Friday, May 24, 2024

Prediction: Juventus vs AC Milan

Verdict: Home win

Best odds: 107/100

Bookmaker: ZetBet

Following contrasting midweek experiences, Italian powerhouses Juventus and AC Milan clash on Saturday, with the race for second place in Serie A still wide open.

AC Milan endured the disappointment of witnessing their arch-rivals clinch the Scudetto at San Siro, while Juventus secured a spot in the Coppa Italia final with a late goal in Rome against Lazio.

Juventus

Despite letting a two-goal lead slip from the first leg and facing the prospect of an embarrassing cup exit, Juventus clinched a late twist in Tuesday’s 3-2 aggregate win over Lazio, securing their return to the Italian capital for next month’s cup final.

Arkadiusz Milik, who scored moments after coming on as a substitute, propelled the Bianconeri through from their semifinal tie. They will now face Atalanta in the decider at Stadio Olimpico in less than three weeks’ time, offering Juventus the opportunity to salvage some silverware from what has been another challenging season.

With a 15th Coppa Italia trophy within touching distance, Juventus aim to offset their recent struggles in Serie A. A run of two wins from 12 league matches, including draws in their last two outings against city rivals Torino and Cagliari, has left them trailing in third place, five points behind Milan and a considerable 22 points adrift of the top spot.

Despite their league setbacks, Juventus have maintained impressive home form, losing only once in 16 league games at the Allianz Stadium this season. As they return to Turin seeking victory to stay in contention for the runners-up spot, the upcoming summertime review will likely involve discussions about Massimiliano Allegri’s future with the club.

Team News

Allegri is expected to maintain squad continuity despite Juventus’ recent intense Coppa Italia semifinal clash on Tuesday. The only likely change will involve bringing back Wojciech Szczesny in for cup goalkeeper Mattia Perin.

While Milik made a spectacular return to action, Moise Kean will remain sidelined due to a knee injury. Additionally, midfielder Fabio Miretti may not recover from a foot injury in time to be included in the squad.

Although both Milik and Kenan Yildiz are contending for selection, Federico Chiesa, who has been directly involved in six Serie A goals against Milan, and Dusan Vlahovic, boasting 10 goals from 12 league appearances in 2024, are likely to retain their places up front.

AC Milan

While Allegri once experienced great success coaching Milan, his counterpart this weekend, Stefano Pioli, represented Juventus as a player. However, both managers could find themselves without a job in just a few weeks’ time.

Pioli finds himself at a critical juncture after Milan’s sixth consecutive loss in the Derby della Madonnina, which was arguably the most bitter defeat of all. Losing 2-1 to Inter Milan on Monday saw their rivals formally crowned Serie A champions in what turned out to be a tumultuous clash at San Siro.

Although Fikayo Tomori’s 80th-minute header provided some hope for the Rossoneri, who conceded goals on either side of halftime, they couldn’t muster a late equalizer as the dramatic derby ended in chaos. The match saw three dismissals in stoppage time, with Theo Hernandez and captain Davide Calabria both receiving red cards in the dying moments. Milan now hold the unwanted record for the highest number of red cards in the Serie A this season, with eight.

Following their third loss in four matches, including a recent Europa League exit to domestic rivals Roma, Pioli’s second-place side find themselves trailing Inter by 17 points with just five games remaining.

However, a victory over Juventus could all but secure second place for Milan. Recent history suggests this may be possible, as Milan have gone unbeaten in their last three visits to the Allianz Stadium, winning twice, after previously suffering nine straight away defeats to Juventus in the Italian top flight.

Team News

Milan’s tactical experiment with Rafael Leao leading the line and Olivier Giroud on the bench went the wrong way in Monday’s derby defeat. Given Giroud’s past success against Juventus and his impact off the bench, he is likely to return to the starting XI.

The Rossoneri face further challenges due to the absence of Theo Hernandez, Davide Calabria, and Fikayo Tomori – all three defenders are suspended. This necessitates additional changes to the lineup, exacerbating their defensive selection crisis.

While Malick Thiaw’s return from a one-match ban provides some relief, Milan still faces a shortage in defensive options. With Simon Kjaer and Pierre Kalulu sidelined due to injury, Thiaw is expected to partner Matteo Gabbia at the heart of Milan’s back four, with Alessandro Florenzi likely to fill one of the fullback positions.

Conclusion

Of the last six Serie A encounters between Juventus and Milan, only one has seen both teams score. This suggests another closely contested match is likely on Saturday. However, with Milan facing the challenge of fielding a makeshift defence due to suspensions and injuries, Juventus have a good opportunity to capitalize and narrow the gap to second place.

Verdict: Home win

Best odds: 107/100

Bookmaker: ZetBet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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