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

Amends for a midweek fiasco are in store for Milan as they head to the Mapei Stadium to take on Serie A underachievers Sassuolo on Sunday. Both sides need a positive result, albeit for different reasons.

Sassuolo’s need is practical. After dropping two valuable points in a 2-2 draw against basement boys Salernitana last weekend, they find themselves stuck in the bottom, two points off safety. 

Milan’s urge is spiritual. After seven straight wins, Stefano Pioli’s side lost 1-0 to Roma in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final tie on Thursday.

It’s needless to say that Sassuolo’s pursuit of three points carries more meaning. Yet, whether Davide Ballardini’s men are up to the challenge remains uncertain. A three-game winless league run (D1, L2) can’t inspire much confidence. And neither can Neroverdi’s scoring record under their new manager.

Since Ballardini’s appointment in early March, Sassuolo have lost their mojo. They had netted just two goals in Ballardini’s first four league matches in charge before beating the division’s worst defense twice last time out. 

On the other hand, scoring has not been a problem for Milan in Serie A. Stefano Pioli’s charges have bagged at least two goals in their last five league outings, including a 3-0 thumping of Sassuolo’s fellow relegation rivals Lecce in the previous round. 

Indeed, Roma became the first side since Udinese in November to keep Milan at bay in midweek European action. But back to greener pastures, Rossoneri will be out to take advantage of Juventus’ tepid 0-0 draw at Torino and consolidate their quest for a runner-up finish.

Match Preview


It’s the first time in a while that Sassuolo’s 11-year top-flight stay is in jeopardy. With only seven games left, the margin for error is thin, meaning Milan’s visit to the Mapei Stadium is untimely. In addition to only winning four league matches at home this season (D4, L7), Ballardini’s men have been prone to conceding in abundance.

Only Salernitana’s unwanted record of 32 eclipses Sassuolo’s ominous haul of 26 goals conceded on home turf at the start of this round. As if that’s not worrying enough, Neroverdi must defeat the history books to breathe some air into their desperate fight against Serie A relegation. 

They’ve ended up empty-handed in six of their last seven meetings with Milan in Emilia-Romagna (D1, L6). And on top of that, Christian Pulisic’s strike condemned them to a narrow 1-0 defeat in December’s reverse fixture.


Despite Milan’s imperious record at the Mapei Stadium, they have a chance to complete their first Serie A double over Sassuolo since 2018/19. There’s no better moment to achieve that feat than this. Pioli’s men have stitched together a five-game winning league sequence for the first time since clinching the Scudetto in 2021/22.

However, with a must-win second-leg clash against Roma waiting in the wings, it’s up to Pioli to set his priorities straight. Even a loss on Sunday would unlikely do any damage to Rossoneri’s top-three hopes. On the other hand, Milan could still lift the only missing piece of continental silverware if they can overturn a slim disadvantage next week.

The matter of priorities could compromise the visitors’ bid to extend their winning streak on the road to five matches, all competitions included. But neutrals should still enjoy this fixture as a league-high eight of Milan’s 16 away league games this season have seen both teams on the scoresheet.

Team News

Losing standout performer Domenico Berardi for the final stretch is among the reasons for Sassuolo’s rough patch. Feyenoord loanee Marcus Pedersen is in the treatment room alongside the Italian winger. Yet, the rest of Ballardini’s crew is fit and ready for this contest.

Milan will travel without Pierre Kalulu, Tommaso Pobega, and Antonio Mirante. But as the remainder of the team passed fit for this trip, it’s only up to Pioli to decide whether he wants to take risks ahead of a ‘make or break’ showdown against Roma.

Sassuolo vs Milan Potential Lineups

Sassuolo (4-2-3-1): Andrea Consigli; Jeremy Toljan, Martin Erlic, Gian Marco Ferrari, Josh Doig; Daniel Boloca, Matheus Henrique; Nedim Bajrami, Kristian Thorstvedt, Armand Lauriente; Andrea Pinamonti. 

Milan (4-2-3-1): Mike Maignan; Alessnadro Florenzi, Tomori, Simon Kjaer, Theo Hernandez; Yunus Musah, Yacine Adli; Samuel Chukwueze, Tijjani Reijnders, Noah Okafor; Luka Jovic. 

Sassuolo vs Milan Prediction

It’s a near-certainty Milan will be back on the scoreboard after being shut out for the first time in 30 games. However, the visitors’ defensive frailties will probably require Pioli’s forwards to do the heavy lifting. 

We back Milan to pick up three points and Sassuolo to find the net.

Prediction: Milan Win

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