Cagliari-AC Milan Preview: Red-hot Rossoneri continue surge for third
The Rossoblu may have won their appeal to play at Stadio Is Arenas after Lega Serie A had deemed it unsafe, but the task will not be made any easier against formidable opponents
By Craig Turnbull
Pisano, Rossettini, Astori, Murru
Dessena, Conti, Ekdal
Abate, Zapata, Yepes, Constant
Nocerino, Flamini, Boateng
Niang, Balotelli, El Shaarawy
Cagliari received a timely boost with the news they will be able to play at their home ground just 24 hours after it had been declared a risk to health and safety. That said, the Rossoblu have not beating the Rossoneri in nearly 15 years, so the challenge on Sunday is no less difficult.
The visitors will be looking to continue their push for third place, while Ivo Pulga's men, buoyed by their shock 4-2 win over Roma last weekend, are four points above the relegation zone and are hoping to further distance themselves from the drop.
Massimiliano Allegri will be without centre-back Daniele Bonera, who has heavy bruising on his thigh. The game may have also came too quick for Massimo Ambrosini, who remains sidelined with a thigh injury. Long-term absentee Nigel de Jong is out for the rest of the season. Riccardo Montolivo is suspended.
Cagliari, meanwhile, have full-back Danilo Avelar and midfielder Radja Nainggolan suspended. Striker Nene is doubtful.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Cagliari go into this clash four games unbeaten, previous to that, however, they had lost four straight Serie A matches.
- You have to go as far back as October 1998 for Cagliari to have beaten Milan. But they recorded back-to-back victories winning against them in June 1997, too.
- The Rossoblu have lost 11 of their last 12 encounters with the Rossoneri.
AC Milan are on a 20-game unbeaten run against the Rossoblu, including winning their last eight consecutive encounters.
- Milan were sitting in 12th place in Week 13 in Serie A. Since then, they have picked up 25 points from a possible 30 to go joint-fourth and are the form team in Italy.
- AC Milan's Kevin-Prince Boateng (pictured, right) has had 63 efforts on goal in Serie A this season, but has found the net once.
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Top 3 Predictions
Cagliari 0-2 AC Milan
- 22.22 %
Cagliari 0-3 AC Milan
- 18.73 %
Cagliari 1-3 AC Milan
- 17.34 %
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Sep 1, 2013||AC Milan 3 - Cagliari 1|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Feb 10, 2013||Cagliari 1 - AC Milan 1|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Sep 26, 2012||AC Milan 2 - Cagliari 0|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Jan 29, 2012||AC Milan 3 - Cagliari 0|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Dec 20, 2011||Cagliari 0 - AC Milan 2|
|Dec 8, 2013||Cagliari 2 - Genoa 1||ITA1|
|Dec 1, 2013||Cagliari 2 - Sassuolo 2||ITA1|
|Nov 25, 2013||Roma 0 - Cagliari 0||ITA1|
|Nov 10, 2013||Cagliari 2 - Torino 1||ITA1|
|Nov 3, 2013||Hellas Verona 2 - Cagliari 1||ITA1|
|34||Dario Del Fabro||Defender|
|2||Mattia De Sciglio||Defender|
|92||Stephan El Shaarawy||Striker|
He will need to be at the top of his game if the Rossoblu are to get anything from this match. Having received a call-up to the Italy national team in midweek to face Netherlands and the experience will have done him no harm whatsoever. However, he will have much pressing concerns ahead, such as how to deal with the attacking trident of the Rossoneri.
All the focus and media attention has been on the striker since his return to Serie A and that continues to be the case, with parking tickets and ill-advised comments dominating the headlines. He will be pleased to have the spotlight back on the football and, having scored two goals on his Milan debut, it would not be too surprising to see him grab a goal or two here.
The Rossoblu may be on a good run at the minute, but they could not have picked a worse time to play the visitors, who have been boosted by the capture of Mario Balotelli and are the form team in Serie A. Despite the game being played at Stadio Is Arenas, it is difficult to see past a Milan win.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed