AC Milan - Juventus Preview: Top two in Serie A face off in Scudetto showdown
The visitors have the chance to leapfrog the Rossoneri to the top of the standings as they are just one point behind their opponents, despite having played one game less
By Adam Scime
Abate, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Mesbah
Nocerino, Van Bommel, Muntari
Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini
Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Pepe
AC Milan have looked in fine form going into this match but the biggest blow for coach Massimiliano Allegri will be that their appeal to have Zlatan Ibrahimovic's suspension reduced was turned down, meaning they will be without their star striker for one more Serie A match.
The Sweden international's absence should be covered by Alexandre Pato, who is likely to be given the nod ahead of Maxi Lopez or Stephan El Shaarawy to form a Brazilian partnership with Robinho up front. Kevin-Prince Boateng and Clarence Seedorf are still sidelined with thigh and hamstring knocks respectively, so Urby Emanuelson is likely to retain his place 'in the hole' behind the two strikers. Ex-Bianconero Alberto Aquilani will not be able to face his former team due to injury.
One player who could return is Alessandro Nesta, the veteran resumed training this week and may feature at centre-back, but Philippe Mexes should also be available if the Italian is not declared match fit.
On the other side of the pitch, Juventus coach Antonio Conte has relatively few selection issues. Young midfielder Luca Marrone is not available, but Simone Pepe seems to have recovered and is set to feature on the left side of a five-man midfield with Andrea Pirlo, who will be taking on his old team-mates, once again pulling the strings in the very centre of the pitch.
Up front, Fabio Quagliarella, who scored during the 3-1 win over Catania last weekend, looks favoured to join Mirko Vucinic in attack with top-scorer Alessandro Matri having to settle for a place on the bench.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- AC Milan have the most prolific attack in Serie A this season, having scored 48 goals, while Juventus have the best defence, conceding only 14.
- Since their 2-1 first-leg Coppa Italia loss to Juventus, Milan have won three games in a row against Udinese, Arsenal and Cesena.
- Milan have let in just five goals at home this season in Serie A and lost just once in front of their own fans (a 1-0 defeat to Inter).
- Juventus are the only remaining unbeaten side in Serie A during the 2011-12 campaign (W13 D10 L0).
- The Bianconeri have only scored 12 times in 11 away matches this season, with a record of five wins and six draws on the road in the league.
- Juventus have won on their past two trips to San Siro to face Allegri's side in official matches.
|Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Sign up with bet365 for a free bet up to £200|
|Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
Top 3 Predictions
AC Milan 1-2 Juventus
- 18.68 %
AC Milan 2-0 Juventus
- 13.23 %
AC Milan 0-2 Juventus
- 10.91 %
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Mar 2, 2014||AC Milan 0 - Juventus 2|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Oct 6, 2013||Juventus 3 - AC Milan 2|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Apr 21, 2013||Juventus 1 - AC Milan 0|
|Italy - Coppa Italia (ITAC)||Jan 9, 2013||Juventus 2 - AC Milan 1|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Nov 25, 2012||AC Milan 1 - Juventus 0|
|Mar 8, 2014||Udinese 1 - AC Milan 0||ITA1|
|Mar 2, 2014||AC Milan 0 - Juventus 2||ITA1|
|Feb 23, 2014||Sampdoria 0 - AC Milan 2||ITA1|
|Feb 19, 2014||AC Milan 0 - Atletico Madrid 1||UCL|
|Feb 14, 2014||AC Milan 1 - Bologna 0||ITA1|
|17||Mark van Bommel||Midfielder|
|92||Stephan El Shaarawy||Striker|
|-||Alessandro Del Piero||Striker|
Slotting into an attacking midfield role against Cesena, the Dutchman looked right at home dribbling past opposing defenders and taking powerful shots from distance - Milan need a repeat performance from him as with Boateng, Ibrahimovic, Seedorf and Antonio Cassano missing in action their creative resources are somewhat depleted.
The deep-lying playmaker grabbed his first goal in a Juventus strip and arguably had his best game yet for his new team in what has been a stellar season thus far for the Italy international. Going up against the team he spent a decade with, he will no doubt be eager to show them he still is capable of deciding big matches like this one.
Despite Juve's recent success at San Siro in the Coppa Italia, Allegri's side have looked reborn since that setback and seem to be the more hungry side at the moment, even overtaking their opponents in the standings recently. Without Ibrahimovic, someone will have to step up in attack, and if that happens then the Rossoneri should be able to edge what promises to be a very close contest.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed