defense not to blow the game wide open.
I predict a 3-1 score (Dybala (2), Mandzukic, Suso)