AC Milan - Catania Preview: Allegri's men target victory after disappointing draw with BATE
The Serie A holders aim to put their midweek Champions League frustrations firmly behind them with a return to winning ways against Vincenzo Montella's side on Sunday
By Livio Caferoglu
Abate, Bonera, Silva, Antonini
Aquilani, Van Bommel, Ambrosini
Potenza, Bellusci, Spolli, L'aglie, Marchese
Almiron, Lodi, Delvecchio
Massimiliano Allegri will be pleased to see Luca Antonini successfully recover from his ankle injury, and he is expected to be given the nod ahead of Taye Taiwo at left-back. However, Alessandro Nesta has picked up a knock and is likely to require two weeks to make a comeback.
The defensive lynchpin follows Alexandre Pato and Philippe Mexes to the treatment table, as they all strive for a return in the next fortnight.
Antonio Cassano, Gennaro Gattuso and Mathieu Flamini are long-term absentees for the Rossoneri, with the Italy forward being lined up for a June return, according to reports in Italy. Flamini is expected to be back in contention in around three months' time, while Gattuso's eye injury continues to cause uncertainty.
Kevin-Prince Boateng and Antonio Nocerino are banned for the encounter, so Massimo Ambrosini and Clarence Seedorf should come in for the duo in midfield, while Daniele Bonera is likely to replace Nesta in the backline.
Meanwhile Catania have far fewer absences to contend with, as David Suazo, Pablo Alvarez and Cristian Llama all should be back by matchday 12. Mariano Izco, however, needs a late test to prove his fitness.
However, coach Montella is likely to switch to a 5-3-2 formation for the match, with Alessandro Potenza and Gennaro Delvecchio set to replace midfielders Izco and Adrian Ricchiuti.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- AC Milan earned their fourth consecutive Serie A win against Roma last week.
- The champions have also remained unbeaten at San Siro this year in the league.
- Milan boast this season's most prolific attack in Serie A, with 19 goals scored thus far.
- Catania's last win against the Rossoneri came back in the 1962-1963 campaign, with Milan unbeaten in their last 20 meetings.
- However, three of the last four meetings between these two sides at San Siro ended in draws.
- Catania are unbeaten in their last six matches, their longest unbeaten run since 1962-63.
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Top 3 Predictions
AC Milan 3-0 Catania
- 23.88 %
AC Milan 2-0 Catania
- 21.8 %
AC Milan 3-1 Catania
- 16.67 %
|Serie A (SR-A)||1 Dec 2013||Catania 1 - AC Milan 3|
|Serie A (SR-A)||28 Apr 2013||AC Milan 4 - Catania 2|
|Serie A (SR-A)||30 Nov 2012||Catania 1 - AC Milan 3|
|Serie A (SR-A)||31 Mar 2012||Catania 1 - AC Milan 1|
|Serie A (SR-A)||6 Nov 2011||AC Milan 4 - Catania 0|
|2 Mar 2014||AC Milan 0 - Juventus 2||SR-A|
|23 Feb 2014||Sampdoria 0 - AC Milan 2||SR-A|
|19 Feb 2014||AC Milan 0 - Atlético de Madrid 1||UCL|
|14 Feb 2014||AC Milan 1 - Bologna 0||SR-A|
|8 Feb 2014||Napoli 3 - AC Milan 1||SR-A|
|17||Mark van Bommel||Midfielder|
|92||Stephan El Shaarawy||Striker|
The ever-mercurial talents of the Swede will be heavily relied upon to provide the goal threat for Milan, and he may have to conjur up yet another match-winning performance on the night, as the likes of Cassano and Boateng will be unavailable to offer any kind of support.
The Argentine hitman seems to have found his ideal club in Catania, after previously difficult spells in Europe with Saint-Etienne and Benfica. A prolific loan spell last season turned into a permanent transfer over the summer, and he hasn't looked back. Bergessio has since developed a knack for rising to the occasion, as shown with point-winning goals against Napoli, Lazio and Juventus this season.
Catania should offer Milan a considerable workout, but the winning mentality and inevitable quality of the champions should see them prevail. However, the fluidity of the Sardinians' attack combined with the absence of Nesta in defence for the hosts promises for a potentially mouthwatering game at San Siro.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed