AC Milan head back to the San Siro ready for Chievo, with a vital three points in their back pocket, gained away at Sassuolo last week.
A controversial Carlos Bacca penalty was enough to break the jinx the Neroverdi had held over Milan at the Mapei Stadium. It wasn’t all plain sailing with Berardi missing an early penalty, Zapata having a great performance at the back, whilst Donnarumma also saw the ball flash across his goal towards the end of the tie.
The victory was however deserved and well fought out, and the result was potentially underwhelming too as Suso missed two gilt-edged chances in the later stages, both of which came after Kucka missed an early opportunity.
The ‘Flying Donkeys’ Chievo racked up a solid result at home last week to Pescara, with a morale-boosting 2-0 victory, the goals coming from Birsa and Castro. With 10 points notched up in the last five games, Chievo will pose Milan another tough test on Saturday evening, although they have failed to post a victory against the hosts since 2005.
Abate is set to miss this fixture with an eye injury, which was worse than first feared and so the full back role is set to be filled by Mattia De Sciglio. Zapata, who was arguably the best player on the pitch on their last outing, should retain his place in the starting eleven, unless Romagnoli recovers in time.
There could also be starts for Locatelli and Sosa which could be an exciting midfield duo, as Milan hunt down Inter, who sit just one point above the Rossoneri. Bacca may well keep hold of his place as well, having put in a good shift in the tight fixture vs. Sassuolo, and he actually put the ball in the back of the net three times, although only one counted of course.
It’s also been reported that Montella tried Kucka as right back during training, with the midfield trio being Bertolacci, Locatelli and Sosa.
Hetemaj for Chievo will miss out due to a suspension picked up, he is likely to be replaced by Izco.
Likely AC Milan XI (4-3-3)
Donnarumma; De Sciglio, Paletta, Romagnoli (Zapata), Vangioni; Sosa (Kucka), Locatelli, Bertolacci; Suso, Bacca, Deulofeu.
Likely Chievo XI (4-3-1-2)
Sorrentino; Cacciatore, Dainelli, Gamberini, Gobbi; Castro, Radovanovic, Izco; Birsa; Meggiorini, Inglese.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Deulofeu is in fine form since his arrival from Everton, he could be the key to unlocking a stubborn Chievo side, with his pace and ability to create chances out of nothing. The young Spaniard, along with Suso could stretch the game to make the space required to open up opportunities for Milan.
Deulofeu’s confidence is growing, having scored a cracker against Fiorentina and putting in another stellar performance last week, he will be ready to put a smile on the fans faces back at the San Siro.
Birsa will relish the chance to play against his old club Milan, the Slovakian has helped keep Chievo around the mid-table positions and out of any danger, whilst his five goals and seven assists mark him out as a key player to keep your eye on.
LAST TIME THEY MET
Earlier this season, Milan claimed the three points with a 3-1 victory away from home in October. A Kucka goal just before half time and a Niang goal just after it, put Milan two goals to the good. Danger man Birsa then pulled one back before a late own goal from Dainelli in the dying minutes sealed the victory.