Thursday, 18 September 2014

AC Milan vs Juventus - PREVIEW:

Two of Serie A’s top clubs go head-to-head on Saturday night in one of the biggest games of the week, and it’s not surprising either. They have been rivals for decades, but in recent years the former have fallen by the wayside slightly due to the amount of key players that they have sold and been unable to consequently replace adequately enough to challenge for the title.

There is also an emotional return for manager Massimiliano Allegri, who spent the best part of 3 seasons with Milan and won the Scudetto in his first campaign in charge. He was unable to help the team after the sale of many key players, and left the club by mutual consent.

Then, after Antonio Conte resigned at the beginning of the pre season, it was announced that Allegri would take and over be would be returning to management in Serie A.

Allegri's reign as Juventus manager has started well with three victories and three clean sheets. The latest, a 2-0 win over Malmo in their first Champions League game of the season thanks to a brace from Carlos Tevez.

He had this to say: “It was important to beat Malmo, now we can focus on the match at the San Siro. Milan have started very strongly and have bought really well. I have a great relationship with (Milan’s vice president) Adriano Galliani, he called me before the Malmo game to wish me good luck. But it’s obvious that now we’ll be enemies on the field.”

The likes of Thiago Silva, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mario Balotelli and Kevin-Prince Boateng have all come and gone within the last few seasons – but Milan will be desperate to get back to the heights of Italian football. 
Meanwhile, Juventus have been in a completely different situation. They have won the league title in three consecutive seasons and will be hungry for more success in both domestic and European competitions as they look to bounce back from their poor showing in the Champions League over the past year. They have gone from strength to strength, with the likes of Marchisio, Pogba and Pirlo all flourishing in arguably one of the best midfield partnerships in the world.

Solid and great all-round: Juve have been impressive this campaign, can they shrug off AC Milan though?
Milan made 17 summer signings in the transfer window from the end of the 2013-14 season, including the likes of Jeremy Menez (free transfer from PSG) and Diego Lopez (undisclosed fee from Real Madrid) who look impressive already, but this game will be a real test for them so early on in the season for sure.
Team news going into the game:
Juventus are the better team on paper, and have less injuries in comparison to their opponents to contend with. They are set to welcome back midfielder Arturo Vidal after a recurrent knee injury, as well as defender Andrea BarzagliPirlo and Chiellini are still out of action.

Meanwhile, AC Milan will be without new goalkeeper Diego Lopez, who injured himself during their thrilling encounter against Parma last Sunday. Alex, Saponara and Torres are also likely to miss the game through fitness issues, whilst Italian forward Stephan El Shaarawy is set to start. 

On-fire! AC Milan winger Jeremy Menez has been one of the club's most influential players this season, after his free transfer from PSG
It may be early days in Serie A but this has the making to be an absolute classic. Milan coming off a nine goal thrilller whilst Juventus haven't conceded in their last seven competitive matches. Fresh and somewhat rejuvanted, can Inzaghi's Milan cause an upset at home?