Serie A Preview: Torino v. AC Milan

Date: Saturday, January 10, 2015

Kickoff: 2:45 PM ET (USA) / 20:45 CET (ITA)

League Position: Milan (7), Torino (14)

Stadio Olimpico, Torino, Italy

It’s going to be a long time before Milan turns the corner. We aren’t even approaching the corner. But after a string of decent results before (and one during) the winter break, it seemed like we Milanisti could at least see the corner. Then Sassuolo tied our shoelaces together (again) and we fell flat on our faces.

Is it a lack of quality or a lack of consistency? A little bit of both? Maybe a lot of both actually. But whatever it is, it remains unacceptable, and it’s difficult to tell just which Milan we will see on any given match day.

The good news? A short wait until that next match day, when our beloved Rossoneri will once again have our full attention whether they deserve it or not. Welcoming Inzaghi and company will be a Torino side with a solid defense paired with the least effective attack in Serie A. There is no excuse, once again, not to pick up the full three points on Saturday.

A goal from midfield. What a treat!

A goal from our midfield. What a treat!

Tale of the Tape

Last 6 Serie A matches:

Torino: LLDDWD

Torino have failed to defeat Milan in their past 13 meetings in all competitions. They’ve scored on us at home, at least twice in our past three visits, but we’ve matched our exceeded that total each time.

We have slight edges in the usual stats I throw at you. 52% to 48% in possession, 54% to 50% in aerial duels won, and 82% to 80% in pass success. We have scored more than twice as many goals as Torino though, 26 to 12, so let’s hope that particular advantage is stretched by the end of this round.

They actually take more shots that us, 14 to 13, but convert at a measly 5% rate. After last round we’ve dropped one point to 11% in that category.

The bad news? 5 of Torino’s 12 tallies have come from set pieces. Surely I don’t need to tell you why that’s bad news.

Torino have an anemic but balanced attack, attacking up the flanks and through the center with essentially equal frequency. Milan still prefer the wings, choosing the central route just 25% of the time. We’re still trailing in crosses though, 20 to 19, probably because we’re relying mostly on out attackers to create their own service, a tactic that has proven to be very feast or famine.

Missing Pieces

With Honda still in Australia for the Asian Cup, Milan’s only other absences are Mexes, Bonera, and Van Ginkel. It’s too early to call Suso a missing piece I guess.

Torino are missing first choice keeper Gillet and Napoli-owned midfielder Omar El Kaddouri.

Possible Line-up

Diego Lopez

Abate – Rami – Alex – De Sciglio

Poli – De Jong – Montolivo

Bonaventura – Menez – El Shaarawy

Looking pretty healthy right? For the first time in a while it seems like I can honestly say we have just about a full strength line-up here. Who knows what kind of shape Abate is in but if he can start, he should. Rami slides back into the center to pair with Alex, a partnership that worked nicely earlier this season. De Sciglio takes his spot on the left. Hopefully the rumors that Milan is looking for a left back will light a fire under the youngster’s ass.

De Jong is back, and if you still had any doubts about his importance to this squad it should have been well squashed by that performance against Sassuolo. Poli returns, buoyed by a rare goal, and Montolivo wears the armband with some more room to roam now that the Dutch linchpin has returned.

Hard to feel super confident starting the same front three, but Inzaghi’s not much of a tinkerer and his options are limited. He does not seem to rate Niang and Pazzini doesn’t really fit the gameplan he’s utilized, so we’re left to hope Jack, Jeremy, and the Pharaoh are feeling up for this one.

Where does Cerci fit in? Depends on how fit he is. My guess is he comes on as a second half sub once again.

He says he won't celebrate if he scores. I will.

He says he won’t celebrate if he scores. I will.

What to Watch for:

Danger Man – If Torino have one, it’s journeyman forward Fabio Quagliarella, who accounts for a third of their goals this season with 4 total. CB Kamil Glik has matched that total, and the tall Pole should be watched closely on set pieces, but Quagliarella is one of those players who can punish you if given the opportunity. And Milan seem to be in the habit of giving away opportunities these days. Equally as likely to poach a cheap one as he is to let fly from distance, Quags has a flair for the dramatic and the likeliest candidate to punish us this weekend.

Gridlock – Torino typically play with 3 in the back and 5 in the midfield, but these 8 men are found in their own half the majority of the time. With Milan preferring a counter-attacking style, Torino’s tactics could cause some real frustration for an offense already lacking in ideas. The Rossoneri will need to be very patient while also raising their aggression and taking the game to Torino. It will be a fine line to walk, and I won’t be surprised if the match enters the half 0-0. I am optimistic we will find a breakthrough though, probably through some individual magic again but hopefully after some good team play. As long as we are careful and don’t expose ourselves too much, this is three points for the taking. We may just have to wait 70-80 minutes to take them.

About Dave Lamb

Dave Lamb is a lifelong Milan supporter, public school teacher, and aspiring stand-up comedian living in Boston. You can follow him on twitter @DaveLambComedy

One Thought on “Serie A Preview: Torino v. AC Milan

  1. RossoneriFido on January 9, 2015 at 3:14 PM said:

    Thanks Dave.
    I had my own analysis on the loss against Sassuolo. It’s Poli, whwenever he scores for Milan it will be the first goal and afterwards Milan trail. Happened against Hellas last season and against Bologna as well. Against Hellas we lost and against Bologna we drew miraculously 3-3 after trailing 3-1. Poli is jinxed.
    Hope he doesnt score
    Forza Milan

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