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[monks data]
May 22, 2022 at 5pm UK at Stadio Alberto Braglia
Sassuolo
0 - 3
AC Milan

Lopez (37'), Kiriakopoulos (53')
FT(HT: 0-3)
Giroud (17', 32'), Kessie (36')
Tonali (34')

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

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

Just 90 minutes away from finally reclaiming the Scudetto, AC Milan know that a draw against Sassuolo on Sunday evening would secure their first Serie A title in over a decade.

Leading reigning champions Inter by two points ahead of an absorbing season's grand finale, the Rossoneri also have the better head-to-head record between the second city rivals, so must merely avoid defeat to be crowned kings of Calcio for a 19th time.


Match preview

AC Milan's Rafael Leao celebrates scoring their first goal on February 24, 2022© Reuters

Since their last championship triumph in 2011, Milan have toiled in the shadow of Juventus and old foes Inter, but took the penultimate step towards Serie A supremacy when they swept to a 2-0 win over Atalanta last weekend.

Though faced by an out-of-sorts La Dea, the Lombardy rivals' San Siro clash represented a significant remaining hurdle for Stefano Pioli's relatively youthful side, who have made up for what they lack in experience with an undeniable team spirit and no little skill.

Both were on display last Sunday, as Rafael Leao again produced a crucial goal to open the scoring - following his winner against Fiorentina - and a sensational solo effort from Theo Hernandez effectively sealed all three points with 15 minutes remaining.

Now entering the final bend of an absorbing Scudetto race, a recent comeback victory over Hellas Verona and wins over Lazio and Fiorentina have seen Milan retain top spot the hard way - bouncing back impressively from the disappointment of their Coppa Italia semi-final exit to Inter, their only remaining title challengers.

Pioli's men have picked up 83 points so far this season - their highest total since the 1980s - and have already won 25 league games. Only three times previously have they won at least 26 times in a top-flight campaign, and not for 16 years, with the basis for their success this year lying primarily in defence.

Remarkably, Milan have kept a clean sheet in 17 Serie A matches to date - the club's highest tally since the 2011-12 campaign - while conceding the fewest goals of any club in the second half of the season. A back four often helmed by improvised defensive duo Pierre Kalulu and Fikayo Tomori have leaked just nine league goals in 2022 - at least eight fewer than any of their competitors.

Such resilience is sure to be put to the test against a potent Sassuolo side, though, as the Rossoneri seek one last push for the finish line - even if the champions-elect have won each of their last five league games at the Mapei Stadium.

Gianluca Scamacca in action for Sassuolo in December 2021© Reuters

In 17 Serie A matches between Sassuolo and Milan there have been only six Neroverdi wins, but the modest Emilian outfit have come out on top in both of the clubs' last two meetings, following November's shock win at San Siro.

Having returned home with a 3-1 victory on that occasion - star strikers Gianluca Scamacca and Domenico Berardi unsurprisingly among the scorers - Sassuolo could now win three times in a row against their more illustrious counterparts for the first time; with the added bonus of spoiling the Rossoneri's title party on their home turf.

Rumoured to be bound for Inter during the upcoming summer transfer window, 15-goal top scorer Scamacca was also on hand to strike twice in the Neroverdi's 3-1 derby victory over Bologna last time out, and apparent Milan target Berardi found the net as well.

In the second half of this season's Serie A, Alessio Dionisi's side now rank third for goals scored (34) behind only Napoli and Lazio, and have secured another top-half finish after Torino slipped up on Friday night.

They have, however, also conceded the third-most goals in 2022 - fewer only than relegated Venezia and free-falling Empoli - with a record of letting in at least one goal in each of their last 15 home games representing their longest such streak in the top flight.

Sassuolo Serie A form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W

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

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


Team News

AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli reacts on March 1, 2022© Reuters

Long-term absentee Simon Kjaer aside, an almost fully available Milan squad will be available to Stefano Pioli on Sunday, so the experienced tactician's main selection concerns relate to how best to utilise his resources.

Up front, in-form Rafael Leao - who scored the fastest goal in Serie A history at the Mapei Stadium back in 2020 - will certainly feature on the left of a front three, having been directly involved in six goals (three of his own and as many assists) in his last five league games.

In the centre of that trio, Olivier Giroud should start ahead of another veteran striker, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic's impact has most recently come from the bench.

Set to make his final appearance for the visitors before departing for Barcelona, Franck Kessie started against former club Atalanta last week, and will hope to hold off competition from Ismael Bennacer to join Sandro Tonali in central midfield.

Sassuolo will be close to full strength, too, as Giorgios Kyriakopoulos is set to usurp Rogerio on the left side of the hosts' back four, after serving a suspension last week.

One of Kaan Ayhan, Vlad Chiriches and Gian Marco Ferrari will miss out on selection in central defence, while Abdou Harroui and Jeremy Toljan remain absent due to injury.

On the right wing, captain Domenico Berardi has scored more Serie A goals against Milan than any other side (10 to date), and he has been directly involved in at least one during each of his last three games against the Rossoneri.

Sassuolo possible starting lineup:
Consigli; Muldur, Ayhan, Ferrari, Kyriakopoulos; Frattesi, Lopez; Berardi, Raspadori, Traore; Scamacca

AC Milan possible starting lineup:
Maignan; Calabria, Kalulu, Tomori, Hernandez; Tonali, Kessie; Saelemaekers, Krunic, Leao; Giroud


SM words green background

We say: Sassuolo 1-2 AC Milan

Only Inter have attempted more shots than Sassuolo (299) and AC Milan (296) in the second half of this Serie A season, so in normal circumstances, this encounter may be an open affair with a series of chances at either end.

While the home side rarely hold anything back, thanks to the potency of their four-man forward line, the Rossoneri have their eyes fixed on the main prize and are likely to take a relatively cautious approach - which has often served them well as they moved to within touching distance of the Scudetto. It is their pace and power on the counter which could ultimately prove decisive.


For additional data used by our team to analyse our suggested result please click here.


Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting 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.Away Win:data

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How you voted: Sassuolo vs AC Milan

Sassuolo
12.1%
Draw
16.8%
AC Milan
71.0%
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Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Atalanta BCAtalanta00000000
2Bologna00000000
3Cremonese00000000
4Empoli00000000
5Fiorentina00000000
6Hellas VeronaHellas Verona00000000
7Inter Milan00000000
8Juventus00000000
9Lazio00000000
10Lecce00000000
11AC Milan00000000
12Monza00000000
13Napoli00000000
14Roma00000000
15Salernitana00000000
16Sampdoria00000000
17SassuoloSassuolo00000000
18SpeziaSpezia00000000
19Torino00000000
20Udinese00000000

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