Serie A Preview: AC Milan v. Juventus

Date: Saturday, April 9, 2016

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

League Position: Milan (6), Juventus (1)

Stadio Giuseppe Meazza. Milan, Italy

Alright, this should go well.

I’d like to quickly apologize to any regular readers of these preview for their irregular appearances lately. Analyzing Milan has become a slightly joyless task and it’s hard to justify putting in more effort and energy in preparation for these matches than half of the players.

But it’s always easy to get pumped up to take on the Old Lady, at least for me. Hopefully we see some signs that the men getting paid millions of dollars to do the same feel the same way

Tale of the Tape

Last 6 Serie A matches:

Milan: DWLDDL
Juventus: DWWWWW

Juve are good and we are not. Do I have to elaborate? Alright, alright.

In trends news: Juve have won 20 of 21 in Serie A, keeping shutouts in 11 of 12, and have beaten Milan in 6 of their last 7 meetings. Milan… are undefeated in 6 at home.

Goals scored and conceded have to be the simplest stats in soccer, right? Well they’ve scored 15 more than us, and conceded 17 less, for a goal differential, um, differential, of 40 to 8.

Both teams have scored 10 goals from set pieces, but we’ve conceded a clean dozen now. Juve? Just 5.

While it is nice that we’ve dropped way down the table when it comes to long balls (65 per match), Juve is even lower with 57. They also win the possession (54% to 50%) and pass success (85% to 78%) battles, so look for them to control this match. As if you needed me to tell you that.

How do I face a squad that almost beat Bayern Munich with a squad that almost beat Atalanta?

How do I face a squad that almost beat Bayern Munich with a squad that almost beat Atalanta?

Missing Pieces

Mexes and Niang miss out for Milan, with Montolivo reportedly on the mend as well. Bertolacci serves a one match suspension.

Juve have their share of absentees as well with Khedira suspended and Caceres, Chiellini, Pereyra, and possibly, hopefully Dybala all out with injuries.

Possible Line-up

Donnarumma

Abate – Alex – Romagnoli – Antonelli

Honda – Kucka – Mauri – Bonaventura

Bacca – Luiz Adriano

Really only two spots worth debating for this match if you ask me: Bacca’s strike partner and Kucka’s midfield partner, and clearly I’ve gone with Luiz Adriano and Mauri respectively. Even though most of the other sources I’ve looked at have Balotelli and Poli in those spots, and for the life of me I can’t figure out why.

Balotelli is a little less concerning, as he probably won’t last a whole match anyway and does have the potential to shift the balance. But Luiz Adriano did score last weekend, so why not reward him with another start? We’ll see what happens.

If Poli starts, on the other hand, I’m afraid we may lose Pete for good. There is just no justification for him in this line-up, when Mauri and even Locatelli are available. Poli is a known quantity, and this season no longer justifies conservatism if that’s what Sinisa is aiming for. Hell, I’d even take a less-than-100% Montolivo over Poli at this point.

A possible debut for the NEXT next Next (insert Milan legend here).

A possible debut for the NEXT next Next (insert Milan legend here).

What to Watch for:

Danger Man – Dybala’s questionable presence opens this segment up a bit, but now I’m sort of spoiled for choice aren’t I? I’ll take Mandzukic this week, not just because he’s second on the squad in scoring, but because he’s dangerous in the air. With Milan’s proclivity for leaving clear aerial threats unmarked on set pieces, methinks the Croatian may find fertile scoring ground at the San Siro on Saturday.

Midfield – Sinisa looks to be another one and done anyway, and I can hardly blame him if that’s his choice. I find it hard to blame him squarely for this season either, except in one regard, and that’s the central midfield. It’s obvious he doesn’t rate Mauri highly, I just wish I knew why not? He was a very promising signing and the continued selection of Poli and others ahead of him even with all of the injuries we’ve faced in that position is absolutely baffling. If Locatelli starts over him now then I’ll wish the young lad the best, but also continue to wonder why we signed another promising talent with no intention of playing him at all.

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

2 Thoughts on “Serie A Preview: AC Milan v. Juventus

  1. Pete Acquaviva on April 10, 2016 at 6:44 AM said:

    Did not go as well as planned.

  2. Sambit on May 17, 2016 at 2:13 PM said:

    Hey Pete and Dave,
    Now that the season is finally drawing to a close it will be nice to hear your thoughts on it, the future (if any) and the rumours. It would also be nice to hear about Ibra, ElSha, Donna and the Sino-Thai takeover rumours. Also given that we will lose on Saturday to Juve who should be the coach of these gaggle of super flops.

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