Match Preview Serie A

Milan vs Juventus Match Preview and Scouting

October 21, 2016 - 4:33 pm


AC Milan v Juventus

Serie A Week 9 –  Saturday, 22nd October – 19:45 GMT – Stadio San Siro



The seasonal trend about the squad not playing great but picking up wins have continued in the last two games. I think that Juventus had a rather poor performance against Udinese, hindered by some wacky tactical choices and by the suboptimal condition of some players returning from international duties. The goal we conceded was awful, but fortunately the team increased the intensity after that and, more importantly, we have Paulo Dybala and his diamond feet on the roster. Even after the 2-1, we did not manage the game with the usual ease and had some trouble containing Udinese’s attacks. Of course there were some righteous excuses, but it seems to me that something different is going on every week that makes the side look bad, so it is maybe a more structural problam rather than incidental.

Juventus started off pretty well against Olympique Lyonnais, but then got scared after Leonardo Bonucci caused a silly penalty. We welcomed too much pressure and were not able to impose our will. The situation worsened after Mario Lemina got sent off, but thanks to Gianluigi Buffon and his ridiculous saves and to a magnificent play by Juan Cuadrado, the squad squeaked by with a key win that makes things right in the Champions League group. A gutty performance.

Massimiliano Allegri has often scoffed at criticism about the team’s playing style, but even he on Saturday admitted that some improvements are needed from that standpoint. Of course, since we have a five-point lead over the closer chaser and we have won nine out of ten matches, these are definitely first world problems, but we always expect the highest level of excellence by Juventus. In the next four matches, Bianconeri will face Milan, Napoli, OL and Chievo Verona before the second break, so it could be the right moment to show some pizzazz.

As it has often been the case, there are some injuries that will lead to some forced choices in the XI. Giorgio Chiellini missed the last two games with a small thigh issue, but not a strain, and all indications are that he will be out for the big match against Milan as well. Mario Mandzukic has a sore hamstring: he could recover in time but he will not start. Daniele Rugani has resumed training with the rest of the group and has made a full recover: he is in the squad list, but of course he will not start. Marko Pjaca, on the shelf because of a bruised fibula, is the other player close to returning, but not quite there yet.

Medhi Benatia did not start on Tuesday, but he entered later in the game so the only issue with him is his stamina after a month-long hamstring ailment. He is set to start in the three-man defence, along with Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli. Otherwise, Patrice Evra will enter the picture. Of course a four-man defence is always possible when there is shortage of centre-back, but I am not sure how the rest of the team would shape up if that would be the case: Allegri would certainly want Sami Khedira and Miralem Pjanic out there in this one, but I think they would be limited and too exposed in a four-man midfield: a 4-3-2-1 with Cuadrado would make more sense. The attack will all speak Argentinian. That leaves us with only  two real doubts: at right wingback and at the deep-lying playmaker position.

As for the first one, it is a three-man race: Dani Alves is clearly the starter, even though he has had maybe only a couple of good games since joining the Old Lady; Stephan Lichsteiner would be a more defensive option and that would be justifiable since Milan’s biggest threat, Mbaye Niang, plays on that side so the coach could decide to give Benatia some help; Juan Cuadrado is probably the least adequate for this position, and we have seen what he can do in a more offensive role, but he has had the better performances. I will go with Dani Alves because this is a big game and these are the matches he was brought to star into, but I would not be surprised by a different choice. On the other hand, Alex Sandro is close to a lock on the left.

While Claudio Marchisio works his way back, he has played an hour in a midweek friendly, the doubt between Mario Lemina and Hernanes will continue for a little longer. Lemina got a red card against Olympique Lyonnais but I think he did not necessarily played poorly and he took one for the team on the second yellow card, committing a needed foul to stop an opponent that had already beat Bonucci and was menacingly approaching the box. Hernanes gave away that ball that led to the Udinese goal, so both had major errors in the last two games. At this point, Hernanes gives a little more in the build-up of the action, while Lemina add some muscles.

Probable lineup: 

3-5-2: Buffon; Benatia, Bonucci, Barzagli; Alves, Khedira, Hernanes, Pjanic, Sandro; Dybala, Higuain.


Chiellini (thigh),  Pjaca (fibula), Asamoah (knee), Mandragora (foot). 






AC Milan

Milan are not exactly playing out of this world, but they are getting it done thanks to an unusual defensive solidity and the effectiveness of their attackers. You could certainly say that they are winning mimicking what has been the Juventus Way so far this season. They have won four out of their last five matches, which pushed them to the second place along with Roma, a position they had not been since 2010. They have shown some resilience as well, in particular in the Sassuolo game, where they simply refused to lose and came back from 1-3. They could still have some ten, fifteen-minute blackouts where they give away the game, but they have limited those moments in the last months, so Juventus will have to be ready to pounce if it happens again.

Much of the credit goes to Vincenzo Montella, who has implemented some of his principles but is especially bringing out the best out his players, either adapting them to new positions or simply trusting them. Gabriel Paletta and Suso were essentially run out of town two seasons ago because of subpar performances, but now they are regular starters and solid contributors.

They are using a pretty basic 4-3-3: the stronger threat comes from the left side, where they deploy a revitalized Mattia De Sciglio, the always dangerous Giacomo Bonaventura, even though he is a little less offensive now that he is playing in the midfield, and Mbaye Niang, who combines physicality and quickness and is a handful for defenders. On top of that, they have Carlos Bacca who is having one of his finest season by doing what he is best at, finalizing. Juraj Kucka is playing pretty well and is vital for the balance of the midfield and Alessio Romagnoli is a little more reliable than last season. Out of the regular starters, the only one who has underperformed is Ignazio Abate, who had been supplanted by Davide Calabria before the youngster got hurt. I suspect we will not see much of Abate when Calabria and Luca Antonelli come back.

They have had some injuries, and some heavy ones like Riccardo Montolivo’s and Cristian Zapata’s, but they have always been able to make up for the absentees, even though they do not have that much depth. They used the problems to give some other guys some extended looks and extra opportunities. Without the captain, Montella is now relying on the 18-years-old Manuel Locatelli and could mix in José Sosa as well, who has looked good in the limited time he has featured in, but not in that position. They will decide their January moves depending on how they go.

The lineup is pretty much set: they will be without Antonelli, Andrea Bertolacci, Montolivo and probably Calabria. They should have Zapata and Keisuke Honda, but they are not project to start, or even play. The only real doubt is between Locatelli and Sosa in the heart of the midfield.

So they are definitely a team on the rise: if they can establish a winning mentality before the Chinese takeover is finished and the expected influx of new money starts, they could be pretty dangerous in the future.

Probable lineup: 

4-3-3: Donnarumma; Abate, Paletta, Romagnoli, De Sciglio; Kucka, Locatelli, Bonaventura; Suso, Bacca, Niang.


Montolivo (knee), Antonelli (calf), Bertolacci (thigh), Fernandez (hamstring), Vangioni (thigh).






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  • Avatar
    DutchJuventus October 21, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    Interesting match up with an experienced and still godly Gianluigi on one side, and a young and very promising Gianluigi on the other side. What do you guys think, will Donnarumma succeed Buffon as Italy goalkeeper when Buffon decides to quit (in hopefully another 20 years)?

    • Avatar
      Papilaya(John)™★★★ October 21, 2016 at 6:45 pm

      I actually had a dream that donnarumma started playing with us, so yes :p but its up to Gigi senior because when he ll retire will be the defining factor

      • Avatar
        DutchJuventus October 22, 2016 at 10:01 pm

        And then he will become goalkeeper coach for us. He must!

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet October 22, 2016 at 10:33 am

      There is no point in Donnarumma moving to us presently. As luck or misfortune would have it, he has Raiola I believe as his agent. The manner in which he dealt with Pogba, means he owes us something, and Matuidi is not what we seek for PSG will not allow him to come in January, and he would anyway be match tied for Europe, where we will need him most. In 2 years, Buffon will be 40 and Donnarumma will be 18, signing a professional contract…with AC or…another club.

      More chitterchatter on the subject here>>>

      I would like to believe that he will sign for us in 2018, go to the world cup as Buffon’s apprentice then return to Piedmont in the same fold, with a year to transition, to learn from the great man and then…take his place the following season.

      • Avatar
        DutchJuventus October 22, 2016 at 6:04 pm

        It’s an interesting subject. A few years ago Perin was top of my list and i still think he can become world class with us.
        Leali i’m not so sure about.
        Donnarumma is still so young but doesn’t seem afraid of anything. That’s a very good sign.
        Difficult stuff for the direction.

  • Avatar
    Mikkel Andersen October 21, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    Gosh, Matuidi (or Sissoko) would have been nice compared to Hernanes and Lemina.

    • Avatar
      Dar Black October 21, 2016 at 11:21 pm

      Where does Sissoko love come from 🙂 Please someone tell me…. Must be a couple of half decent matches with France that is all, because as all EPL/English footie fans and watchers know he was sh*t for Newcastle over the last season or two! Done nothing of note so far with Spurs either.

      • thegutterpoet
        thegutterpoet October 22, 2016 at 8:02 am

        I am unsure how many on here regularly watch the premier league, mate…which it often offers a decent spectacle, or better put, a different kind of spectacle regularly found in Serie A. And yes, Sissoko was appalling last season. How he sneaked into the frog squad is beyond me, yet he had a couple of decent games I suppose. 30M pounds was a ridiculous fee for a player who rarely showed any fight, let alone classy technique as Newcastle sunk deeper and deeper into the mire last term. They fleeced Levy. Which I do not mind, though it will simply make him even more sinister and bothersome to deal with in the future. Yet the only player in their ranks I would have liked is Eriksen. Who has yet to spark into life this season. They are the most exciting team to watch back home presently. Ali, Rose, Walker and Kane…Dier to a lesser degree…show a strong set of youngsters coming through for club and country. I would like to see Kane play with Rashford and Ali. And why not fill the england squad with kids eh? Add in a coupe of old pros, even a Carrick and Rooney and one or two to keep things settled at the back. yet who for the defence..such a shame Morgan chose Jamaica. He could have been the rock we are missing. No confidence in Cahill, Smalling is average, Stones is still learning and has never looked a potentially world class defender by my reckoning…the dearth of solid CBs is woeful in England. Still back to juve…

        • Avatar
          Dar Black October 22, 2016 at 11:12 am

          Levy even looks evil doesn’t he! Like Dr Evil from the Austin Powers in fact 🙂 Yes agreed, Stones may be a red herring, the media love him of course but his mythical enhanced ability to ‘play out’ from the back is coming from a very low starting point when looking at his English defensive peers…..

  • thegutterpoet
    thegutterpoet October 22, 2016 at 9:02 am

    Interesting to find an alternative view on Lemina’s second yellow, Enrico…I was instantly convinced that it was a needless challenge. Another player was in very close attendance, perhaps Alves, and Lemina was not at all clearly the last man, hence the yellow, rather than a straight red. I also found the Gabonese, as always, poor and ineffective in the DM slot. He has never seemed a natural defensive talent, which is part of the problem, along with lack of experience in a position which does not seem in line with his natural game. Far more comfortable, and sometime potent, when able to pick up the ball and run with it towards goal. Hence why his only bright sparks have come when given that very task.

    I am glad to see AC tentatively revived and sincerely hope they maintain their form, just not tonight!

  • Avatar
    JuventusBuffon October 22, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    We should totally buy Donnarumma

  • Avatar
    JuventusBuffon October 22, 2016 at 7:24 pm


  • Avatar
    DutchJuventus October 22, 2016 at 7:26 pm


    • Avatar
      JuventusBuffon October 22, 2016 at 7:27 pm

      In what fucking league can u revoke a goal after giving it??

      • Avatar
        DutchJuventus October 22, 2016 at 7:29 pm

        NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL xD

        More importantly, how was this offside? It was a mistake by Donnarumma getting fooled.

        • Avatar
          JuventusBuffon October 22, 2016 at 7:30 pm

          Football league that is lol

          • Avatar
            DutchJuventus October 22, 2016 at 7:31 pm

            The dutch league is actually trying out the video ref in the cup. But this was purely guessing. Maybe the linesman was afraid of driving through Milano after the match if he didn’t revoke it.

          • Avatar
            JuventusBuffon October 22, 2016 at 7:33 pm

            I thought the same, if this happened in Turin the goal would have stood

      • Avatar
        Dar Black October 22, 2016 at 7:52 pm

        On the plus side, it stops the ‘Juve always get the refs decision in their favour’ crap talk we get from the ultras of all the other teams.

        • Avatar
          JuventusBuffon October 22, 2016 at 8:00 pm

          Unfortunately not, because the next time we get something in our favor those talks will pick up where they left off

  • Avatar
    JuventusBuffon October 22, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    I love how there’s always a Juventus game on my birthday, 4th year in a row now I think lol

    • Avatar
      DutchJuventus October 22, 2016 at 7:36 pm

      Happy birthday 😮

      • Avatar
        JuventusBuffon October 22, 2016 at 7:46 pm

        Thanks mate!

  • Avatar
    JuventusBuffon October 22, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    This shit is suicide inducing to watch..

    • Avatar
      DutchJuventus October 22, 2016 at 9:59 pm

      Not on your birthday XD

      • Avatar
        JuventusBuffon October 22, 2016 at 10:01 pm

        Nah to hell with it man lmao

  • Avatar
    elisadallomo October 22, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    Horrible. Insufferable.

    We’ll get them next time.

  • Avatar
    JuventusBuffon October 22, 2016 at 8:47 pm


  • Avatar
    VonKellef October 22, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    Did Mandzukic even touch the ball while he was on the field?

    • Avatar
      LMJuveDK October 22, 2016 at 8:50 pm

      Yes he did

      • Avatar
        VonKellef October 22, 2016 at 8:55 pm

        Then he is doing progress. What a relief.
        Now maybe someone sees potential in him and buys him.

        • Avatar
          LMJuveDK October 22, 2016 at 8:58 pm

          I know he is not great lately. But dont blame this one on him. Did you expect he would win us the game in 10 minutes. We played very badly tonight. Blame the tactics…

          • Avatar
            VonKellef October 22, 2016 at 9:05 pm

            I expected him to do what he supposedly does best. Own the penalty area. Unfortunately, as you stated. The team played badly. Except for Barzagli and Mehdi in my opinion.

            We haven’t played well all season to be honest. The away game against Dinamo Zagreb I don’t count because they weren’t interested of the game. It was as someone forced Dinamo to enter the CL. But that is their headache. We have our own problems to deal with. Priority numero uno is getting that midfield sorted out.

            I hope nothing serious happened to Dybala.

          • Avatar
            LMJuveDK October 22, 2016 at 9:16 pm

            Yeah we have some serious problems to sort out. As you say mainly the midfield.

          • Avatar
            VonKellef October 22, 2016 at 11:40 pm

            When Conte first arrived our headache was the attack. We had a monstrous midfield. Just thinking about that midfield and what we have today makes me real sad.

          • Avatar
            Dar Black October 22, 2016 at 9:39 pm

            Midfield mess was predictable even before the season started. You are right, we have not played anybody of note off the park all season.

          • Avatar
            VonKellef October 22, 2016 at 11:38 pm

            A lot of us here stated just that. It seemed like Marotta and the guys just said:” meh…even if Pogba leaves we still have Lemina that can replace him”. Which isn’t fair towards anyone. Pogba is Pogba and Lemina is Lemina. But the fact that we didn’t go after a midfielder and waited for the last day to go after Witsel and Blaise is now coming to bite us in the ass.
            I am full of praise when it comes to Marotta and Paratici. But they have to be more like Luciano Moggi was. Aggressive. Know who to buy before we sell, and the selling part they have to improve a lot when it comes to that.

            I just hope that this dosen’t make Allegri hit the panic button and rush Marchisio into things so that he get’s injured again. I want him to play, badly, but I hope they are not rushing him.

          • Avatar
            Dar Black October 23, 2016 at 12:54 am

            Yes, I was one of them! Before the season started I knew we were average in midfield with Pogs gone and CM injured. With no bite, or fighter/leader in midfield with DM weakness and problems were sadly inevitable.

            Too many were blinded to these problems by Gonzo’s arrival as if he alone would make all turn to gold – it doesn’t work like that of course sadly. If only it were that simple 😉

          • Avatar
            VonKellef October 23, 2016 at 1:34 pm

            You are spot on my friend.
            The problem is real and nothing that we are making up. It seems as if Axel Witsel is the most realistic option in January. That would mean that we have Witsel, Marchisio and Pjanic in the midfield. Sturraro has just gotten back so I don’t know where we have him, the same goes for Marchisio, but in his case there is too much class for me to have any doubt.
            I expect more from players like Pjanic and Sami, but it seems like Allegri is trying to make Sami into some kind of attacking midfielder ala Vidal with the box to box play and Pjanic has yet to find his place. If it is in front of defense or behind the attack, I don’t know.
            Lemina, Hernanes and Asamoah hasn’t been bringing much to the table, unfortunately.

            You mention Pita Bread and I’m glad you did. Last season, if I’m not mistaken Napoli created the most chances in Serie A. No wonder he scored so many goals. My point is the lack of quality in midfield and the absences of creativity isn’t really helping the guy. I see him, he is more than willing to run into free space and position. But he dosen’t get much to work with. Just like yesterday.
            Also last night wasn’t the first time Bonucci and Barzagli was irritated and frustrated about the absence of help from the midfield. We can’t expect our defense to take care of the the defensive work AND do the job for the midfielders.

            I hope this problem gets sorted ASAP.

          • Avatar
            DutchJuventus October 22, 2016 at 9:58 pm

            Marchisio Sturaro Pjanic midfield?

          • Avatar
            Dar Black October 22, 2016 at 10:04 pm

            Hopefully Marchisio, Witsel and Pjanic after January.

          • Avatar
            VonKellef October 22, 2016 at 11:33 pm

            At this point that seems like the best midfield that we can put out there.

            They could even work with a 4-3-3 formation. Then we could play Cuadrado at his natural position as a winger in a 3 man attack. Pjaca, when he is back could also work in a 3 man attack.

  • Avatar
    Peter October 22, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    It’s been a while since I could watch more than just the highlights of a game. It goes without saying it had to be such a horrible game.

    Our midfield seemed non existent, and I didn’t understand why did it take so long after their goal to bring in someone for Hernanes. He seemed garbage, but it’s probably unfair to single him out.

  • Avatar
    JuventusBuffon October 22, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    So apparently Muntari went into the Milan locker room after the match, what do you guys think he said?

    • Avatar
      BelgianJuventino October 23, 2016 at 7:34 am

      “Dude, this isnt where I parked my car!”?

  • Avatar
    BelgianJuventino October 23, 2016 at 7:33 am

    Didnt see the game, it seems I dodged a bullet here. Sad to lose this game, but we are still top of the pack and yet to see if Milan has the strength of creating a true Scudetto challenge. Everyone plays their heart out when they face Juve. Lets see how they do against lesser opposition.

    And we will meet again, on our own turf. Nothing lost yet