Preview: Serie A Round 24 – AC Milan vs. Torino

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan will be looking to return to winning ways when they host Torino at San Siro on Monday night.

Last time out in the league, the Rossoneri let slip a two-goal half time lead against city rivals Inter to lose the Derby della Madonnina by a score of 4-2.

They followed that up with a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final against Juventus on Thursday night, and another big crowd is expected at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on Monday as Milan look for another vital success and to build on the rhythm they have established since the start of the year.


Game date: Monday 17 February
Kick-off time: 20:45 (CET)
Venue: San Siro
Referee: Michael Fabbri


TEAM NEWS

Milan boss Stefano Pioli has three injury issues to content with for the game against il Toro, as midfield duo Lucas Biglia (out for the season) and Rade Krunic plus defender Leo Duarte are still out.

Andrea Conti is suspended too, meaning that Davide Calabria is almost certain to start at right-back.

In terms of the tactical approach, Pioli has shifted from the 4-3-3 which he deployed upon his arrival at Milan into a 4-4-2, and now that has moved into more of a 4-4-1-1 with Hakan Calhanoglu now preferred in behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic as opposed to playing with two recognised strikers.

Consistency with regards to selection will likely be the order of the day, with Simon Kjaer and Alessio Romagnoli set to start in front of Gianluigi Donnarumma with Theo Hernandez at left-back.

Samu Castillejo and Ante Rebic will occupy the right and left flanks respectively, as Franck Kessie and Ismael Bennacer should occupy the midfield.

Probable Milan XI (4-4-1-1): Donnarumma; Calabria, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Theo; Castillejo, Kessie, Bennacer, Rebic; Calhanoglu; Ibrahimovic.

THE OPPONENTS

It has been a turbulent campaign so far for Torino, who have been as high as third in the Serie A standings (in Round 2) but now sit in 13th after four straight league defeats.

Manager Walter Mazzarri left the club by mutual consent after a series of disastrous defeats, including a 7-0 loss to Atalanta and 4-0 drubbing by Lecce.

Moreno Longo took the reigns on February 4th but he did not enjoy an ideal start, losing 3-1 to Sampdoria in his debut despite the Granata having gone 1-0 up.

In terms of selection issues, Armando Izzo is suspended while Daniele Baselli, Simone Zaza and Vincenzo Millico are all doubts but have not been ruled out.

Reports are suggesting that Longo will switch to a 3-4-3 formation with former Milan player Simone Verdi and Alex Berenguer either side of striker Andrea Belotti.

Probable Inter XI (3-4-3): ​Sirigu; Djidji, Nkoulou, Lyanco; De Silvestri, Lukic, Rincon, Aina; Verdi, Belotti, Berenguer.

HEAD TO HEAD

These two sides have already met twice this season across Serie A and the Coppa Italia, with each team winning once.

It was Torino who came out on top in Round 5 back in September. Krzysztof Piatek had given the Rossoneri an early lead from the penalty spot, but they imploded inside the final 20 minutes as boyhood Milan fan Belotti netted a double to ensure the three points remained in Turin.

They were also pitted against each other late in January in the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia, with Bremer’s double not enough for the away side as Hakan Calhanoglu inspired a come back, scoring a last minute equaliser and a goal in extra time to ensure Milan progressed with a 4-2 win.

Match facts

  • Torino are unbeaten against Milan in Serie A since the opening game of the 2016-17 season when the Rossoneri won 3-2, managing four draws and two victories since then.
  • Having won 2-1 back in September, they could win both home and away against the Rossoneri in one season for the first time since 1984-85.
  • Milan have drawn their last 3 home matches against Torino in all competitions.
  • Torino have scored at least 2 goals in their last 3 matches against Milan in all competitions.
  • Milan are undefeated in their last 5 home matches (Serie A).
  • There have been over 2.5 goals scored in Torino‘s last 4 games (Serie A).

ONES TO WATCH

The resurgence of Ante Rebic has been fantastic to watch for Milan fans, with the Croatia international having gone from being a bit-part player before Christmas to one of the first names on the team sheet since.

He has scored five goals in his last six appearances for the Diavolo, including goals against Inter and Juventus in has last two games, and with talks that a permanent deal (he is currently on a dry loan until the end of next season) could be discussed, another top performance will likely drive his price up again.

Andrea Belotti is without a doubt once again the main threat for the visiting side. Not only does he have the most goals in the league for his side so far with nine, but he also has the highest WhoScored rating of any squad member with 7.14.

However, watch out for Verdi who has three assists this term and will be keen to prove a point against his former side.

PREDICTION

The head-to-head for this fixture hasn’t really favoured Milan in recent years, but with Torino still trying to drag themselves out of a crisis and the Rossoneri undergoing a rebirth tactically, this should be a good opportunity for Pioli’s side to get another much-needed home win.

Prediction: AC Milan 3-1 Torino

Tags AC Milan Milan Torino