Sixth-placed AC Milan take on relegated Frosinone in the season’s penultimate game at the San Siro with a chance to finish in the top four still a possibility.
AC Milan’s chances of finishing in the top four looked all but over before the last few weeks. Two wins in as many games have sent Gennaro Gattuso’s side back in the hunt for a top-four place, and they battle fellow rivals Atalanta for the spot. Atalanta travel to Turin this weekend to take on champions Juventus, where they could drop points, which makes the Frosinone game a must-win contest for Milan.
Milan trail Atalanta by three points and know very well that despite shooting themselves in the foot just a few weeks earlier, there still is a massive chance to rectify it. Moreover, all Milan have to do is win their last two games in the league, which on paper looks winnable as they first play the relegated Frosinone and then away to SPAL.
Their opponents, the relegated Frosinone are merely playing for honour in the league, but they would want to go out on a high note. The Serie A strugglers have genuinely failed to make a mark this season, especially against top 8 sides, losing 14 of their 15 games so far. Incidentally, their only result against such sides was a draw where the opponent was Milan in their reverse fixture.
Although they are already relegated from Serie A, Frosinone can still have a significant impact on the top four race. A result against Milan will deal a significant blow to Gattuso’s side in their quest to topple Atalanta. However, owing to Frosinone’s struggle in the league this season, a win for Milan would all be expected.
Team News & Tactics
Gattuso is likely to give a starting role to troubled midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko. The manager-player pair had a high-profile falling out a few weeks back. Fabio Borini is the other player who could return to the starting lineup as Gattuso could deem him fit to start ahead of Samu Castillejo in the side.
Gattuso will also keep faith in misfiring striker Krzysztof Piatek, who has seen his form falter after his brilliant start to life at Milan since joining in January. Borini and Suso could partner Piatek on either side of him in a three-pronged attacking unit.
Franck Kessie and Hakan Calhanoglu should continue alongside Bakayoko in central midfield. Gianluigi Donnarumma should keep his place in goal while the defence protecting him could contain Ignazio Abate, Mateo Musacchio, Alessio Romagnoli and Ricardo Rodriguez in a four-man unit at the back.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Abate, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Kessie, Bakayoko, Calhanoglu; Suso, Piatek, Borini
There are several absentees from this Frosinone side to face Milan. Bartosz Salamon, Raman Chibsah and Marko Gori are all absent for the trip to the San Siro. However, there could be a return for Marco Sportiello, after the player served his suspension. Meanwhile, Andrea Pinamonti could be selected ahead of Daniel Ciofani in the side.
Frosinone could go with a five-man midfield to thwart the threat posed by Milan. Paganini, Valzania, Sammarco, Cassata and Beghetto are all expected to take their spots there. The defence could be a three-man unit with the likes of Brighenti, Goldaniga and Ariaudo expected to form the backline.
Ciano and Pinamonti are the likely strike pair to be selected for the game, although Frosinone have a few options to come off the bench if needed.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Sportiello; Ariaudo, Goldaniga, Brighenti; Paganini, Valzania, Sammarco, Cassata, Beghetto; Ciano, Pinamonti
- AC Milan have won only one of their three Serie A meetings against Frosinone (D2) – in December 2015 (4-2 away from home).
- There have been 12 goals in the three Serie A meetings between AC Milan and Frosinone, 4 per game on average, despite the reverse fixture ending 0-0.
- Frosinone have earned only one point in their last five Serie A matches – they have conceded 11 goals in the process.
- Frosinone have conceded the most goals in the first half in Serie A this season (32), while no side has conceded fewer than AC Milan in the first 45 minutes (nine, level with Inter).
- Frosinone have seen 29 of their players receive a yellow card this season, more players than any other team.
Player To Watch
Signed in January to replace Gonzalo Higuain, Piatek started to shine right away since moving to the San Siro. The Polish forward soon became a regular name on the Milan team sheet, but doubts have been cast following a dry spell where he has not been firing on all cylinders.
However, with two more games in the season to go for Milan, they would be hoping Piatek rediscovers his form to help them in these crucial stages of the season. More than anything right now, Milan would want to be back in the Champions League by finishing fourth, and Piatek could be the man to secure them this place as well as cement his own for next season.
AC Milan 3-0 Frosinone
One look at Milan’s last five wins will show in each of those games the winning margin was by a single goal. That said, Frosinone cannot be expected to trouble Milan’s defence to that extent, as Gattuso’s side are definite favourites. Milan have the right quality, and when compared with Frosinone’s, there could only be one clear winner for this game.
Milan have been decent all season until a loss of form, but the side have not been scoring too many goals for their calibre. They could rectify that with a good showing against relegated Frosinone and make their march towards leapfrogging Atalanta in fourth place. Milan to win this game by a margin of three or more goals is what we are predicting.