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Serie A | Gameweek 16
Dec 17, 2023 at 11.30am UK
Stadio Giuseppe Meazza

AC Milan
3 - 0

Reijnders (3'), Simic (41'), Okafor (76')
Reijnders (34')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Carboni (55'), Gagliardini (90+2')

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

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

After a late win in England kept them in continental competition, AC Milan return to Serie A duty on Sunday, when they host regional rivals Monza at San Siro.

While beating Newcastle United was not enough to extend their Champions League journey, a morale-boosting victory secured Milan's place in the Europa League playoffs; however, they still lag behind in the Italian title race.

Match preview

Christian Pulisic celebrates scoring for AC Milan on December 13, 2023© Reuters

Wednesday's second-half fightback against Newcastle was not quite enough for Milan to secure progress to the Champions League's last 16, as Borussia Dortmund's draw with Paris Saint-Germain ultimately saw the seven-time European champions drop out of UEFA's top-tier competition.

Trailing 1-0 at the break, Stefano Pioli's side struck back thanks to goals from Christian Pulisic and Samu Chukwueze, stunning St James' Park and finishing their Group F campaign on a high - however, PSG's point means they must now settle for a place in the Europa League's knockout phase.

Upon their return to domestic duty, the Rossoneri have plenty of catching up to do over the festive period, after they were beaten by Atalanta BC last week despite twice coming back from behind through Olivier Giroud and Luka Jovic.

Conceding in the fifth minute of second-half stoppage time saw their local rivals run out 3-2 winners in Bergamo, and third-placed Milan are now nine points adrift of old foes Inter Milan in the Serie A standings, with Juventus sandwiched between.

Pioli has come under fire from a growing band of critics, with his team losing three of their last seven league matches - as many defeats as in the previous 21 - and leaking a number of late goals.

Across Europe's top five leagues, only Las Palmas and Nice have conceded a greater share of goals than Milan (61%) during the final 30 minutes of play, which will be of concern to a Scudetto-winning coach who is supposedly fighting to save his job.

Monza's Matteo Pessina in action on December 1, 2023© Reuters

Having lost both Serie A meetings with Milan during last season's top-flight debut, Monza now aim to topple their Lombardy neighbours for the first time since earning promotion.

Given recent results, Raffaele Palladino's men may fancy their chances of at least leaving San Siro with a point, as they have proven tough to beat during their second year among Italy's elite.

Following last week's win over Genoa, the Biancorossi have lost only two of their last 12 league matches, drawing half, with those defeats coming against established heavyweights Roma and Juventus.

After emerging from the bench, Dany Mota struck late on to secure Monza's third home victory of the season, moving his team much closer to the top six than the relegation zone.

Approaching Serie A's halfway stage they sit safely in mid-table, although a tough conclusion to 2023 lies ahead: after tackling Milan in the second city, Monza must host Fiorentina and then finish the calendar year against Napoli at Stadio Maradona.

AC Milan Serie A form:

AC Milan form (all competitions):

Monza Serie A form:

Team News

AC Milan's Rafael Leao celebrates scoring their first goal on November 7, 2023© Reuters

After being hurried back from injury to face Newcastle in midweek, Rafael Leao should also start Sunday's lunchtime kickoff, which will be a big boost for Milan's hopes of staying on the coat-tails of Italy's top two.

With their Portuguese winger on the field over the last two seasons, the Rossoneri have averaged two points per game in Serie A; without him, that drops to one point and their win-rate dips to 33%.

Nonetheless, Stefano Pioli is still hampered by a long injury list, with several defenders sidelined again: Malick Thiaw, Pierre Kalulu, Marco Pellegrino and Mattia Caldara are all injured, while captain Davide Calabria must serve a suspension.

The latter is likely to be replaced at right-back by Alessandro Florenzi, meaning a reshuffle in the rest of the Rossoneri's back four, with Simon Kjaer stepping in alongside Fikayo Tomori.

Starting up front, Olivier Giroud - who has scored four goals in his last four league matches, three with his head - has scored the most headed goals in Europe's top five leagues throughout 2023 (eight), alongside Bayern Munich's Harry Kane.

The veteran Frenchman will have to find a way past the goalkeeper with more saves than anyone else in Serie A this season (54) - much-admired Monza stopper Michele Di Gregorio.

An Inter primavera product, Di Gregorio will line up behind a side led by skipper Matteo Pessina and first-choice striker Lorenzo Colombo, who is on a season-long loan from Milan.

Biancorossi boss Raffaele Palladino will again be without Samuele Vignato and long-term absentee Gianluca Caprari, while Pablo Mari is struggling with a calf problem, but he should otherwise have a full squad to choose from.

AC Milan possible starting lineup:
Maignan; Florenzi, Tomori, Kjaer, Hernandez; Pobega, Reijnders; Pulisic, Loftus-Cheek, Leao; Giroud

Monza possible starting lineup:
Di Gregorio; D'Ambrosio, Caldirola, Izzo; Pereira, Gagliardini, Pessina, Ciurria; Colpani, Mota; Colombo

SM words green background

We say: AC Milan 1-1 Monza

Milan are the only team yet to draw a home match in Serie A this season, but that streak may come to an end on Sunday afternoon. A hangover from their Champions League exploits is a distinct possibility, while Monza are no pushovers and will be motivated by meeting their illustrious regional rivals.

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

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data

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Alessandro Florenzi in action for AC Milan in October 2023
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