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Serie A | Gameweek 25
Feb 18, 2024 at 7.45pm UK
U-Power Stadium
Milan logo

4 - 2
AC Milan

Pessina (45' pen.), Mota (45+6'), Bondo (90'), Colombo (90+5')
Djuric (33'), Pessina (45+8'), Palladino (50'), Mota (76'), Bondo (76')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Giroud (64'), Pulisic (88')
Gabbia (83')
Jovic (52')

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

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

Following five wins from six in all competitions, AC Milan will aim to keep the pressure on Serie A's top two as they visit nearby Monza on Sunday.

Yet to pick up a point against their illustrious neighbours since reaching Italy's top flight, the hosts sit safely in mid-table; meanwhile, Milan are well clear in third.

Match preview

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

Continuing their impressive form since the turn of the year, Milan swept past Europa League playoff opponents Rennes last time out, as Rafael Leao followed two headers from Ruben Loftus-Cheek to all but book his side's place in the last 16.

That followed a fourth win from five league games, when the Rossoneri saw off struggling Scudetto holders Napoli at San Siro last weekend, with a decisive Theo Hernandez strike moving the French full-back to within three of Paolo Maldini in the club's all-time list for goalscoring defenders.

Milan's recent run has taken them to within two points of second-placed Juventus - with one game in hand - though city rivals Inter Milan are still some distance ahead, and any hopes of the stealing the Scudetto remain faint.

As his team have now scored 23 times in nine matches this year, coach Stefano Pioli has certainly silenced some critics, after a period where speculation persisted about his position.

Netting three goals in each of their last three away fixtures - versus Empoli, Udinese and Frosinone - has helped Milan earn the most points in Serie A since concluding their involvement in the Champions League's 'Group of Death' in mid-December.

Such a superb streak began at home to Monza, with the Rossoneri's 3-0 victory being their third from three top-flight contests against Sunday's opponents.

Monza's Dany Mota celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on May 14, 2023© Reuters

Milan - along with another regional rival, Atalanta BC - are the two teams Monza have yet to take a single point from since finally arriving in Serie A two years ago.

Raffaele Palladino's men are also the only side that have not yet managed to beat any opponent occupying a place inside the top half of the standings this season, with a dismal tally of just four points from 11 such matches.

Nonetheless, the Lombardy club are proving tough to beat at the moment, having kept a clean sheet in all of their last three games: after a 1-0 win over Sassuolo last month, they recorded consecutive goalless draws with Udinese and Hellas Verona.

While finding the net remains a problem, no team outside Serie A's top 10 have conceded as few goals as Monza this season - in fact, high-flying Milan have shipped only one fewer.

Such solidity has kept the Biancorossi well clear of a relegation fight, though they hold merely the slimmest chance of making their European debut next season, facing an eight-point deficit to sixth place.

Monza Serie A form:

AC Milan Serie A form:

AC Milan form (all competitions):

Team News

AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli reacts on December 2, 2023© Reuters

Given their momentum, Milan are unlikely to make too many changes this weekend - particularly with a three-goal advantage heading into next week's Europa League playoff second leg in Rennes.

Captain Davide Calabria was withdrawn from the recent win over Napoli due to an adductor injury, joining fellow defenders Pierre Kalulu and Fikayo Tomori on the sidelines, but Malick Thiaw made an appearance from the bench on Thursday and could now be handed his first start for more than two months.

Samu Chukwueze is also back in the fold following several weeks away on Nigeria duty, and Tijjani Reijnders will be available after serving a domestic suspension last week.

With 11 goals and eight assists so far this season, Olivier Giroud could become the first man for a decade to be involved in 20 Serie A strikes after turning 36 years old; however, Luka Jovic has proved an able deputy of late and may step in should Stefano Pioli decide to rotate.

Monza, meanwhile, will again be without Samuele Vignato and long-term absentee Gianluca Caprari, while Patrick Ciurria will also miss Milan's visit.

Currently on loan from the Rossoneri, Lorenzo Colombo has not scored since November, so Milan Djuric may instead lead the line up front. Either will be supported by seven-goal top scorer Andrea Colpani: no midfielder has scored more times at home across Europe's top five leagues this season.

Monza possible starting lineup:
Di Gregorio; Izzo, Mari, Caldirola; Birindelli, Gagliardini, Pessina, Zerbin; Mota, Colpani; Colombo

AC Milan possible starting lineup:
Maignan; Florenzi, Gabbia, Thiaw, Hernandez; Adli, Reijnders; Okafor, Loftus-Cheek, Leao; Jovic

SM words green background

We say: Monza 0-1 AC Milan

While Milan are free-scoring, Monza have found the net just twice in four matches. Though Thursday's efforts will have sapped some of the Rossoneri's energy, they should still have enough gas in the tank to race past their Lombardy rivals.

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

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Tables header RHS
CInter Milan37296287206793
2AC Milan37228773462774
5Atalanta BCAtalanta362061067392866
13Hellas VeronaHellas Verona37910183649-1337

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