Juventus-Milan Preview: Balotelli missing for visitors
The Bianconeri know a win on Sunday would edge them closer to grabbing their second consecutive title but the visitors are also desperate to close the gap on second-placed Napoli
By Craig Turnbull
Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini
L'steiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Pogba, Asamoah
De Sciglio, Zapata, Mexes, Constant
Ambrosini, Montolivo, Muntari
Niang, Pazzini, El Shaarawy
Mario Balotelli is suspended for the visitors, despite seeing his three-match ban reduced on appeal. The Italy international picked up an automatic one-match ban against Fiorentina in the 2-2 draw at the Artemio Franchi, though this was initially increased to three games following his verbal abuse of the match officials.
Milan midfielder Mathieu Flamini turned from hero to zero after he put his side in front against Napoli only to see himself sent off for a reckless lunge on Juan Zuniga. The 29-year-old is suspended for this match, while Nigel de Jong is the only injury concern for the visitors.
Nicolas Anelka's Juventus nightmare continues with the striker having only featured in 35 minutes of action for the Serie A league leaders since joining in January and the 34-year-old will be sidelined for this clash with a calf muscle injury.
Bianconeri striker Sebastian Giovinco is also ruled out while Simone Pepe is the other absentee for the hosts. There are no suspension concerns for coach Antonio Conte.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Juventus have recorded five straight victories in Serie A.
- The Bianconeri lost the last league meeting between the sides 1-0 after Robinho converted for Milan from the penalty spot.
- Juventus last beat the Rossoneri in Serie A back in October 2011 where two late Claudio Marchisio goals (pictured, right) earned the Old Lady the three points.
- A resurgent AC Milan have turned their season around. A team that look destined to finish mid-table before Christmas have gone their last 14 games unbeaten.
- The club's top goalscorer Stephan El Shaarawy has 16 goals in Italy's top flight but has only found the net twice in his last 14 league games.
- Milan's away form in Serie A reads W6, D7, L3 and they are undefeated in their last seven fixtures away from San Siro.
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Top 3 Predictions
Juventus 1-2 AC Milan
- 21.45 %
Juventus 2-0 AC Milan
- 21.44 %
Juventus 2-1 AC Milan
- 9.98 %
|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 6, 2013||Bologna 0 - Juventus 2||ITA1|
|Dec 1, 2013||Juventus 1 - Udinese 0||ITA1|
|Nov 27, 2013||Juventus 3 - FC Copenhagen 1||UCL|
|Nov 24, 2013||Livorno 0 - Juventus 2||ITA1|
|Nov 10, 2013||Juventus 3 - SSC Napoli 0||ITA1|
|11||Paolo De Ceglie||Defender|
|92||Stephan El Shaarawy||Striker|
|2||Mattia De Sciglio||Defender|
Relished his role in behind Mirko Vucinic against Lazio on Monday as Conte tried a 3-5-1-1 formation. Linked up with great effect with the Montenegrin and made life difficult for the Biancocelesti. Difficult to pin down in the free role he had and Milan will have to pay particularly close attention to his runs into the box.
|Stephan El Shaarawy|
The 20-year-old's game has no doubt been affected by the arrival of Mario Balotelli to the squad. His chronic lack of form has coincided with the emergence of the Italy international but he has the opportunity to showcase his burgeoning talent with the former Manchester City man suspended, and it would not be surprising if he took his chance.
There may be a 15-point gap between the teams before kick-off but it would be foolish to think this will be anything other than a tightly-contested encounter between two giants of Italian football. It has the makings of an enthralling clash with two teams in fine form. Milan may suffer from Balotelli's absence, while the midfield battle could be key to the outcome of this match but Juve are a difficult side to break down and may just have the edge in this one.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed