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Serie A

  • September 21, 2011
  • • 19:45
  • • Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
  • Referee: L. Banti
  • • Attendance: 40000
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Serie A Preview: AC Milan v Udinese

The Serie A champions will be chomping at the bit to kick-start their season with three valuable points, while the visitors strive to maintain their winning start to the campaign


PROBABLE LINE-UPS
AC Milan (4-3-1-2): Abbiati; Abate, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Antonini; Nocerino, van Bommel, Seedorf; Aquilani; Pato, Cassano


Coach Massimiliano Allegri continues to be faced with a mounting injury list, which sees the young tactician still without the services of Mathieu Flamini, Massimo Ambrosini, Gennaro Gattuso, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Robinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. However, Daniele Bonera is expected to be dropped in favour of Luca Antonini at left-back, despite Taye Taiwo being in contention once again. Filippo Inzaghi could also feature at some point during proceedings on Wednesday.

Udinese (3-5-1-1): Handanovic; Benatia, Danilo, Domizzi; Basta, Agyemang-Badu, Pinzi, Isla, Armero; Torje; Di Natale



The Zebrette are likely to be without Ghanaian midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah, who picked up a knock during their impressive 2-0 win over Fiorentina at the weekend, so Mauricio Isla will move to the middle, with Dusan Basta taking up the reins on the right-hand side of midfield. In addition to their injury woes, Damiano Ferronetti, Giovanni Pasquale and Antonio Floro Flores still have a further week until their respective comebacks.


DID YOU KNOW?
  • Milan have won just one of their past five meetings with Udinese in Serie A.
  • The 3-1 loss to Napoli last week was only Milan's second during the calendar year in the league.
  • Only once in the past 13 seasons had the Diavolo previously failed to win any of their first two games.
  • However, Milan remain unbeaten at home in Serie A throughout 2011, winning seven times and drawing four.
  • Currently, Milan have the joint-worst defensive record in domestic matters, having conceded five.
  • This is in stark contrast to Udinese, who have kept clean sheets in their first two games.
  • The Zebrette are unbeaten in the last five league matches, including a 100 per cent record so far this season.
  • The last time Udinese won their first two games of the season was in 2005-06, with wins against Empoli and Roma.
  • Udinese have failed to win in their past four clashes against Milan in all competitions.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
32Christian AbbiatiGoalkeeper
19Gianluca Zambrotta Defender
4Thiago SilvaDefender
13Alessandro NestaDefender
20Ignazio AbateDefender
10C. SeedorfManager/Coach
17Mark van BommelMidfielder
-Antonio NocerinoMidfielder
10Alberto AquilaniMidfielder
9Alexandre PatoStriker
99Antonio CassanoStriker
14Marco AmeliaGoalkeeper
3Taye TaiwoDefender
33Mario YepesDefender
-Mattia ValotiMidfielder
92Stephan El ShaarawyStriker
-Filippo InzaghiStriker
8Urby EmanuelsonMidfielder
1Samir HandanoviçGoalkeeper
-Dušan BastaDefender
11Maurizio DomizziDefender
5DaniloDefender
4Mehdi BenatiaDefender
27Pablo ArmeroDefender
22Kwadwo AsamoahMidfielder
-Gabriel TorjeMidfielder
7BaduMidfielder
33Mauricio IslaDefender
10Antonio Di NataleStriker
30Daniele PadelliGoalkeeper
26L. EkstrandDefender
-Thierry DoubaiMidfielder
66Giampiero PinziMidfielder
-Almen AbdiMidfielder
-Diego FabbriniStriker
-NeutonDefender
Players to Watch
Alberto Aquilani
Alberto Aquilani
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 10
Games Goals YC RC
1 0 1 0
The ex-Liverpool man will be deployed as a trequarista for this match, and the pressure is on for him to flourish in the role. Milan currently lack invention and creativity, as Clarence Seedorf cannot be solely relied on for inspiration anymore, so he must step up against Udinese and prove his worth in a Rossoneri jersey, while staking a worthwhile claim to take the reins behind the strikers in the future. However, his inconsistency may see his struggle to break down the strong Udinese rearguard.
Gabriel Torje
Gabriel Torje
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 0
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
It has been a whirlwind past few weeks for the Romanian playmaker, who has had to quickly adapt and settle into Italian football, but he has made a hugely promising start to his career in Udine. Torje looked to have forged a natural understanding with Antonio Di Natale in their 2-0 win over Fiorentina on Sunday, and he will be aiming to provide more spark and imagination in his second striker role against a so-called bigger side, much like his predecessor Alexis Sanchez.
Prediction
Udinese won't have a better chance of beating the Serie A champions for the forseeable future, so what better time to do it than three games into the new season. Milan's lack of mobility and movement in the middle of the park could be heavily exposed by the tenacious Badu, Isla and Asamoah. Also, Torje and Di Natale are beginning to strike up a deadly partnership for the Zebrette, in stark contrast to Milan, who are suffering from a lack of first-choice attackers in Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Kevin-Prince Boateng, so it should make for a fascinating encounter, but in the favour of Francesco Guidolin's side.
Editor's Prediction
Milan 1

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