Finally, the Serie A is back again, with AC Milan taking on Pescara away from home. Coming off a narrow win against Genoa, the Rossoneri will remain favourites to win.
Two weeks ago, just before the International break started, AC Milan won by 1-0 at home against Genoa, thanks to a great goal from the somewhat forgotten Mati Fernandez. A much-needed win for the San Siro side, who will be looking to qualify for at least Europa League this season, sitting just two points behind Inter in 5th place.
The hosts, on the other hand, have not impressed at all this season, having only won two (!) games this entire campaign. They also recently sacked former AC Milan player Massimo Oddo, replacing him with Zdenek Zeman. Despite a great start for Zeman, Pescara have still not managed to regain their form from last season in Serie B.
PRE-MATCH STATS AND FACTS
1. Milan have won 12 of their 13 Serie A meetings against Pescara (L1) and they’ve scored in each clash: 39 goals for the Rossoneri.
2. Since 1956, only Napoli in 1997/98 (67) have conceded more goals than Pescara this season (66) after 29 Serie A games.
3. Milan have won 12 games by a one-goal margin; more than any other team in Serie A in 2016/17.
4. The Rossoneri have won five of their last seven league games (D1 L1), after they won only one of the previous seven.
5. Alessio Romagnoli is set to make his 100th appearance in Serie A on Sunday.
Despite having to deal with a few injuries, Montella will have a good squad available at his disposal on Sunday. In defence, Romagnoli will most likely pair up with Paletta, as Zapata played both games for Colombia during the International break.
After a great performance last time out, Mati Fernandez is set to start on the left-hand side of the midfield, with Sosa starting as the regista. Montella has still not decided on whether he should start Kucka or Pasalic, although it’ll most likely be Pasalic.
Suso is, unfortunately, still out injured but is likely to return for the Rossoneri’s clash against Palermo. Replacing him is Lucas Ocampos, who joined the San Siro side in January.
Likely AC Milan XI (4-3-3): Donnarumma; De Sciglio, Paletta, Romagnoli, Vangioni; Pasalic (Kucka), Sosa, Mati Fernandez; Ocampos, Bacca, Deulofeu.
Likely Pescara XI (4-3-3): Bizzarri; Zampano, Bovo, Fornasier, Crenscenzi; Verre, Muntari, Memushaj; Benali, Cerri, Bahebeck.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
In the home side, on to watch out for is Ahmad Benali, who has proved to be dangerous even when the team isn’t playing too well. The winger has scored five goals and made two assists so far this season.
For the away side, Gerard Deulofeu will be vital. The Spanish winger made his debut for Spain’s national team during the International break, in which he won a penalty which led to the opening goal, as well as scoring the second goal. The best possible debut for Deulofeu, who has been pivotal for the Rossoneri this season on the wing.
As usual, it’ll also be interesting to see how Bacca will perform. The Colombian has scored twelve goals for AC Milan this season and is, therefore, their top scorer. Bacca will have to play very well in order to keep his spot in the starting lineup, as Lapadula has shown he’s not someone you keep on the bench, making a very good performance against Genoa last time out.
LAST TIME THEY MET
Last time these two sides met, Bonaventura scored the winner with a fantastic free-kick, in a narrow 1-0 win at the San Siro. AC Milan hit the post twice in that game and failed to convert most of the chances that were given to them.
Donnarumma also made one of the saves of the season on Memushaj’s long-range shot.