Preview: Milan vs Sassuolo – Team News, Lineups & Prediction

Milan will hope to close out a topsy-turvy 2023 on a winning note when they take on Serie A underachiever Sassuolo at the San Siro on Saturday. With the stakes at an all-time high for both managers, the final round of the calendar year could be decisive in setting the tone and momentum for their teams heading into the new year.

Luka Jovic came off the bench to rescue Milan at Salernitana last weekend, riffling home from close range to salvage a 2-2 draw at Stadio Arechi. That result left Rossoneri stranded a whopping 11 points adrift of table-topping Inter during Christmas, giving under-fire coach Stefano Pioli a reason to re-evaluate his tactics. 

Not even the most optimistic Milan fans believe in the Scudetto anymore, but securing a fourth consecutive top-four finish is a more pressing concern. The hosts boast a slim three-point lead on fifth-placed Fiorentina ahead of this matchday, highlighting the significance of avenging an agonizing 5-2 defeat in this corresponding fixture last term.

As absurd as it sounds, the San Siro has been a happy hunting ground for Sassuolo in recent years. Since a narrow 1-0 loss in March 2019, they’ve racked up three wins and one draw in four Serie A visits to Milan’s home ground, netting at least two goals in their last three encounters in Lombardy.

However, that’s arguably the only positive for Sassuolo boss Alessio Dionisi. After losing three of their last four league outings (D1), Neroverdi commence this round only three points clear of 18th-placed Cagliari. As the pressure starts to mount on the 43-year-old manager, another disappointment could put a final nail in his coffin. 

Match Preview


Milan must be grateful for the opportunity to drop the curtain on the calendar year at the San Siro. Pioli’s men have reigned supreme at home after a shocking 1-0 defeat to Udinese in early November, winning three consecutive league matches in their backyard by a combined score of 7-1.

A 3-0 thumping of Monza last time out marked their fourth clean sheet in eight Serie A games at home this season. Indeed, Milan have conceded a joint-league low four goals on home turf, increasing the likelihood of halting Sassuolo’s free-scoring form at the San Siro. 

Pioli can draw further confidence from his side’s decent run in all competitions, with Milan only losing twice in their last nine outings (W5, D2). But based on their display in Salerno, he’d be well-advised to approach this contest with cautious optimism.


Optimism has been a rare commodity at the Mapei Stadium in recent months. Not even taking a halftime lead against promoted Genoa last time out was enough for Sassuolo to avoid defeat, as the visitors’ second-half comeback in Emilia-Romagna resulted in Neroverdi’s 2-1 loss. 

Sassuolo’s defensive woes have plagued their Serie A campaign. Only rock-bottom Salernitana (36) have conceded more league goals than them (32). That’s not to mention they’re one of only two sides yet to keep a clean sheet in the Italian top flight this season.

Though they’re prone to conceding cheap goals, Sassuolo can pack a punch on a good day. You don’t have to look beyond the fact they’ve claimed points in three out of five away league games after falling behind to fathom this side possesses a fighting spirit (W2, D1, L2). 

Team News

The emergency crisis at the back deepened in Salerno, with Milan adding Fikayo Tomori to a long list of defensive absentees. He has joined Pierre Kalulu, Marco Pellegrino, Malick Thiaw, and Mattia Caldara on the sidelines. But problems don’t end there for Pioli.

Noah Okafor and Tommaso Pobega are also out injured, while Yunus Musah and Jovic must beat the clock to make themselves available for selection. 

On the other hand, Sassuolo are still without Pedro Obiang and Agustin Alvarez, but there’s hope within Dionisi’s camp that Domenico Berardi could be part of the traveling squad. 

Milan vs Sassuolo Potential Lineups

Milan (4-3-3): Mike Maignan; Davide Calabria, Simon Kjaer, Jan-Carlo Simic, Theo Hernandez; Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ismael Bennacer, Tijjani Reijnders; Christian Pulisic, Olivier Giroud, Rafael Leao. 

Sassuolo (4-2-3-1): Andrea Consigli; Jeremy Toljan, Martin Erlic, Gian Marco Ferrari, Marcus Pedersen; Matheus Henrique, Kristian Thorstvedt; Domenico Berardi, Nedim Bajrami, Armand Lauriente; Andrea Pinamonti.

Milan vs Sassuolo Prediction

With all due respect to Sassuolo’s dream run at the San Siro, we back Milan to take three points here and keep Pioli at the helm. But we also expect the visitors to get on the scoresheet, meaning this should be an enthralling contest for neutrals. 

Prediction: Milan Win

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