AC Milan will be keen to keep up the pressure on Napoli at the top of the table when they take on Torino in the late kickoff on Sunday

Defending champions AC Milan are currently on a four-game winning streak in Serie A and will travel to the Olimpico di Torino to take on Torino on Sunday.

Napoli’s 4-0 win over 10-man Sassuolo has seen the Gli Azzurri open up a six-point lead at the top of the Serie A table. The Rossoneri do have a game in hand and will be keen to reduce it to three points on Sunday night.

The 4-0 win against Dinamo Zagreb midweek leaves Milan in control of their destiny in the UEFA Champions League. As long as they avoid defeat to RB Salzburg on matchday six, the Italians will once again experience knockout football at Europe’s top table.

Stefano Pioli will be keen to make the most of the momentum and keep his side’s purple patch going. Milan have a good record against Torino, and should they turn up on the day, they will be expected to secure all three points. Torino are also in poor form, having won just one of their last five Serie A games.

Il Toro have not found the back of the net against AC Milan in Serie A for 464 minutes now. Given their struggle for goals this campaign, that record is likely to extend further this weekend. Milan go into the game as favourites, and anything other than a win can be considered a setback in their hopes of defending the Scudetto.

The Hard Tackle looks at how both sides could line up on the night and what tactics they might employ.

Team News & Tactics

Torino

Ivan Juric’s side are a tricky side to face should they turn up. However, they are in a poor run of form and only returned to winning ways in the Serie A last weekend against Udinese. This should give them some momentum going into the weekend.

The Torino boss has confirmed that the Turin side will be without the injured trio of Ola Aina, Antonio Sanabria, and Emirhan Ilkhan for the game. The home side will make a late call on Paraguayan striker Antonio Sanabria who is dealing with a muscle issue.

Juric is likely to retain his 3-4-2-1 formation on the night and crowd the midfield to balance out Milan’s double pivot. He will hope that strength in numbers will prove to be his side’s salvation on the night.

Vanja Milinkovic-Savic should start in goal behind the back three of Koffi Djidji, Perr Schuurs and Ricardo Rodriguez. Valentino Lazaro and Mergim Vojvoda should start as the wing-backs, with Sasa Lukic and Karol Linetty anchoring the central midfield.

Nemanja Radonjic and Nikola Vlasic will act as dual number tens and will take turns dropping back into central midfield to outnumber Milan. The duo will also be tasked with crafting opportunities for former Milan man Pietro Pellegri.

Torino are likely to adopt a safety-first approach and then gradually attempt to hit Milan on the break. A lot could depend on who wins the midfield battle and controls the rhythm of the game.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Milinkovic-Savic; Djidji, Schuurs, Rodriguez; Lazaro, Lukic, Linetty, Vojvoda; Radonjic, Vlasic; Pellegri

AC Milan

Milan will welcome back Fikayo Tomori, who had to sit out the midweek clash in the UEFA Champions League courtesy of a suspension. He is likely to displace Simon Kjaer in central midfield and partner Matteo Gabbia at the heart of the defence.

Charles De Ketelaere is also back and should be available for selection on the night. Stefano Pioli has also confirmed that Sergino Dest and Brahim Diaz are both fine and should be available for the game. It is not all good news as Mike Maignan, Davide Calabria and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are all injured and are unavailable for the game.

Pioli is likely to keep faith in his 4-2-3-1 system that has brought Milan much success in recent years. Ciprian Tatarusanu should start in goal behind the flat-back four of Pierre Kalulu, Fikayo Tomori, Matteo Gabbia and Theo Hernandez.

Sandro Tonali and Tommaso Pobega should form the double pivot, giving the trio of Rafael Leao, Charles De Ketelaere and Junior Messias the impetus to push forward. Oliver Giroud is likely to be rested, with either Divock Origi or Ante Rebic taking his spot in the starting XI.

Rebic could get the nod, given his record against Torino. He has found the net five times in six games against Il Toro and will be keen to add to his tally.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Tatarusanu; Kalulu, Tomori, Gabbia, Hernandez; Tonali, Pobega; Messias, De Ketelaere, Leao; Rebic

Key Stats

  • Torino have not scored against AC Milan in their last five Serie A encounters, a run stretching back to 2019. Of these Milan have won four, with one ending in a 0-0 draw.
  • Torino have drawn seven games at home to AC Milan in Serie A, more than any other side in the Italian top flight.
  • A win on the night will see Torino win two games in a row for the first time since January.
  • AC Milan are currently on a 17-game unbeaten run in Serie A away games. It is the longest current streak in the top five European leagues and Milan’s best since going 38 unbeaten under Fabio Capello between 1991-1993.
  • Torino have scored just ten goals in their opening 11 Serie A games this season, the least of any side in the top 10 going into game week 12.
  • AC Milan have scored 21 goals from open play in Serie A this season. This is the most of any side in the Italian top flight going into matchday 12.

Player to Watch

Ante Rebic

Ante Rebic’s time to shine? (Photo by Isabella Bonotto/AFP via Getty Images)

The Croatian has five goals and two assists in six games against Torino and is well acquainted with the Turin side’s defence. A player who thrives on confidence, Rebic is an automatic choice to lead the line on the night.

A mobile player who can also drop to a number ten role or the left, he could link up well with Leao and cause Torino problems. This interchange could also open up space for De Ketelaere to run into and take a pop at the goal. Should he start on the night, one can bet on Rebic adding to his tally against Torino on the night.

Prediction

Torino 0-2 AC Milan

Given Torino’s profligacy in front of the goal, it is difficult to see them get the better of Milan on the night. The Rossoneri have several injury concerns, but Pioli has enough depth and quality in his ranks to address them. The visitors also boast among their ranks the reigning Serie A MVP, arguably the best game-winner in the league in Leao. While Torino will be keen to keep things tight, Milan’s quality should see them come out trumps on the night.

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