Coppa Italia Preview: AC Milan - Juventus
After the two Scudetto rivals both came off 0-0 draws in league play this past weekend they are looking for a good result in their first-leg encounter at San Siro
By Adam Scime
Abate, Bonera, Thiago Silva, Mesbah
Ambrosini, Van Bommel, Nocerino
El Shaarawy, Ibrahimovic
Lichtsteiner, Bonucci, Chiellini, De Ceglie
Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio
Giaccherini, Borriello, Vucinic
Going into the domestic cup tie, injuries continue to be a headache for Rossoneri boss Massimiliano Allegri, who will still be without the likes of Antonio Cassano, Alexandre Pato, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Alberto Aquilani, Mathieu Flamini, Alexander Merkel and Gennaro Gattuso among others.
Veteran stopper Alessandro Nesta is also out due to a muscle strain, meaning either Daniele Bonera or Philippe Mexes will partner Thiago Silva at centre-back. Zlatan Ibrahimovic picked up a three-match league ban for slapping Napoli's Salvatore Aronica, but is available for this match and could indeed start against his former team before his enforced rest. New signing Maxi Lopez is also an option.
On the other side of the pitch, the Bianconeri do not have nearly as many selection concerns, with just winger Simone Pepe likely to skip the high-profile clash through injury. Nonetheless, coach Antonio Conte is expected to provide some turnover in his starting XI.
Marco Storari will replace Gianliugi Buffon in goal and winter signing Marco Borriello should give Alessandro Matri a rest in the central striker role. Leonardo Bonucci should also start in defence. Mirko Vucinic, Alessandro Del Piero and Fabio Quagliarella are all hoping to be the one selected alongside the former Roma player and Emanuele Giaccherini in attack.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- AC Milan were defeated in the semi-finals of last season's Coppa Italia, losing over two legs to Palermo by an aggregate score of 4-3.
- This match has not ended in a draw in an official fixture since May 2009, when the two sides fought to a 1-1 stalemate.
- The Rossoneri have the best attack in Serie A so far this season (scoring 43 goals) while Juventus have the best defence (conceding 13).
- Juventus still boast an unbeaten record in all competitions this term, already overcoming Bologna and Roma in the Coppa Italia.
- Claudio Marchisio was the hero the last time these two sides met in a competitive game, scoring two late goals in the Bianconeri's 2-0 win during league play in October 2011.
- Andrea Pirlo made 377 appearances for the Rossoneri over a 10-year spell before moving to Turin on a free transfer last summer.
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Top 3 Predictions
AC Milan 1-2 Juventus
- 19.09 %
AC Milan 2-0 Juventus
- 14.53 %
AC Milan 0-2 Juventus
- 12.54 %
|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|
|Italy - Coppa Italia (ITAC)||Mar 20, 2012||Juventus 2 - AC Milan 2|
|Dec 11, 2013||AC Milan 0 - Ajax 0||UCL|
|Dec 7, 2013||Livorno 2 - AC Milan 2||ITA1|
|Dec 1, 2013||Catania 1 - AC Milan 3||ITA1|
|Nov 26, 2013||Celtic 0 - AC Milan 3||UCL|
|Nov 23, 2013||AC Milan 1 - Genoa 1||ITA1|
|17||Mark van Bommel||Midfielder|
|92||Stephan El Shaarawy||Striker|
|-||Alessandro Del Piero||Striker|
|Stephan El Shaarawy|
The Italy Under-21 international showed plenty of effective touches with a goal and assist against Novara and Lazio respectively in the Coppa Italia thus far and this match will give the ex-Padova man another opportunity to prove to Allegri he can be a regular contributor for his side, even in Serie A and the Champions League.
The 2006 World Cup winner was deemed surplus to requirements at San Siro last season, although he has been an undoubted central figure in Juventus' revival in 2011-12 and arguably the best signing in Serie A this season. This cup contest will give the player the chance to show Milan first-hand that they should not have cast him aside so easily.
Conte's men should fancy their chances of taking a result away from home due to the hosts' numerous absenteees. If the Bianconeri can keep it at the back, they should be able to come away with a draw or better before the return leg in late March.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed