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Preview: AC Milan vs. Spezia - prediction, team news, lineups
17/01/2022 11:02:18

Title-challenging AC Milan will be looking to make it four Serie A victories in a row when they welcome lowly Spezia to San Siro on Monday night.

Milan are currently second in the table, one point behind division leaders and bitter rivals Inter Milan, while Spezia occupy 16th position, just three points clear of the relegation zone.

We say: AC Milan 2-0 Spezia

Spezia have won their last two Serie A matches on their travels, but we are finding it difficult to back the visitors to triumph here. Milan need to win to stay in touch with the leaders, and we are expecting the home side to secure all three points courtesy of a two-goal success.

Match preview

Milan have not won Serie A since 2011, but the Red and Blacks are firmly in the title picture at this stage of the season, having picked up 48 points from their opening 21 matches, which has left them in second spot.

Leaders Inter Milan are one point clear of their rivals with a game in hand, and the reigning champions will have the chance to open up a four-point advantage when they travel to Atalanta BC on Sunday night.

Milan are crucially 10 points clear of fifth-placed Juventus, though, and will be looking to secure, at the bare minimum, a top-four spot, having claimed second behind Inter last term.

Stefano Pioli's side have been victorious in their last three Serie A matches, overcoming Empoli, Roma and Venezia, since suffering a 1-0 home defeat to Napoli on December 19.

The Red and Blacks also triumphed in the Coppa Italia on Thursday, recording a 3-1 win over Genoa, and they will know that another victory on Monday is necessary in order to stay in touch with leaders Inter.

Spezia, meanwhile, will enter this match off the back of a 1-0 victory over Genoa last weekend, with Simone Bastoni netting the only goal of the contest in the 14th minute.

The Little Eagles have now won two of their last three in the league, suffering just one defeat in the process, which has moved them into 16th position in the table, boasting a record of five wins, four draws and 12 defeats from 21 matches to collect 19 points.

Spezia are still only three points clear of the relegation zone, though, and they face a battle to secure their status as a top-flight club for another season.

Thiago Motta's side have won three times on their travels this season, including a 1-0 victory at Napoli on December 22, so they are certainly capable of overcoming Milan on Monday evening.

Spezia also beat Milan 2-0 on home soil during the 2020-21 campaign but suffered a 2-1 loss when the two teams locked horns at Stadio Alberto Picco earlier this season.

Team News

Milan will be missing Alessio Romagnoli, Pietro Pellegri, Fikayo Tomori and Simon Kjaer through injury, while Sandro Tonali will be unavailable for selection through suspension.

The Italian giants will also be without Ismael Bennacer, Fode Ballo-Toure and Franck Kessie due to their involvement in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will again lead the line for the home side, while Brahim Diaz, Rafael Leao and Alexis Saelemaekers should retain their spots in attacking areas for the title hopefuls.

Spezia, meanwhile, will be without Ebrima Colley due to his involvement in the Africa Cup of Nations.

The visitors have managed to recover those who recently tested positive for coronavirus, though, so head coach Motta should have a strong squad to choose from on Monday night.

Spezia are expected to line up in a 4-4-1-1 formation at San Siro, with Daniele Verde supporting M'Bala Nzola, who has two league goals to his name during the 2021-22 campaign.

AC Milan possible starting lineup:

Maignan; Florenzi, Kalulu, Gabbia, Hernandez; Krunic, Bakayoko; Saelemaekers, Diaz, Leao; Ibrahimovic

Spezia possible starting lineup:

Provedel; Amian, Erlic, Nikolaou, Reca; Kovalenko, Sala, Bastoni, Gyasi; Verde; Nzola

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