AC Milan-Udinese Preview: Balotelli arrival sparks Rossoneri optimism
Massimiliano Allegri's side at last appear to have put their early season struggles behind them and head into the game on a run of three wins from their last four outings
By Alec Fenn
Abate, Bonera, Zapata, ConstantFlamini, Montolivo, Boateng
Niang, Pazzini, El Shaarawy
Benatia, Danilo, Domizzi, Pasquale
Basta, Pinzi, Allan, Lazzari
Regardless of the result on Sunday, in years to come the last seven days will always be remembered for the signing of Mario Balotelli.
The arrival of the former Inter man was a timely and symbolic reminder that AC Milan still have the ambition and allure to attract players of the highest quality to San Siro, at a time when many supporters feared quite the opposite.
Balotelli is likely to start on the bench for the Rossoneri, which means Giampaolo Pazzini will be handed the opportunity to continue his run of three goals in his last three Serie A appearances.
Udinese welcome back Mehdi Benatia from AFCON duty, with the defender set to go straight into the starting XI, while Luis Muriel should partner Antonio Di Natale upfront.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- AC Milan have won six of their last seven league games at San Siro.
- The Rossoneri splashed out a reported €22 million on Mario Balotelli (right) on Tuesday as they bid to continue their rise up the Serie A table.
- Massimiliano Allegri's side go into the game sat in fifth spot in the league table and only three points adrift of arch-rivals Inter.
Udinese finished third last season but have been inconsistent this term and sit in ninth place ahead of Sunday's trip to San Siro.
- Antonio Di Natale now has 14 goals for the campaign at the grand age of 35-years-old.
- The Zebrette were 2-1 winners in the first meeting between the two sides back in September.
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Top 3 Predictions
AC Milan 2-0 Udinese
- 24.35 %
AC Milan 3-1 Udinese
- 15.64 %
AC Milan 2-1 Udinese
- 14.19 %
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Mar 8, 2014||Udinese 1 - AC Milan 0|
|Italy - Coppa Italia (ITAC)||Jan 22, 2014||AC Milan 1 - Udinese 2|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Oct 19, 2013||AC Milan 1 - Udinese 0|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Feb 3, 2013||AC Milan 2 - Udinese 1|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Sep 23, 2012||Udinese 2 - AC Milan 1|
|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|
|92||Stephan El Shaarawy||Striker|
|10||Antonio Di Natale||Striker|
Whether he starts on the bench as expected or slots straight into the starting XI, the controversial striker will be sure to grab all the headlines. His impact in attack could well be just the boost the club needs to push them back amongst Serie A's Champions League-chasing pack.
The 21-year-old has four goals in his last five games and has helped take some of the weighty goalscoring burden off the shoulders of Antonio Di Natale. The Colombia striker was handed a five-year-deal back in September, such is the high regard in which he is held at Stadio Friuli.
Buoyed by the signing of Mario Balotelli and riding high on the back of six wins in their last seven home games, AC Milan should have enough to run out winners at San Siro on Sunday.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed