Sassuolo vs AC Milan: Preview and Prediction

Following a rare home defeat in the Europa League in midweek, AC Milan face a quick turnaround as they travel to Sassuolo for a Serie A clash this weekend.

AC Milan tightened their grip on second place in Serie A by beating Lecce 3-0 last weekend, but could well be bidding farewell to the 2023/24 season without any silverware to show for as they get set to take on Sassuolo at the Mapei Stadium on Sunday.

Stefano Pioli has overseen a fairly decent transitional season with AC Milan. But the Rossoneri are in grave danger of having absolutely nothing to play for in the final few weeks of the campaign. They sit 12 points behind leaders Inter in the Scudetto race and 13 points clear of fifth-placed AS Roma, with UEFA Champions League qualification almost a certainty.

However, AC Milan have already crashed out of the Coppa Italia and may be heading out of Europe following a 1-0 loss at home to AS Roma in the first leg of their all-Italian UEFA Europa League quarter-final affair in midweek, with Gianluca Mancini bagging a 17th-minute winner in that game at San Siro.

Fortunately for the visitors, they will be handed the opportunity to return to winning ways straightaway as they face an out-of-sorts Sassuolo side, who blew a 2-0 lead in Salerno to settle for a 2-2 draw on Friday and remain in 19th place and two points off safety.

It has been an absolutely disastrous season for Sassuolo. And despite a recent improvement in their performances under the management of Davide Ballardini following the sacking of Alessio Dionisi in February, they are in serious peril of dropping out of the Italian top flight.

Team News & Tactics


The hosts will undoubtedly deploy their strongest available starting XI as they eye a great escape from the relegation zone. They will have to make do without the services of Marcus Pedersen and star man Domenico Berardi, both of whom are sidelined by injuries, with the latter also set to miss Euro 2024.

Martin Erlic should recover from a knock to start in central defence for Sassuolo, where he will join Gian Marco Ferrari. Josh Doig will keep his place at left-back, while Jeremy Toljan remains a mainstay at right-back. Pedro Obiang and Matheus Henrique will form the double pivot in the middle of the park.

Up front, all eyes will be on former Inter Milan striker Andrea Pinamonti as Sassuolo’s main attacker. Armand Lauriente will play from the left, and Nedim Bajrami will operate along the right flank, with Kristian Thorstvedt playing the creative No. 10 role.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Consigli; Toljan, Erlic, Ferrari, Doig; Obiang, Henrique; Bajrami, Thorstvedt, Lauriente; Pinamonti

AC Milan

Stefano Pioli could be tempted to rotate his starting XI with this almost dead-rubber game sandwiched between two legs of an important European tie, and one man likely to return to AC Milan’s starting XI is English centre-back Fikayo Tomori, who missed Thursday’s defeat due to suspension and will partner veteran Simon Kjaer at the back here.

Yacine Adli could feature in midfield alongside USMNT international Yunus Musah and Tijjani Reijnders, with Alessandro Florenzi slotting in at full-back. Christian Pulisic, Rafael Leao, and Olivier Giroud are all set to be rested in the final third of this game.

Switzerland attacker Noah Okafor could come in for Leao on the left flank, with Luka Jovic operating down the middle. Samuel Chukwueze’s ability to thrive in tight spaces and attack defenders with fearless, direct dribbling will make him a menace on the right wing.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Maignan; Florenzi, Tomori, Kjaer, Hernandez; Musah, Adli, Reijnders; Chukwueze, Jovic, Okafor

Key Stats

  • AC Milan have won their last five Serie A matches.
  • There have been over 2.5 goals scored in AC Milan’s last three Serie A games.
  • Sassuolo have failed to win 11 of their last 12 Serie A matches.
  • Milan are the second-best away team this season, with 33 points picked up from 16 games.
  • Prior to their defeat on Thursday night, AC Milan were on a seven-game winning streak in all competitions.

Player to Watch

Samuel Chukwueze

Embed from Getty Images

Nigerian international Samuel Chukwueze appears to be regaining the trust of AC Milan manager Stefano Pioli following his inspiring form these past few weeks. Chukwueze completed a big-hype move to San Siro in July 2023, with the Rossoneri forking out a fee of €20 million and €8 million in potential add-ons to prise him away from Villarreal.

While the 24-year-old was tipped to hit the ground running in Italy after the promise he showed in Spain, his settlement at his new club did not go according to plan, and he struggled to reproduce his electric form.

Since the March international break, he has come to the fore again, and has been a constant threat on the flanks, helping the Rossoneri to maintain width with his trickery and menacing pace.


Sassuolo 1-2 AC Milan

Sassuolo have certainly improved since the March international break, although they will be immensely frustrated with a draw against rock-bottom Salernitana. AC Milan are comfortably ensconced in the top four or five, and the only really meaningful game for them is coming up this week against AS Roma.

Despite several rotations expected and with the second-leg Europa League tie in the back of their minds, the Rossoneri should still have enough quality to edge this one, although Sassuolo may enjoy some transition opportunities to make it a nervy affair.

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