The Stadio San Siro is the venue where Milan and Fiorentina go head-to-head in one of the most exciting encounters on the Serie A schedule this weekend. That Rossoneri are on pole position to win their first Scudetto since 2011, but the rest of the season will not do Stefano Pioli’s team any good.
Milan staged an impressive second-half comeback last week, winning 2-1 at Lazio when Olivier Giroud and Sandro Tonali struck to equalize Ciro Immobile’s early deadlock-breaker. After Inter bizarrely lost 2-1 in Bologna last time out, the seven-time European champions enter the game two points clear at the top.
In stark contrast to Milan’s extraordinary week, Fiorentina suffered a humiliating 4-0 home defeat by Udinese last time out, threatening their European pursuit. Vincenzo Italiano’s men are currently two points behind sixth-placed Roma. However, another stunning result could prove detrimental to their attempt to play on the continent for the first time since 2016/17.
The aforementioned triumph at Lazio resulted in 12 Serie A games unbeaten for Milan (win 7, draw 5). An inspiring run of form will bolster Pioli’s bid to avenge a 4-3 first-leg defeat at the hands of Artemio Franchi and avoid becoming the first Rossoneri Coach since Fatih Terim, who suffered a league double against Fiorentina in 2000/01.
Pioli has urged Milan to keep “warm hearts and calm minds” in the season finale, knowing that only perfection is enough in the difficult phase of the championship. That Rossoneri were outstanding defensively in 2022, conceding just eight goals in 15 Serie A games since the turn of the year.
In Europe’s top five leagues, only Liverpool (six) have conceded fewer goals than Milan in 2022. Indeed, Pioli’s men have kept clean sheets in their last three home games in Serie A and could make it at the San Siro for a fourth straight season in Italy’s top flight since March 2019.
It’s been a week to forget for Fiorentina, who followed a 2-1 defeat at Salernitana last weekend with a dreadful midweek home game against Udinese. Another setback here would see La Viola lose three straight Serie A games for the first time since March 2019, but they have a decent H2H record at the San Siro to count on ahead of this trip.
Before the 2-0 defeat last season, Fiorentina had even won two Serie A encounters with Milan in Lombardy. Italiano’s men have benefitted lately by playing as outsiders on the road before the game, picking up points at Inter (1-1) and Napoli (3-2) after breaking the dealock in both games.
However, Fiorentina’s defense has been poor on the road lately. They have conceded more than 2 goals in their last three away games in competitive matches, while keeping 13 consecutive Serie A clean sheets since beating Udinese 1-0 in September.
Simon Kjaer and Alessandro Florenzi are the only Milan players missing from Sunday’s game.
On the other hand, Fiorentina will be without Gaetano Castrovilli with a knee injury while Italiano will have the rest of his squad fit and ready.
Milan Potential Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Mike Maignan; Davide Calabria, Pierre Kalulu, Fikayo Tomori, Theo Hernandez; Ismael Bennacer, Sandro Tonali; Junior Messiah, Franck Kessie, Rafael Leao; Oliver Giroud.
Fiorentina Potential starting XI (4-3-3): Pietro Terracciano; Alvaro Odriozola, Igor, Nikola Milenkovic, Cristiano Biraghi; Giacomo Bonaventura, Sofyan Amrabat, Alfred Duncan; Nicolas Gonzalez, Arthur Cabral, and Riccardo Saponara.