Serie A preview: AC Milan vs. Lecce – Team news, opposition insight, stats and prediction

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan will be looking to earn their seventh consecutive victory in all competitions on Saturday afternoon as they welcome Lecce to the San Siro.

Milan had a fantastic March in which they won every game in Serie A and the Europa League, and the most recent victory was an impressive one against Fiorentina as they triumphed 2-1 at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

Head coach Stefano Pioli insisted in his pre-match press conference that the Rossoneri must not let their guard down as they look to finish the season strongly.

Game date: Saturday, April 6
Kick-off time: 15:00 (CEST)
Venue: San Siro
Referee: Luca Massimi (VAR: Marini)

Team news 

As mentioned in the introduction, Pioli’s side have really built up a head of steam as we head into the final eight weeks of the season, and the mission is to continue that momentum.

There are three certain absences: Ruben Loftus-Cheek who will serve the one-game ban he picked up after getting booked in Florence, Pierre Kalulu who is continuing to recover from a ligament issue and Malick Thiaw who has picked up a foot problem.

Tommaso Pobega has been back on the field training at Milanello towards the end of the week but this game is expected to be a bit too soon for him to make his comeback.

On the other hand, Simon Kjaer returned to training with the squad on Thursday and thus will be available, while Ismael Bennacer and Luka Jovic have shaken off the flu so they are in contention.

Sky are reporting that Christian Pulisic will be the one to take Loftus-Cheek’s spot as the attacking midfielder rather than pushing Ismael Bennacer, Tijjani Reijnders or another midfielder further up.

The American will operate behind Olivier Giroud and will be flanked by Rafael Leao on the left and Samuel Chukwueze on the right, with Yacine Adli and Reijnders in the double pivot.

Matteo Gabbia should fill in for Thiaw with Alessandro Florenzi also likely to start at right-back over Davide Calabria. Theo Hernandez is back from suspension and will occupy the left-back role.

Simon Kjaer is back at Pioli’s disposal but it seems most likely at the moment that Fikayo Tomori will partner Gabbia.

Probable Milan XI (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Calabria (Florenzi), Gabbia, Tomori, Hernandez; Adli, Reijnders; Chukwueze, Pulisic, Leao; Giroud.

The opponents

Lecce preserved their top flight status after a rollercoaster 2022-23 season, and it was thanks to Milan-owned striker Lorenzo Colombo that they did as he scored the winning penalty away at Monza to seal their survival.

We recapped their summer business during the preview for the reverse game at the Stadio Via del Mare, but it would be fair to say things have changed quite a bit since that 2-2 draw.

Roberto D’Aversa served as the head coach until 11 March but was given his marching orders after a run of nine defeats in 11 games which saw them slide from 12th in the table back into a relegation fight.

Luca Gotti came in to replace him and his two games so far have been a 1-0 win away against Salernitana – a big result in the scheme of the battle for survival – and an impressive 0-0 draw at home against free-scoring Roma.

The latest from Sky is that Gotti should keep an almost entirely unchanged team from the last game, with the only potential alteration being Banda who is battling Piccoli to be Krstovic’s partner.

Almqvist and Dorgu will still be on the flanks, like Gendrey and Gallo in defence. There is no problem for Falcone, who has recovered and will be between the posts.

Probable Lecce XI (4-4-2): Falcone; Gendrey, Baschirotto, Pongracic, Gallo; Almqvist, Blin, Ramadani, Dorgu; Krstovic, Banda.

Head to head

Milan have played against Lecce 42 times in their history across all competitions, winning 25 of those with 15 draws and just two defeats, resulting in a 61% win rate.

The first meeting between the sides was back in August 1978 in the Coppa Italia and it was when the competition still had a group stage. Gianni Rivera and Alberto Bigon (x2) netted in a 3-2 win, with Nils Liedholm the head coach.

The game earlier this season still haunts Milan fans given the collapse that happens. Goals from Giroud and Reijnders had the Rossoneri 2-0 up at the break, but Sansone and Banda struck in quick succession to earn the hosts a draw, before Giroud saw red late on.

Milan win the same fixture 2-0 last seasonwith Leao netting a brace, and their last defeat against Lecce was a 1-0 loss back in April 2006.

Match facts…

➤ Milan have lost just one of their last 24 matches against Lecce in Serie A (W12 D11), a 1-0 defeat at Via Del Mare back in April 2006.

➤ After a 2-2 draw in the reverse meeting in November, Milan and Lecce could draw both matchups in a Serie A season for the second time after also doing so in the 1999-00 campaign when Alberto Zaccheroni was Milan manager and Alberto Cavasin the Lecce boss.

➤ Milan have won nine of their last 10 home matches against Lecce in Serie A (D1), scoring 29 goals and conceding just six times across those games.

➤ Milan have won each of their last six matches across all competitions and could win seven in a row for the first time since September 2006, when they won nine in a row under Carlo Ancelotti.

➤ Lecce haven’t conceded in either of their last last two matches in Serie A and the Salentini could record three clean sheets in a row in the competition for the first time since between February and March 2004 under Delio Rossi.

➤ Four Milan players have scored 10+ goals across all competitions this season (Olivier Giroud 14, Christian Pulisic 12, Rafael Leão 11 and Ruben Loftus-Cheek 10), the first time that has happened since 2008-09 (Pato 18, Kaká 16, Inzaghi 16 and Ronaldinho 10).

➤ Only Inter (51) have scored more goals from open play than Milan (43) in Serie A this season whilst no team has scored fewer such goals than Lecce in the competition this term (16 – level with Empoli).

➤ Rafael Leão has been directly involved in more goals across all competitions than any other Serie A player in 2024 (13 – 7 goals, 6 assists); meanwhile Lecce are one of two teams the Portuguese has scored four times against in the top-flight (also Fiorentina) which includes a brace at Meazza in April 2023.

➤ Christian Pulisic has equalled both the best scoring season (9 goals – level with 2019/20 for Chelsea) and the best campaign in term of assists provided (6 – level with 2016/17 for Borussia Dortmund) in his career in the ‘top five’ European Leagues.

➤ Nicola Sansone has scored six goals against Milan in Serie A, his most against an opponent; his most recent goal in the competition came back in November against Milan whilst his six goals have come with four different teams (Parma, Sassuolo, Bologna and Lecce) with only Enrico Chiesa (5) scoring against The Rossoneri with more different clubs in Serie A history.

Serie A | Lecce 2-2 Milan: Incredible comeback thriller - Football Italia

Ones to watch

For Milan it feels like a lot of the attention is on who will replace Loftus-Cheek in the playmaker role and how they slot into the mechanisms, given he has 10 goals this season. Of course Leao will also look to continue his decent record against Lecce.

Theo missed the last game due to a ban and will be called upon to resume his great pre-suspension form. Eyes will be on Gabbia if he comes back into the defence, and Adli should he get the nod in midfield.

As aforementioned, Sansone is the man that Milan seemingly cannot stop. He has scored against them for six different teams but it seems that he is not even guaranteed to start on Saturday.

Krstovic is the top scorer for the Giallorossi while Dorgu is attracting links with the Rossoneri in view of the summer transfer window, just as Gallo did last year. Almqvist is a very talented player wide on the right, while Baschirotto is the leader in the bedrock of the defence.


If Milan are to continue their push to secure second place in the coming weeks and also go into the two legs against Roma (plus the derby) in the best way, this simply has to be a comfortable win. Don’t be surprised if Lecce make things difficult, though.

Milan 2-0 Lecce


Tags AC Milan Milan Lecce


  1. So happy to see Pulisic right behind Giroud. It’ll be fun to see what he can bring to that position for Milan. He is MORE than capable of doing wonderful things in that role.

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