Having earned a crucial but yet disappointing point against Napoli last Sunday, the Rossoneri will travel to Turin with hopes of bringing home the three points to keep their Champions League dream alive, as they face Torino this Wednesday.
Even though it seems practically impossible to reach top four for Milan, a small possibility still exists. The only way this dream can become reality is if Gattuso’s men manage to win all their remaining games while their rivals stumble and drop eight points.
The first step would be taking all the three points from Torino in their own stadium.
Torino have been playing much better under Walter Mazzarri. They are not the type of opponent the Italian giant would have wanted to face at this stage of the season, which makes it an even bigger challenge with uncertainty on both sides.
Coach Gattuso and his men have slowed down after their trip to Turin where they faced Juventus, having collected only 3 points in the last four games (1 loss and 3 draws).
However, it is important to mention that this team has only lost once in 2018, against Juventus who have proved to be tough opponents when they play in their stadium.
Gattuso can count on the return of his captain Leonardo Bonucci, who is coming back from a suspension. Alessio Romagnoli is still unavailable due to a recent injury picked up against Sassuolo, the Italian defender should be reevaluated in two weeks, until then, his teammates will have to fill up for him.
To replace Romagnoli, the coach has to decide between Christian Zapata and Matteo Musacchio, who played together against Napoli. With both giving a remarkable performance against Sarri’s men, it will not be an easy choice for the coach.
Davide Calabria could be rested as he just came back from a small injury and Ignazio Abate could start on the right-back position while the midfield and the attack is expected to stay the same as it was against Napoli, with Kalinic leading the front three.
Probable AC Milan XI (4-3-3): G.Donnarumma; Abate, Bonucci, Zapata, Rodriguez; Kessie, Biglia, Bonaventura; Suso, Kalinic, Calhanoglu.
While Milan are on a run of four games without a win, Torino are unbeaten in their last four matches. Being only seven points behind Milan, this game could get them closer to a Europa League spot.
Torino also have no injury concerns ahead of Wednesday’s game and will go into the fixture with a full-strength side.
The Rossoneri will want to put their recent results behind them, Torino will be equally motivated to continue their unbeaten run.
Probable Torino Starting XI: Sirigu; N’Koulou, Burdisso, Moretti, De Silvestri; Baselli, Rincon; Ansaldi, Ljajic, Falque; Belotti.
LAST TIME OUT
Milan last played on Sunday against a very dangerous Napoli side. Despite a great performance from the players, a goalless draw was the final result of the game. A result that could have been worse if it was not for Gianluigi Donnarumma’s last-minute save on Milik. This latest draw probably buried all hopes for a Champions League qualification for the Rossoneri for good.
Torino, on the other hand, came from three consecutive wins against Cagliari, Crotone and Inter, and was looking for a fourth victory in a row. However, a stubborn Chievo squad caused them some issues and held them to a goalless draw.
Hakan Calhanoglu has been Milan’s most creative player in the last four games and could be the player to keep an eye on.
His shot accuracy and his flawless passing could cause problems for Torino. His weakness has always been his lack of pace, however, Torino is not exactly the fastest team in Italy either. Against them, he could get the space he needs to operate some magic. His team will need him at his best and maybe he could finally score that first freekick goal the fans have been asking for since he arrived.
Andrea Belotti is obviously the most dangerous player on the opposite side. Despite his poor form this season, mostly due to a few injuries he has picked up throughout the season, he’s scored nine goals in 24 games.
Belotti remains a predator that Bonucci will have to watch with a very close eye as he has proven in the past that he can score against Milan or any team for that matter. Besides, these type of games are the ones that bring out his talent and his hunger for goals, so we should expect him to give Milan’s defence a lot of trouble.
Torino have nothing to lose at this stage of the competition, which could make them extremely unpredictable and dangerous. However, it could also make them easier to break as they could leave some space to players like Suso who could punish them.
It is also to be mentioned that on the Rossoneri’s side, both the players and the coach have declared that they have not given up on a potential Champions League spot, so even though it is more of a dream than a real possibility at this point, we should expect to see a hungry Milan side, determined to take home a victory at all cost.
Prediction: Torino 1-2 Milan