AC Milan vs Monza Preview: Probable Lineups, Prediction, Tactics, Team News & Key Stats

Defending champions AC Milan will go out in search of their fourth Serie A win on the bounce when they welcome newly-promoted Monza to San Siro this weekend.

AC Milan are back in action with another crucial Serie A encounter this weekend as they take on newly-promoted Monza on Sunday. An entertaining affair could be on the cards at San Siro as two of Serie A’s most in-form outfits go head-to-head.

AC Milan are in the third spot in the league standings at present and have responded well to their 2-1 loss to Napoli before the international break, bagging a hat-trick of wins since against Empoli, Juventus, and most recently, Hellas Verona.

The defending Serie A champions had to dig deep against Hellas Verona over the weekend but eventually came out 2-1 winners thanks to Sandro Tonali’s late winner to settle what was a closely contested tie away from home.

Meanwhile, successive home and away defeats to Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League indicate that Milan are once again faltering in Europe. However, they will aim to up the ante this weekend in front of a sell-out home crowd as they hope to stay hot on the trail of Atalanta and Napoli within the top three.

Having gone winless in their opening six Serie A games, Monza seem to have finally found their footing in their debut season in the Italian top flight. Since sacking Giovanni Stroppa back in September, Monza have won three out of their four games, including a surprising and famous 2-0 victory over Juventus.

Manager Raffaele Palladino has done an excellent job of overturning their fortunes since taking over the charge. The resurgence has seen the Biancorossi shoot up the Serie A table from the relegation zone to 14th and relative safety after ten matchdays.

They fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of Empoli last weekend, but they bounced back to winning ways in remarkable fashion by recording a 3-2 Coppa Italia win away at high-flying Udinese in midweek despite resting 10 regular first-team players. The visitors now have the ultimate test against the reigning Italian champions.

Monza’s trip to AC Milan on Saturday will be significant for off-the-pitch reasons as well, with former Rossoneri president Silvio Berlusconi and chief executive Adriano Galliani returning to San Siro with their new club.

Team News & Tactics

AC Milan

Manager Stefano Pioli has received a mixed bag of updates on the injury front. Simon Kjaer and Charles De Ketelaere have recovered successfully and will be in contention for the game against Monza.

However, Mike Maignan has suffered a setback in his recovery from a calf injury, and he now joins Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alessandro Florenzi, Alexis Saelemaekers, and Davide Calabria in the treatment room. All of the players are out of action until after the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Pioli is likely to make wholesale changes to the starting line-up that will face Monza, with both Rafael Leao and Olivier Giroud expected to be given rest after being overworked in the opening phase of the season.

The AC Milan boss will set his team up in a 4-2-3-1 formation on Saturday afternoon, with Ciprian Tatarusanu lining up between the sticks to cover for the injured Maignan. The only change in defence is understood to be Kjaer, who is set to replace Matteo Gabbia. Pierre Kalulu, Fikayo Tomori, and Theo Hernandez will continue at the back.

Up ahead in midfield, Sandro Tonali and Rade Krunic are expected to be handed a breather in favour of Ismael Bennacer and Tommaso Pobega. There will also be changes in the attack. Junior Messias should come back into the starting line-up, with Brahim Diaz keeping his spot as the playmaker.

With Ante Rebic and Divock Origi now back fit, Pioli finally has strength and depth in attack. The former is in good nick and could slot on the left wing, while the latter will make his first start of the season up top.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Tatarusanu; Kalulu, Kjaer, Tomori, Hernandez; Bennacer, Pobega; Messias, Diaz, Rebic; Origi


Monza are newcomers in Serie A, but they have made a substantial investment during the summer transfer window. So it is not surprising to see them comfortably settling into a mid-table team under the tutelage of Raffaele Palladino.

They brought in a number of established Serie A talents, as well as promising talents, to build a strong core and quality depth. Some of their eye-catching acquisitions were Pablo Mari from Arsenal, Stefano Sensi from Inter Milan, Matteo Pessina from Atalanta, Warren Bondo from AS Nancy-Lorraine, Nicolo Rovella from Napoli, and Marlon from Shakhtar Donetsk.

Palladino is expected to deploy a 3-4-2-1 formation and will go toe-to-toe with their visitors on Saturday evening. Michele Di Gregorio will guard the goal for the visitors, with on-loan Arsenal defender Mari in the middle of the back three alongside Armando Izzo and Marlon. They won three games in a row against Juventus, Sampdoria, and Spezia, all without conceding, so will be hoping to keep the backdoor shut here.

Patrick Ciurria and Carlos Augusto will take up the wing-back slots on the right and left sides, respectively, and look to provide width to the attack, as well as keep their Milan counterparts at bay.

Defensive midfielder Nicolo Rovella will be a big miss as he serves a red card suspension for the trip to the San Siro. Andrea Barberis is expected to step in, although Mattia Valoti and Filippo Ranocchia could also operate there.

Stefano Sensi has been the heartbeat of the team in an exciting engine room. His vision and passing have been key in Monza’s linkup play, which has been one of the highlights under Palladino, while he also remains the top-scorer with two goals this season.

Gianluca Caprari and Pessina will take up the attacking midfield slots as they look to provide the forward thrust when Monza are in possession. Christian Gytkjaer could get the nod ahead of Dany Mota Carvalho to lead the line against Milan.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Di Gregorio; Marlon, Mari, Izzo; Ciurria, Sensi, Barberis, Carlos; Pessina, Caprari; Gytkjaer

Key Stats

  • AC Milan are undefeated in 25 of their last 26 Serie A matches and have not lost in 15 of the last 17 home games.
  • The hosts have won five of their last six Serie A matches.
  • AC Milan have won their last 3 matches against Monza in all competitions.
  • The Rossoneri have won each of their last six home league games against newly-promoted sides without conceding a goal.
  • Monza have scored nine goals in the last five matches.

Player to Watch

Ante Rebic

Rebic’s form will be a big positive for Stefano Pioli as he looks to rest both Rafael Leao and Olivier Giroud this weekend. The 29-year-old Croatian attacker is in better shape and looking sharp since returning from injury, chipping in with a goal and an assist in a superb match-winning cameo against Empoli, while he bagged another crucial assist in the 2-1 win over Hellas Verona.

 Embed from Getty Images

This means he has three goals and two assists to his name despite boasting just over 200 minutes of Serie A action, an exceptional strike rate. And, with Milan expected to score multiple times against Monza, we can see Rebic adding to his tally and breaking into the list of best scorers in Serie A this season.


AC Milan 3-1 Monza

The talent gap between these two teams is obvious. And despite the absence of several important players, AC Milan should have far too much in store for their opponents. Stefano Pioli’s team will look to establish their dominance early on, and barring an unlikely shock, there should only be one winner.

The Hard Tackle predicts a comfortable victory for the Rossoneri. That said, Monza are currently in great form, having won three of their past four games. The newly-promoted side have netted ten goals in their last six matches, but have also conceded 15 goals in Serie A this term – the seventh-worst record in the division. And they could make it an entertaining affair in their bid to go toe-to-toe with the defending champions.

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