Defending Serie A champions AC Milan welcome perennial mid-table tenants Torino to the San Siro on Friday night.
Lautaro Martinez’s first-half goal handed Inter Milan a slim 1-0 victory in last Sunday’s Derby della Madonnina, pouring more misery on underperforming title holders.
After losing four consecutive matches for the first time since 2017, the Rossoneri seem to be losing faith in long-serving manager Stefano Pioli less than a year since he ended their decade-long Scudetto wait.
Although Pioli’s statement after losing to Inter without his side attempting a shot on target sounded reassuring, he may soon bid farewell to Milan unless his team bounce’s back this week.
Winless in their last five league games (D2, L3), the hosts start this round in sixth, yet with fourth-placed Lazio only one point away, their dream of securing Champions League football is still alive.
In ‘normal’ circumstances, Torino’s visit to San Siro would be a guaranteed three points for the Rossoneri, but the script has flipped recently.
Following a 2-1 home triumph in the reverse fixture, Ivan Juric’s ten-man team ousted Milan 1-0 from the Coppa Italia round of 16 in January, making it three straight H2Hs without losing (D1, L2).
The continuation of that run could reignite the visitors’ hopes to capture European placings for the first time since 2018/19, as they currently trail Pioli’s charges by eight points.
Milan have lost three successive Serie A matches by an aggregate score of 10-3 ahead of the kick-off, including a humiliating 5-2 defeat to bottom-half Sassuolo in their last home outing.
Even more concerning is that they’ve failed to get on the scoresheet in three of their last four matches in all competitions, attempting only six shots on target across those scoring blanks.
It’s hard to expect Milan to improve their scoring record against Torino of all teams, considering they have netted one goal or fewer in six of their last eight competitive meetings at San Siro.
After a shock 1-0 home loss to Spezia in mid-January, Torino have alternated between winning and drawing in their three subsequent Serie A games (W2, D1), with both those wins yielding the same 1-0 scoreline.
Last weekend’s 1-0 triumph at Udinese took the visitors’ points tally for the season to 30 after 21 matches, accounting for their second-best haul at this stage of a top-flight campaign in a three-point-per-win era.
The Granata should be unfazed by heading to San Siro as they’ve gone unbeaten on their last four league travels (W1, D3), breaking the deadlock on three occasions in that run.
AC Milan vs Torino Potential Line-ups
AC Milan (4-2-3-1): Ciprian Tatarusanu; Davide Calabria, Pierre Kalulu, Simon Kjaer, Theo Hernandez; Sandro Tonali, Tommaso Pobega; Junior Messias, Brahim Diaz, Rafael Leao; Olivier Giroud.
Torino (3-4-2-1): Vanja Milinkovic-Savic; Koffi Djidji, Perr Schuurs, Alessandro Buongiorno; Mergim Vojvoda, Karol Linetty, Samuele Ricci, Ola Aina; Yann Karamoah, Aleksei Miranchuk; Antonio Sanabria.
AC Milan vs Torino Prediction
Pioli’s tactical alterations failed to pay dividends against Inter, so Rafael Leao’s return to the starting line-up seems inevitable, which could sharpen Milan’s attacking edge.
But Torino are one of the best defensive teams in Serie A and know in-depth about frustrating their rivals, even though their conservative approach often comes at the expense of their attacking appetites.
We expect a share of the spoils in what will likely be an uneventful contest with a handful of chances.
AC Milan 1-1 Torino
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