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

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan will take on Juventus at the Allianz Stadium on Saturday evening hoping to take a big step towards sealing second place in the Serie A table.

In the latest instalment of a historic rivalry, Milan face the trip to Turin knowing that a victory would help put a very bad past few days behind them and would also open up an eight-point gap to Juve, but a defeat would once again reopen the battle for second.

Stefano Pioli answered some questions in his pre-match press conference about where the Rossoneri go from here after a very difficult recent period, also confirming Rafael Leao will be captain.

Game date: Saturday, April 27
Kick-off time: 18:00 (CEST)
Venue: Allianz Stadium
Referee: Maurizio Mariani (VAR: La Penna)

Team news 

It could be argued that this could not be a worse time for Milan to play Juventus. Not only do they have a number of key absences, but their last four games have included a Europa League elimination by Roma, a draw with relegation-battling Sassuolo and a sixth straight derby defeat.

There is once again a defensive emergency for Pioli to try and navigate, one that begins with the injured centre-back duo of Simon Kjaer and Pierre Kalulu who are not expected to make the trip.

Then the situation was made worse by what happened towards the end of the Inter game, with Fikayo Tomori picking up his fifth yellow card and thus a one-match ban before Theo Hernandez and Davide Calabria got straight red cards.

That means it is a case of almost obligatory choices for Milan in the defensive department. The only central defenders available are Matteo Gabbia and Malick Thiaw, while reports suggest Yunus Musah will be the right-back and Alessandro Florenzi on the left.

The American is ahead of Filippo Terracciano in the battle to start, but if in the end the latter were to get the nod he would be on the left and Florenzi would return to the right.

In midfield, there is a battle between Yacine Adli and Ismael Bennacer for who will pair up with Tijjani Reijnders. There should be no changes in attack, with the ‘usual four’ from the start: Christian Pulisic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Rafael Leao behind Olivier Giroud.

Probable Milan XI (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Musah, Thiaw, Gabbia, Florenzi; Adli, Reijnders; Pulisic, Loftus-Cheek, Leao; Giroud.

The opponents

To get some insight on the opposition, we spoke to writer Michel Sakr about their season so far and how it is being viewed through a black and white lens.

What did you make of the summer business that Juventus did, and where did it leave your expectations for 2023-24?

“With Timothy Weah being the lone summer arrival, the expectations were fairly low from the get-go. Angel Di Maria and Leandro Paredes both left and rightfully so, but no replacements arrived. Weah was supposedly Juan Cuadrardo’s heir, but certainly hasn’t been an upgrade.

“The management didn’t address the weaknesses in the squad, especially in midfield where Paul Pogba was branded as the ‘new signing’ which we all know was a mere charade, albeit none of us envisioned the final twist.

“It was obvious that the club had modest ambitions ahead of the season, and the directors were relying on Allegri making the best of the squad and developing the young players at his disposal, but the chances of going far in this plan were slim, to say the least.”

How would you judge the season so far? Where do you stand on Max Allegri’s future beyond this season?

“Let’s put it this way, the only reason why Juventus remain in the mix for a Champions League berth is the fact they collected an impressive tally of points during the first half. But some would even argue that those early results flattered the Bianconeri who weren’t necessarily as good as the table suggested at the time, as several of their wins ensued despite unconvincing displays.

“I believe Juve rode their Grinta and tenacity early on, but when the morale dropped following the Derby d’Italia defeat, they didn’t have the technical or tactical skills to prevent the collapse. As for Allegri, the results speak for themselves.

“The manager will continue to defend his work, stating how the club’s objective has always been a top four finish. And to an extent, he does have a point. I believe Inter and Milan possess superior squads, so Juventus finishing behind them shouldn’t be an atrocity.

“Yet, the performances are just inexcusable. Even when the club was winning, the Bianconeri were hardly winning new fans among younger generations with their uninspiring brand of football.

“The game has evolved, but Allegri hasn’t. So it’s time for Juventus to find someone with a more progressive approach.”

Are there any injuries/selection problems? What is Juve’s predicted starting XI?

“Besides the suspended Pogba and Fagioli, the only absentee for Juventus should be the injured Moise Kean. But this shouldn’t be a major issue for the team as the Italian has been the odd man out recently.

“Dusan Vlahovic should lead the line alongside Federico Chiesa, even though Kenan Yildiz will be pushing for a starting berth.

“Weston McKennie could be moved to the right wing-back role (probably in the hopes of thwarting Leao), with Carlos Alcaraz getting the nod in midfield alongside Manuel Locatelli and Adrien Rabiot, while Andrea Cambiaso starts on the left. Federico Gatti, Bremer and Danilo should start in front of Wojciech Szczezny.”

Probable Juventus XI (3-5-2): Szczezny; Danilo, Bremer, Gatti; McKennie, Alcaraz, Locatelli, Alcaraz, Cambiaso; Chiesa, Vlahovic.

Head to head

Juventus are the team that AC Milan have played the most times in their 124-year history, with 224 official matches between the sides which have yielded 65 wins, 71 draws and 88 defeats at a win rate of 31.8%.

Last season saw the Rossoneri do a league double over the Zebre for the first time since 2009-10, with a 2-0 win at home and a 1-0 win away from home.

That was the indicator that the fixture had swung from being very one-sided in Juve’s favour to the other way around, as Milan had lost once in their last nine against them.

However, Allegri’s side did win the reverse game this season. Malick Thiaw’s red card for a foul on Moise Kean heavily conditioned the match, with Manuel Locatelli’s lucky deflected shot then enough for a 1-0 victory.

Match facts…

➤ Following their 1-0 victory in the reverse fixture in October, Juventus could win both seasonal matches against Milan in Serie A for the first time since 2018/19 (under Massimiliano Allegri).

➤ Across the last six games between Juventus and Milan in Serie A only once have both sides scored: 1-1 on September 2021 – four clean sheets for Rossoneri and one for Bianconeri in the other five games.

➤ After nine away defeats in a row against Juventus in Serie A, Milan have gone unbeaten in the last three at the Allianz Stadium (W2 D1); only once have the Rossoneri avoided defeat in four consecutive away games against the Bianconeri in the competition: between May 1991 and March 1994.

➤ Juventus have drawn six of their 15 Serie A games in 2024 (W5 L4), during this period only Torino and Genoa (both 7) have drawn more games in the competition. The Bianconeri could draw three games in a row for the first time since September-October 2020.

➤ Milan have lost three of their last four matches in all competitions (D1), including the last two – ??the Rossoneri could record three defeats in a row in all competitions for the first time this season, previously doing so in May 2023 (two against Inter in that case in the Champions League and one against Spezia in Serie A).

➤ Milan rank second for points gained in away games in Serie A this season (34 in 17 matches, less than Inter), despite only Frosinone (37), Salernitana (36) and Sassuolo (33) conceding more goals than Milan (29) on the road this term.

➤ Milan are the team that have received the highest number of red cards in Serie A this season (8); in the last 20 Serie A seasons (since 2004-05), only twice have the Rossoneri received more red cards: 12 in 2016-17 and 13 in 2014-15.

➤ Dusan Vlahovic is the only player to have reached double figures for goals in 2024 in Serie A (10 goals in 12 appearances). He has never faced Milan at the Allianz Stadium in Serie A, while with Fiorentina he had been involved in four goals in four home matches against the Rossoneri in Serie A (2 goals and 2 assists).

➤ Federico Chiesa has been involved in six goals against Milan in Serie A (three goals and three assists), against no side has he been involved in more in the competition; however, he’s not been involved in a goal in his last four games against Rossoneri in the competition.

➤ Olivier Giroud scored the winning goal in the last game between Juventus and AC Milan at Allianz Stadium in Serie A (1-0, 28 May 2023); the Frenchman could become the first Milan player to score in each of his first two away games against Juventus in the competition since 1994-95.

Ones to watch

As mentioned above, Giroud certainly seems to like scoring against Juventus and will look to carry that on, while Leao and Loftus-Cheek have pressure on their shoulders after difficult recent weeks. The former will wear the captain’s armband too.

It feels as though the ability of Milan’s defence to bend and not break will be crucial though. In that sense, shielding must come from Reijnders and Adli/Bennacer, while Gabbia will actually be the one tasked with instructing and organising the back four.

We asked Michel: who are the in-form players for Milan to look out for?

“Well, it’s safe to say that no Juventus player is taking the world by storm at the moment, but Vlahovic has been the one carrying the team on his broad shoulders. I feel he’ll have a tough task against Matteo Gabbia, and he does have a knack for wasting sitters, but he can always produce something special when in form.

“As for Chiesa, he can be very dangerous when pitted against a marker who lacks pace, while Yildiz can inflict the damage when coming off the bench, although his impact has dwindled in recent weeks.”


The pressure is all on Juve to win at home and close the gap, and they will face a Milan side who have been defensively suspect for months and will field a makeshift back four, while they will still be reeling after the Roma and Inter defeats. All things point to a home win.

Juventus 2-1 Milan

Tags AC Milan Juventus-Milan

1 Comment

  1. Recipe for disaster, Einstein said only a fool would do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result.
    Let RLC move to midfield or stay out in starting, while pulisic plays the man behind the striker, also giroud should be replaced with okafor, who is hungrier, while Chucks starts on the right, the best form of defence is attack, if we can have the ball mostly in juve’s half, our depleted defence would not be exposed too much
    Don’t also forget, Mariani is the ref, a very uselesss, prejudiced official

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