Cesena - AC Milan Preview: Champions look to maintain high-scoring away record & stay one step ahead of Juventus
The Rossoneri jumped back on top of the table last weekend and are looking for another three points to maintain their position at the summit despite the Turin giants' game in hand
By Adam Scime
Comotto, Rodriguez, Rossi, Lauro
Santana, Colucci, Parolo, Pudil
Abate, Bonera, Thiago Silva, Mesbah
Ambrosini, Van Bommel, Nocerino
El Shaarawy, Maxi Lopez
Relegation contenders Cesena must start picking up points but have to deal with a few worries in defence. Coach Daniele Arrigoni will not be able to call on centre-back Steve von Bergen, who is recovering in Switzerland after a micro-fracture to his left heel and will not even return to Italy until the end of the month. Former Bologna player Vangelis Moras is not expected to be available until the clash with Fiorentina in early March.
Meanwhile, midfielder Damjan Djokovic continues to train separately due to a knee problem. However, Arrigoni will be able to count on winter loan signings Mario Santana and Vicnenzo Iaquinta, the latter had an impressive debut, scoring despite a 3-2 loss to Lazio.
After the 4-0 success over Arsenal in the Champions League, Rossoneri boss Massimiliano Allegri will be further pleased that some of his stars are recovering for the visitors.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic still has two matches of his three-game ban to serve for slapping a Napoli defender, but defensive midfielder Mark van Bommel returns from suspension after missing the 2-1 victory over Udinese. Kevin-Prince Boateng impressed in his comeback versus the Gunners but he, along with Alexandre Pato and Alessandro Nesta have not been called up for the match meaning Robinho and Maxi Lopez vie for a spot alongside Stephan El Shaarawy up front.
There is yet another casualty for Milan though, as Clarence Seedorf suffered a muscle strain and will definitely be absent from the clash at the Dino Manuzzi.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Cesena are currently tied with Novara at the bottom of the table on 16 points and have scored the fewest goals in Serie A this season (15).
- The Seahorses have beaten Milan five times in Serie A during their history and all of those victories have come on home soil.
- Adrian Mutu has scored four goals in league play against the Rossoneri during his career.
- AC Milan have won four of their last five Serie A matches away from home.
- The Rossoneri are the team with the most goals on the road this season, finding the back of the net 21 times in 12 matches.
- El Shaarawy has scored twice in Serie A during 2011-12, both goals coming in separate matches against Udinese, including the winner last weekend.
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Top 3 Predictions
Cesena 0-3 AC Milan
- 36.39 %
Cesena 0-2 AC Milan
- 20 %
Cesena 1-3 AC Milan
- 9.48 %
|Serie A (ITA1)||19 Feb 2012||Cesena 1 - AC Milan 3|
|Serie A (ITA1)||24 Sep 2011||AC Milan 1 - Cesena 0|
|Serie A (ITA1)||23 Jan 2011||AC Milan 2 - Cesena 0|
|Serie A (ITA1)||11 Sep 2010||Cesena 2 - AC Milan 0|
|18 May 2013||Cesena 1 - Pro Vercelli 1||ITA2|
|11 May 2013||Bari 2 - Cesena 1||ITA2|
|4 May 2013||Cesena 3 - Juve Stabia 1||ITA2|
|28 Apr 2013||Empoli 1 - Cesena 0||ITA2|
|20 Apr 2013||Cesena 1 - Virtus Lanciano 1||ITA2|
|Returns:||Cesena £710.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||Draw £360.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||AC Milan £15.71||Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
|7||Mario Alberto Santana||Midfielder|
|4||Sulley Ali Muntari||Midfielder|
|76||Mario Alberto Yepes||Defender|
|-||Mark van Bommel||Midfielder|
|92||Stephan El Shaarawy||Striker|
The World Cup 2006 winner's debut against Lazio showed that the striker definitely still has something to offer at Serie A level. His power in attack and ability to hold up the ball saw him combine quite well with Mutu and he will have to make a real difference up front again in order to beat the likes of Alessandro Nesta and Thiago Silva.
The former Portsmouth player's return against the Gunners showcased just what the Rossoneri were missing without him. His explosive bursts forward from midfield, which can provide a link to the attack or even result in a goal threat, make him a real asset to this team and a fundamental part of Allegri's formation.
Cesena will be more rested than their opponents due to Milan playing midweek against Arsenal, but it seems likely that the hosts, especially missing Von Bergen in defence, may not be able hold out against the Rossoneri and their attacking talent despite the absence of the suspended Ibrahimovic.
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed