Serie A Matchday 35: Juventus – Milan Match Preview

One of the most highly anticipated fixtures on the Serie A football schedule pits dethroned champions Juventus against arch-rivals Milan at the Allianz Stadium. Sunday’s encounter in Turin could have epic proportions in the long run, with the sides embroiled in the top-four run-in entering the round level on points.

Napoli’s 4-1 thumping of Spezia on Saturday nudged them past Juventus and Milan in the standings, with the Partenopei now two points clear of tonight’s rivals. 

Though everyone in Turin sees the title loss as a blow already devastating enough, the prospect of missing out on Champions League football is something no one can imagine at the Allianz Stadium. Meanwhile, the Rossoneri are on the lookout for their first appearance in Europe’s elite club competition since 2013-14.

Securing a place in the Champions League group stage is not only a matter of prestige anymore but also a massive economic boost. Faced with financial turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic, both teams need to grasp a coveted top-four finish to raise funds for their transfer activities in the summer.

Juventus vs Milan Head-To-Head

Juventus exacted swift revenge on Milan for last season’s 4-2 defeat, having picked up a commanding 3-1 victory at the San Siro back in January. 

Given the sides’ stature in Italy and Europe, it may come as some surprise that the Bianconeri have won more top-flight matches (15) versus the Rossoneri than against any other team in Serie A since the 2011-12 campaign. What’s more, Andrea Pirlo’s men have outplayed fierce rivals in each of their last 9 league encounters on home turf by an aggregate scoreline of 18-6.

Stefano Pioli’s players have failed to get on the scoresheet in three of their previous four trips to Turin in all competitions (D1, L3). 

The last time Milan managed to beat Juventus in an away Serie A clash was in March 2011, courtesy of Gennaro Gattuso’s strike on an assist from Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Of all the players to contest that fixture, only five are still actively playing, with Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci, and Zlatan the only ones to still perform in Serie A.

Teams Recent Forms

Juventus have gone undefeated in three Serie A matches in a row (W2, D1) since being beaten by Atalanta on Matchday 31. Curiously, Pirlo’s side conceded the first-half opener on each occasion during that three-game sequence but managed to score five unanswered goals post restart. 

Indeed, Juventus’ ability to bounce back after falling behind has seen them rescue a league-high 17 points from losing positions this season. Meanwhile, the Rossoneri have lost the fewest after taking the lead (five).

Not as impenetrable as they used to be in some previous seasons, the Bianconeri have failed to keep a clean sheet in each of their last ten Serie A outings, their worst such run since April 2010! 

Since the turn of the year, none of Juventus’ 11 home league games has ended in a draw (W10, L1), with nine of their ten triumphs in this stretch of fixtures yielding a winning margin of 2+ goals. Furthermore, the hosts have netted two or more goals in the division-high 13 home matches this term.

Meanwhile, Milan eased past relegation-threatened Benevento 2-0 at home last time out to bring a two-match losing streak in Serie A to a halt. Before keeping Filippo Inzaghi’s side at by, the Rossoneri had failed to register a shutout in eight league games in a row, albeit conceding two or more in 37.5% of those fixtures.

Milan’s embarrassing 3-0 defeat to Lazio in their most recent away league encounter ended a run of four consecutive Serie A victories on the road.

But, the seven-time European Cup winners have won a league-high 13 away matches this season, notably netting over 1.5 goals on each occasion. Delivering action from the onset, they have scored the second-high 16 first-half goals on the road in 2020-21.

Another bright spot has been Milan’s capacity to hold onto the lead once taken, having successfully negotiated 94.74% of the Serie A contests in which they were ahead at half-time this campaign (W18, L1). 

Predicted Line-ups

JUVENTUS (4-4-2): Wojciech Szczesny; Alex Sandro, Leonardo Bonucci, Matthijs De Ligt, Juan Cuadrado; Federico Chiesa, Rodrigo Bentancur, Adrien Rabiot, Weston McKennie; Paulo Dybala, Cristiano Ronaldo

MILAN (4-2-3-1): Gianluigi Donnarumma; Theo Hernandez, Fikayo Tomori, Simon Kjaer, Davide Calabria; Ismael Bennacer, Franck Kessie; Ante Rebic, Hakan Calhanoglu, Alexis Saelemaekers; Zlatan Ibrahimovic