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Milan logo
Serie A | Gameweek 31
Apr 6, 2024 at 2pm UK
Stadio Giuseppe Meazza
Lecce logo

AC Milan
3 - 0

Pulisic (6'), Giroud (20'), Leao (57')
Chukwueze (78')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Blin (34')
Krstovic (45')

Preview: AC Milan vs. Lecce - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Serie A clash between AC Milan and Lecce, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Aiming to tighten their grip on second place in Serie A, AC Milan welcome lowly Lecce to San Siro on Saturday afternoon.

While the Salentini are still scrapping for survival, Milan have won six games on the spin and could claim seven straight wins for the first time since 2006.

Match preview

AC Milan's Ruben Loftus-Cheek celebrates scoring their third goal with teammates on September 27, 2023© Reuters

Having entered last month's international break approaching peak form, Milan seamlessly resumed normal service on their return to action, with a gritty 2-1 success at Stadio Franchi.

All three goals came in a flurry just after half time, as Ruben Loftus-Cheek scored the opener and Rafael Leao then responded in typical style once Fiorentina had quickly levelled matters - and that was ultimately enough to secure maximum points.

Across all competitions, Leao has been directly involved in more goals than any other Serie A player in 2024 - scoring seven times and laying on six assists - while no fewer than four members of Stefano Pioli's squad have now reached double figures for the season: Olivier Giroud (14) and Christian Pulisic (12) join Leao (11) and Loftus-Cheek (10).

It is the first time so many men have scored 10 times or more for Milan since 2009, and there can be few doubts that they possess sufficient firepower to secure second spot ahead of Juventus, though the Scudetto seems bound for city rivals Inter Milan, who are some 14 points clear.

Pioli's men - who will host Roma in next week's Europa League quarter-finals - have proved particularly tough to beat at San Siro this season, with a record of 10 wins and just two losses from 14 Serie A contests, and they are on a nine-match streak without a home defeat ahead of Saturday's assignment.

Though they were held to a draw in November's reverse fixture, Milan have won nine of their last 10 league games against Lecce in Italy's second city - scoring 29 goals and conceding just six - so precedent is certainly on their side this weekend.

Spezia coach Luca Gotti on November 5, 2022© Reuters

While only Inter have netted more goals from open play than Milan in Serie A thus far, no team has recorded fewer than Lecce, for whom Nikola Krstovic and Roberto Piccoli are the top scorers this term, finding the target five and four times respectively.

However, some new-found defensive solidity could hold the key to top-flight survival for the Salentini, as after holding rejuvenated Roma goalless on Monday evening, they have kept clean sheets in both of their last last two matches.

Having finally claimed a first away victory of the season by beating rock-bottom Salernitana just before international football intervened, the Puglian club stood firm against their visitors from the capital, with both teams spurning good chances to snatch all three points at Via del Mare.

Nonetheless, Lecce could record three Serie A shut-outs in a row for the first time since 2004 by frustrating Milan, which would also aid their overall aim of beating the drop.

Despite sitting 13th in the standings, Luca Gotti's are still far from safe, as only four points separate them from the relegation zone amid a congested bottom eight.

AC Milan Serie A form:

AC Milan form (all competitions):

Lecce Serie A form:

Team News

AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli reacts on March 17, 2024© Reuters

Stefano Pioli will again have to rotate his squad this weekend, as Ruben Loftus-Cheek picked up a yellow card in last week's win over Fiorentina, triggering a one-match ban for the in-form Englishman.

Milan average 2.2 points per game with Loftus-Cheek available, a rate which drops to 1.5 without him, but influential full-back Theo Hernandez now returns from suspension and will replace Alessandro Florenzi on the left flank.

Though Pierre Kalulu and Malick Thiaw are sidelined by injury, veteran defender Simon Kjaer should be passed fit; Fikayo Tomori and Matteo Gabbia are set to be partnered at the back.

Supporting Olivier Giroud up front, Rafael Leao has scored four league goals against Lecce to date, including a brace at San Siro this time last year.

Meanwhile, the visitors are missing long-term absentees Kastriot Dermaku and Mohamed Kaba, but Luca Gotti otherwise has a full squad at his disposal.

Nikola Krstovic and Roberto Piccoli were paired together in attack last time out; however, it is likely that one will make way at San Siro, with Lameck Banda, Remi Oudin and Nicola Sansone all pushing for selection instead.

The latter has scored six league goals versus Milan - most recently in November - and only Enrico Chiesa (five) has ever netted for more different clubs against the Rossoneri in Serie A's long history.

AC Milan possible starting lineup:
Maignan; Calabria, Tomori, Gabbia, Hernandez; Adli, Reijnders; Chukwueze, Pulisic, Leao; Giroud

Lecce possible starting lineup:
Falcone; Gendrey, Pongracic, Baschirotto, Gallo; Almqvist, Ramadani, Blin, Dorgu; Banda, Krstovic

SM words green background

We say: AC Milan 2-0 Lecce

Milan have lost just one of their last 24 matches against Lecce in Serie A - and not at all for nearly two decades - while the Salentini are one of the weakest away sides in Italy's top flight. Even with an eye on their big continental contest next week, the hosts should be able to take care of business without too much fuss.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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