MX23RW : Wednesday, April 21 22:36:32| >> :120:10258:10258:
Apr 10, 2021 at 5pm UK at Stadio Ennio Tardini
ParmaParma
1-3
AC MilanAC Milan
Gagliolo (66')
Bani (10'), Pezzella (37'), Gagliolo (38'), Kucka (64')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Rebic (8'), Kessie (44'), Leao (90+4')
Calhanoglu (24'), Hernandez (78'), Kessie (81'), Meite (90')
Ibrahimovic (60')

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

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

Stumbling AC Milan aim to get their bid for a Champions League return back on track this Saturday, as they meet relegation-threatened Parma at Stadio Ennio Tardini.

With the second-placed Rossoneri now 11 points adrift of table-topping rivals Inter, their thoughts have turned to keeping the closing pack at bay, while their Emilian hosts are in deep trouble near the bottom of the standings with games running out.


Match preview

AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates scoring against Crotone in Serie A on February 7, 2021© Reuters

With the news emerging this week of star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic's expected one-year contract extension being a rare positive story in recent months, Milan approach this weekend's assignment in Parma with their top-four place now in serious jeopardy.

Despite suffering injuries and illness, the 39-year-old remains the club's leading goalscorer this season with 15 league goals and will need to utilise all of his experience and know-how to help his younger teammates to recover from their failing form of late.

Milan have not only slipped out of the Europa League at the last-16 stage, they have also won just two of their last five Serie A matches to find themselves only a single point ahead of third-placed Juventus and - more worryingly - only four above Napoli in fifth.

With a scarcely-deserved 1-1 draw with mid-table Sampdoria last weekend, the Rossoneri continued some particularly sluggish home form, as young Norway international Jens Petter Hauge salvaged a point with a late goal and perhaps proved a point to his coach Stefano Pioli, who has offered the talented winger very little playing time since the turn of the year.

Having posted 12 wins, one draw, and just a solitary loss away from San Siro this term, Pioli's side do, however, boast a fine away record in Serie A. In fact, Milan currently find themselves on a three-match winning streak on the road and the last time they failed to win away in the league was a shock defeat at modest Spezia in mid-February.

Given pre-season expectations and the relentless schedule placed in front of a squad that began their European obligations in the early qualifying rounds last summer, earning a Champions League place after eight long years would ultimately be considered a success.

Even if they have experienced an understandable downturn after a scintillating start offered hope of a first Scudetto in a decade, Milan must surely take advantage of Parma's woes this week if they are to return to the promised land.

Parma manager Roberto D'Aversa pictured in June 2020© Reuters

After a nightmare start to 2021 - with only one point gleaned from eight league games – Parma's slim prospects of avoiding the trapdoor back to Serie B following three seasons at the highest level have started to gradually improve.

Now with eight points from their last seven outings - having fought back twice as January signing Dennis Man's late volley proved enough to take a point off fellow strugglers Benevento last Saturday - the Crociati are four points adrift of safety, though have played a game more than 17th-placed Torino.

Finally, coach Roberto D'Aversa seems to be prompting some improved returns from his once lifeless attack, but the Emilian outfit have found no solution to their troubles at the back; their tally of 56 goals conceded is better only than bottom side Crotone.

Nonetheless, midfielder Jasmin Kurtic found the target for the fourth time this season against Benevento - his second in as many matches - while Romania winger Man opened his account for the club and both his countryman Valentin Mihaila and French forward Yann Karamoh have contributed more in recent weeks.

Even veteran target man Graziano Pelle rattled in a spectacular, age-defying overhead kick in the narrow defeat to Genoa before the international break, but this weekend the former Azzurri striker and his Gialloblu colleagues take a step up in class.

Milan have unsurprisingly dominated them in recent years, with Parma failing to taste victory in their last seven Serie A meetings. Even accounting for a gap due to their time served in Calcio's lower tiers, the hosts are in fact looking for a first league win over the Rossoneri since March 2014.

Parma Serie A form:

AC Milan Serie A form:
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D

AC Milan form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • D


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Team News

AC Milan's Rafael Leao celebrates scoring against Torino on January 9, 2021© Reuters

Milan should have Rafael Leao back in the squad on Saturday, as the forward - who has been struggling with a muscle problem since the defeat to Napoli three weeks ago - returned to training in midweek. The elusive 21-year-old, with five goals and five assists this term, will most likely be offered a return from the bench.

Fellow forward Mario Mandzukic also returned to full group training this week and should be available to face Parma. Though the Croatian joined the Rossoneri as a free agent in January as cover for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, he has only featured in five games since, having missed the last ten with a muscle injury.

Though not ready for this trip to the Tardini, full-back Davide Calabria could be back in action as soon as next week after undergoing an operation on his right knee. The defensive mainstay has been out since the win over Verona in early March, so either Diogo Dalot or Pierre Kalulu will continue to cover.

Brahim Diaz and Alessio Romagnoli are both still out of action too, with the latter's absence keeping the door open to an extended run for the Simon Kjaer-Fikayo Tomori partnership in central defence.

One of the few benefits of having a bloated and unbalanced squad for Parma coach Roberto D'Aversa is that the injury absences of players including Juan Brunetta, Wylan Cyprien, Simone Iacoponi - plus forward trio Roberto Inglese, Yann Karamoh and Bayern Munich loanee Joshua Zirkzee (now out for the rest of the season) - can be covered without serious concern.

Andrea Conti, on loan from Milan, returned to the bench last week and is now likely to reclaim the right-back berth against his parent club, while Valentin Mihalia will compete with Gervinho and Dennis Man for one of the two wide attacking spots in the Gialloblu's 4-3-3.

Former Feyenoord and Southampton striker Graziano Pelle is expected to continue at centre-forward, ahead of goal-shy alternative Andreas Cornelius.

Parma possible starting lineup:
Sepe; Conti, Bani, Gagliolo, Pezzella; Kucka, Hernani, Kurtic; Man, Pelle, Gervinho

AC Milan possible starting lineup:
Donnarumma; Dalot, Tomori, Kjaer, Hernandez; Bennacer, Kessie; Saelemaekers, Calhanoglu, Rebic; Ibrahimovic


SM words green background

We say: Parma 2-3 AC Milan

As Parma have finally found their shooting boots - averaging two goals per game across their last four outings - they can definitely rattle an increasingly fragile Milan side on Saturday.

Nevertheless, all their attempts to at least replicate the autumn's 2-2 draw between these sides could come to naught if Milan's potent front four can continue their ruthless away form at the Tardini.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals 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.Under 3.5:data


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How you voted: Parma vs AC Milan

Parma
9.6%
Draw
18.1%
AC Milan
72.3%
83
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AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic pictured on February 13, 2021
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Inter Milan32237271294276
2AC Milan32206660382266
3Juventus32198564293565
4Atalanta BCAtalanta31197572383464
5Napoli31193966353160
6Lazio30184851411058
7Roma3116695547854
8SassuoloSassuolo32131095450449
9Sampdoria32126144346-342
10Hellas VeronaHellas Verona32118134040041
11Bologna32108144448-438
12Udinese3299143442-836
13Fiorentina3289154153-1233
14Genoa32712133548-1333
15SpeziaSpezia3289154260-1833
16Torino31613124654-831
17BeneventoBenevento32710153562-2731
18CagliariCagliari3277183654-1828
19Parma32311183366-3320
20Crotone3243253880-4215

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