AC Milan have been inconsistent against bottom dwelling teams this season. With a draw against confirmed to be relegated side, Pescara, and a loss last week against Empoli; The Rossoneri are on the lookout for the first win in the China Era.
Milan will travel to battle against another bottom three team in the form of Crotone on Sunday. The reverse fixture was a closer match than it should have been, with Pasalic scoring his first goal and Lapadula saving the day late in the 86th minute.
This time around Milan look to cement an easier victory and take home all possible point against the first time Serie A squad.
Milan have fallen to five points behind 5th placed Atalanta and need the win here to close the gap down to two points. On the opposite end of the table, Crotone are five points deep within the relegation zone.
PRE-MATCH STATS AND FACTS
#1. The reverse fixture is only one of two games all season that Milan have won from a losing position.
#2. Crotone have gained more points in their last four games (10) than in their previous 18 (nine).
#3. Milan have scored four of their last seven away Serie A goals after the 80th minute.
#4. Suso may have missed a penalty in Milan’s last outing v Empoli, but only two players have more Serie A assists than the former Liverpool man in 16/17.
#5. Milan keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma is one of only 5 players to play every minute of every Serie A game in 16/17.
#6. Crotone have scored more goals off the bench (5) in 16/17 than Milan (4).
#7. Milan have scored as many goals at home (28) as Crotone have scored all season in Serie A in 16/17.
With thanks to our partners Playmaker Stats.
Visit thefinalball.com for more Serie A stats.
Jose Sosa and Mattia De Sciglio are both out with suspensions due to accumulation of yellow cards. Alessio Romagnoli was not played last week against Empoli from a minor injury but does not look likely to return against Crotone as he is one yellow card away from suspension and the Rossoneri face Roma then Atalanta next.
Zapata is expected to play side by side with Paletta again and Vangioni will play full back with Davide Calabria.
The midfield is yet to be decided as Mati Fernandez or Juraj Kucka will play along side Locatelli and Pasalic.
Up front it seems Montella has likened the fan favorite, Lapadula, to star over team top goal scorer – Carlos Bacca.
Crotone have no suspensions or injuries currently so expect their best line up as they are desperate for points.
Likely Crotone XI (4-3-2-1): Cordaz; Rosi, Ceccherini, Ferrari, Martella; Rohden, Barberis, Crisetig; Falcinelli, Nalini; Trotta.
Likely AC Milan XI (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Calabria, Zapata, Paletta, Vangioni; Pasalic, Locatelli, Kucka (Mati); Suso, Lapadula, Deulofeu.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Keep an eye out for Crotone’s Diego Falcinelli who has had a hand in eight of the last eleven Crotone goals: seven goals, one assist. If you’re looking for another name then check out Simy Nwankwo, who has scored all three of his Serie A goals as a substitute, right footed, and after the 80th minute.
For AC Milan keep an eye on Mario Pasalic. Fans may not realize it but Mario is our fourth top goal scorer this season with only Bacca, Suso, and Lapadula netting more times.
LAST TIME THEY MET
In the reverse fixture we know Lapadula was the hero. He scored the late goal to take the lead after Milan went down early thanks to a goal from Falcinelli.
This game marked the first goal in red and black for Mario Pasalic as well as eight yellow cards and a missed penalty from on-loan striker, Mbaye Niang.