AC Milan vs Juventus: Serie A Preview and Prediction
With the Serie A title close to being wrapped up, Juventus look to continue their dominant run as they head to Milan.
The Bianconeri have performing at a high level after their loss to Napoli in the Coppa Italia final. Maurizio Sarri’s men are seven points clear at the top and look unreachable.
Milan played a crucial role in ending Lazio’s hopes of claiming the scudetto after a thumping 3-0 victory. The Rossoneri have been on a strong run and a Europa League spot looks achievable.
Head to Head
Considering the last 32 games between the two, Juventus have the edge with 21 wins and only five losses.
When we compare the last 11 games between the two, Juventus have won nine and drawn two, meaning that they are unbeaten since December 2016, the last time Milan defeated Juventus, in the Super Cup final in penalties.
Juventus have not lost their last three away games against Milan and are yet to lose at home after being unbeaten in the last ten.
Milan are undefeated since Serie A resumed. After a disappointing draw against SPAL, Stefano Pioli has managed to fire up the team very well. The Old Lady will not make the mistake of taking Milan lightly after their comfortable win against the Serie A runners-up contenders.
Pioli’s team is currently on an upward trajectory and their next aim is to leapfrog their Europa League spot rivals AS Roma, who currently hold fifth place.
Juventus have been stubborn in not allowing other contenders to bridge the gap for the Serie A titles as their ruthless pursuit of winning their ninth consecutive scudetto continues.
Sarri has been scrutinized for not being able to win silverware yet with such a powerful Juve squad but looking at their Serie A run, a Champions League trophy may also get added to the list.
Milan are unbeaten in their last five games in all competitions, winning three and drawing two.
Juventus, on the other hand, lost only once in their last five games in all competitions but have managed to win the rest four. Their only loss came against Napoli in the Coppa Italia finals.
Milan’s Samu Castillejo is a doubt ahead of Tuesday’s clash as he picked up a muscle injury in the game against Lazio. Hakan Calhanoglu, the man who gave Milan the break against Lazio also picked up a knock in the final minutes of the game and was later substituted and thus, it is unlikely whether he will feature.
Defenders Mateo Musacchio and Leonardo Duarte are both out with long-term injuries and are unlikely to feature.
The visitors will be without Alex Sandro and Mattea De Sciglio. Blaise Matuidi is fit but expected to be on the bench and will be brought on probably later in the game. Danilo may be instructed to operate from the left. Giorgio Chiellini and Merih Demiral are still not fully ready to play full 90 minutes and hence will miss the game.
Sami Khedira also is going to miss the game as a result of a thigh injury. Matthijs de Ligt and Paulo Dybala are suspended and hence will not be a part of the game.
Alessio Romagnoli vs Cristiano Ronaldo
Alessio Romagnoli has been the spine in AC Milan's backline and has started all the games for the Rossoneri this season.
On the other side we have Ronaldo who has been exceptional for Juventus this season. He is a top contender for the cappocannoniere award, just four goals away from this season's top scorer Ciro Immobile.
Milan kept a cleansheet against the second-placed Lazio and won by a margin of three goals. However, the absence of the suspended Immobile played a huge part in it.
Romagnoli has a very good clearance record and being of the same height as Ronaldo, the battle between the two aerially will also be very aggressive.
Having started all the games, Romagnoli is yet to make an error that leads to a goal whereas Ronaldo has been on another level since the restart. In Juventus' last game against Torino, Ronaldo scored his first Serie A freekick and this opens another way for him to cause Milan problems.
Theo Hernandez vs Federico Bernardeschi
The 22-year-old Frenchman has been very impressive for Milan this season. Being a full back, he has five goals and as assist to his name and is one of the very few full-backs who are pretty strong with their dribbling.
Hernandez is always looking to move forward and tends to take more risks while dribbling and his success ratio speaks for how effective he has been. With all the attacking abilities, he also fulfills his role as a left-back and makes some crucial clearances in vital moments of the game.
Federico Bernardeschi has had a very silent season in the Serie A and is yet to score his first league goal this season. He only has an assist to his name but his raw pace is something that attracts the defenders and makes them commit errors. A
part from that, Bernardeschi's defensive work rate has been one of the best this season. It will be an interesting battle as Hernandez will be always looking to get forward while Bernardeschi will try to take him on the counter.
Ismael Bennacer vs Miralem Pjanic
Both midfielders have had an almost equal impact on their respective team's performance. However, statistically Pjanic has contributed more with his three goals and two assists.
Both of them have great passing range and quality.
Pjanic is set to leave for Barcelona next season and hence must be looking to leave his mark on the team with a few games left to play.
The Bosnian has been superior to Bennacer offensively but the Milan man has overtaken Pjanic in the defenisve duties. Be it tackle success, interceptions or dribbles, Bennacer has had an upper hand while Pjanic has the numbers and an advantage when it comes to clearances.
Milan’s dominance over Le Aquile in Rome may seem as a surprise but it clearly indicates that Milan are building well. The presence of Zlatan is always very crucial, seeing the amount of experience he has. Moreover, the absence of Dybala and De Ligt will be a huge blow to Juventus while Milan will be targeting to make good use of it. The fixture carries a lot of history and hence the past results may or may not matter that much. What matters is who will come on top and despite Milan’s progress, it looks like Cristiano Ronaldo may again be the difference-maker in the game.
Predicted scoreline: AC Milan 1-2 Juventus