AC Milan will welcome Genoa to San Siro in their next Serie A assignment on Friday, attempting to return to winning ways.
AC Milan have registered back-to-back goalless draws in the Serie A, which has cut down their lead at the top of the league table to just two points. Second-placed Inter Milan are hot on their heels, with the Nerazzurri also having a match in hand.
Milan come into the encounter on the back of a 0-0 draw at Torino. The Rossoneri were unable to break a resolute Torino defence led by Gleison Bremer and had to contend with just a point at such a crucial stage in their league campaign.
Milan, who last won the Serie A in 2011, cannot afford to drop more points as they try to reclaim the Scudetto after a long gap. But after two consecutive draws, things are no longer in their hands and they are left hoping that Inter will drop points in their remaining matches.
Genoa, on the other hand, are on the opposite end of the table in the relegation zone. They picked up decent results at the start of the year, but successive defeats have set them back again, and they are now scrambling to get back to winning ways.
An encounter against Serie A leaders AC Milan is by no means an easy assignment, but Alexander Blessin’s side will want to create an upset. A win over the Rossoneri will set them up perfectly for what is to come for the remainder of the season. Genoa’s last outing in the Serie A was a 4-1 defeat to Lazio. However, they are just three points off safety and have a favourable run of fixtures coming up.
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Stefano Pioli will be without the services of quite a few of his regular starters for the Genoa encounter. The Serie A giants will miss Ismael Bennacer, Samu Castillejo, Ante Rebic, Alessio Romagnoli, Alessandro Florenzi, Simon Kjaer and Zlatan Ibrahimovic against Genoa.
But all of these players were not available for Milan’s goalless draw at Torino either. Pioli is, thus, not expected to make any change to the XI that started in Turin.
Mike Maignan will take up the goalkeeping duties, with Davide Calabria, Pierre Kalulu, Fikayo Tomori and Theo Hernandez forming the back-four in a 4-2-3-1. Franck Kessie and Sandro Tonali will man the double-pivot.
Alexis Saelemaekers, Brahim Diaz and Rafael Leao will continue aiding striker Olivier Giroud, as they hope to break the shackles of a Genoa backline that has conceded 52 times this season.
Probable XI (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Calabria, Kalulu, Tomori, Hernandez; Kessie, Tonali; Saelemaekers, Diaz, Leao; Giroud
Like AC Milan, Genoa, too, have a few players missing due to injuries. There are as many as six absentees due to fitness issues with Riccardo Calafiori, Stefano Sturaro, Zinho Vanheusden, Nicolo Rovella, Andrea Cambiaso and Lennart Czyborra, all set to miss the AC Milan clash.
Alexander Blessin, like Stefano Pioli, is not expected to tinker much with the XI that started their 4-1 defeat to Lazio. The only area of concern for the Genoa manager could be the striker’s spot with the club struggling to score freely this season.
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Salvatore Sirigu will continue as Genoa’s first-choice goalkeeper. Silvan Hefti, Nikola Maksimovic, Leo Ostigard and Johan Vasquez will form the four-man defence. Pablo Galdames and Milan Badelj will try to shield their defenders against league leaders Milan.
Filippo Melegoni, Nadiem Amiri and Manolo Portanova will be the three attacking midfielders with Caleb Ekuban expected to be the only change for this match.
Probable XI (4-2-3-1): Sirigu; Hefti, Maksimovic, Ostigard, Vasquez; Galdames, Badelj; Melegoni, Amiri, Portanova; Ekuban
- AC Milan have won just two of their last six league matches at home.
- Genoa have won just one of their 16 away games in the Serie A this season.
- Milan have had a good run of results against Genoa, winning seven of their last 10 league games between the two sides.
- The Rossoneri have scored freely against Genoa too, netting two or more goals in six of the last ten league encounters between the two sides.
- The two sides have met 30 times in their history with Milan winning on 18 occasions. Genoa have won seven matches with five ending in draws.
- The last meeting between the two sides finished in a 3-1 victory for Milan.
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The Frenchman was one of AC Milan’s better players in their 0-0 draw against Torino. Giroud was involved in most of his side’s attacks but could not find the breakthrough. He will want to fix this issue when taking the field against Genoa.
Giroud has scored eight goals in the Serie A this season, and in Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s absence, the former Arsenal and Chelsea striker will be tasked with leading the line for AC Milan against Genoa. He will want to improve his goal-scoring tally for the season.
AC Milan 1-0 Genoa
The Rossoneri come into the encounter as clear favourites, but their recent results have been anything but impressive. The two goalless draws were preceded by three 1-0 victories and a similar scoreline can be expected against Genoa.
AC Milan could start the match in the second spot, should Inter Milan win against Spezia hours earlier. They could thus have the added pressure of reclaiming the top position with three points against Genoa.