MX23RW : Saturday, July 24 02:25:14| >> :120:54326:54326:
Jan 6, 2021 at 7.45pm UK at San Siro
AC MilanAC Milan
1-3
JuventusJuventus
Calabria (41')
Romagnoli (90')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Chiesa (18', 62'), McKennie (76')
Bentancur (60'), Danilo (72')

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

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

Fittingly, old rivals AC Milan and Scudetto-holders Juventus meet on the Epiphany this Wednesday, traditionally a day of revelation and celebration that carries great significance in Italy.

On one of the most important nights in the cultural calendar, the defending champions visit San Siro desperately in need of a win to haul back their Milanese counterparts, who still top the Serie A standings.


Match preview

AC Milan's Franck Kessie celebrates scoring against Benevento in Serie A on January 3, 2020© Reuters

After another win on Sunday, league leaders Milan remain top of the pile - just ahead of relentless city rivals Inter Milan - with an impressive 37 points already accrued. In midweek, their prestigious visitors arrive in the unfamiliar position of fifth, some ten points behind - but with a game in hand.

Unfortunately though, both sides have been struck by a series of injuries and illnesses this week, which could well have a major bearing on the outcome on Wednesday night.

It was a strong-willed performance by the injury-hit Rossoneri to take all three points against overachievers Benevento at the weekend, as midfielder Sandro Tonali was sent off in the first half, with Milan already a goal to the good through Franck Kessie's penalty.

A 2-0 win, sealed by Rafael Leao - still deputising for the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic - proved not only the mental mettle of Stefano Pioli's side but also their ability to absorb pressure against the odds.

They are unlikely to face 25 shots on Gianluigi Donnarumma's goal again this time out, even against far superior opposition, but are equally unlikely to take a totally gung-ho approach to their encounter with the Old Lady of Turin.

Although their scintillating attacking stats draw most attention, Milan also have the third-best defensive record in Serie A this term.

Even since the absence of 'King Zlatan', the Rossoneri have also maintained their remarkable run of scoring at least two goals in their past 35 league games, while avoiding defeat in the league since last March.

Losing that precious record against Juventus is almost unthinkable for their success-starved tifosi, who would love nothing more than holding off Inter and denying the Bianconeri a tenth successive title in May.

Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo pictured on January 3, 2021© Reuters

Now clearly ahead in the Capocannoniere charts on 14 goals, Juventus talisman Cristiano Ronaldo netted another pair of goals in Sunday's comfortable 4-1 victory over Udinese - a win which they will hope to use as a warm-up for their biggest test of the season so far.

Their over-reliance on one man to carry the attack though - as Juve have only the sixth-best goalscoring record in Serie A this season and Ronaldo has scored nearly half of them - has undermined any sustained attempt at catching up with the leaders.

Therefore, the chief reason for the Bianconeri's current double-digit points deficit to Milan is clearly apparent. Juventus have recorded six draws in Serie A this season after 14 games played, with many of those failures to seal maximum points coming in the absence of their Portuguese superstar.

In fact, the last time that Juve drew so many of their games at this point was back in 2001-02, when they did actually go on to lift the title under the guidance of club legend Marcelo Lippi.

It will take a comeback of seismic proportions to achieve a similar feat this time around though, as both Milan clubs look to go from strength to strength.

If the impossible dream is going to occur in Andrea Pirlo's first season in charge, Juventus must not only resist the Rossoneri's super-efficient attack on Wednesday, but also break a notable current run of failure against the league's bigger boys such as Roma, Lazio and Atalanta.

In short, all three points at San Siro are essential - even at this relatively early stage of the season - so underperforming stars such as Paulo Dybala and Aaron Ramsey are required to step up their game against a fresh-faced and motivated Milan outfit.

AC Milan Serie A form: WDDWWW
AC Milan form (all competitions): WDDWWW

Juventus Serie A form: WWDWLD
Juventus form (all competitions): WWDWLD


Team News

AC Milan manager Stefano Pioli pictured on January 3, 2021© Reuters

Due to extraordinary circumstances, both clubs will be without integral players for Wednesday's clash but Milan coach Stefano Pioli will be worst-hit, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ismael Bennacer, Matteo Gabbia and Alexis Saelemaekers trained separately from the main squad on Monday are not yet ready to be involved.

After his dismissal against Benevento, Bennacer's stand-in Sandro Tonali will serve a one-match ban and alternative Rade Krunic tested positive for COVID-19 - as did Croatian forward Ante Rebic.

Therefore, defender Davide Calabria will be required to join Franck Kessie in the Rossoneri engine room; Diogo Dalot coming into the back four.

Meanwhile, Juventus have second-top scorer Alvaro Morata (muscle injury) plus full-backs Juan Cuadrado and Alex Sandro (both COVID-19) out of action, so Danilo will start in defence and Paulo Dybala continues up front.

Fortunately for Andrea Pirlo though, Adrien Rabiot returns from suspension and could start against Milan, with the Frenchman in contention with Weston McKennie for a slot in midfield.

AC Milan possible starting lineup:
Donnarumma; Dalot, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Calabria, Kessie; Castillejo, Calhanoglu, Hauge; Leao

Juventus possible starting lineup:
Szczesny; Danilo, Bonucci, de Ligt, Frabotta; Rabiot, Bentancur, Ramsey, Chiesa; Dybala, Ronaldo


SM words green background

We say: AC Milan 1-1 Juventus

The tantalising prospect of this encounter has kept Juventus hopes alive over the break, as they chase a historical 10th league win on the spin from behind the pack.

However, bringing Milan's seemingly endless unbeaten run to a conclusion on Wednesday will prove devilishly difficult, as Pioli's much depleted side are made of sterner stuff.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away 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/Away:curl


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AC Milan's Franck Kessie celebrates scoring against Benevento in Serie A on January 3, 2020
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Saturday's key events


ROWING
· Two-time Olympic gold medallist and comeback queen Helen Glover teams up with Polly Swan in the heats of the women's pair (12.30am-4.30am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Two-time Rio gold medallist Max Whitlock leads Team GB's charge in the men's qualification, while Rhys McClenaghan flies the flag for Ireland (2am-2pm)

SHOOTING
· The first gold medal of the Games will be awarded in the Air Rifle women's final (from 2.45am)

CYCLING
· The men's road race should be a wide-open thriller, with Team GB among those going for gold (3am-10am)

TENNIS
· Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka are among the names in action on the opening day of tennis (from 3am)

SWIMMING
· Adam Peaty and many others get their Olympics campaigns underway on the opening day of swimming (11am-12.50pm)

FOOTBALL
· Team GB's women try to make it two wins from two against hosts Japan (11.30am)
· Netherlands and Brazil, who scored 15 goals between them on matchday one, face off (12pm)
· World champions USA look to bounce back from a shock opening defeat against New Zealand (12.30pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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8Inter Milan00000000
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18Torino00000000
19Udinese00000000
20VeneziaVenezia00000000

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