Serie A Round 11: Milan – Parma Preview and Expected Lineups

The festive Christmas period is just around the corner, meaning games come thick and fast in this time of the year. In Round 11 of Serie A, the league leaders Milan welcome the 16th-placed Parma in pursuit of their ninth win of the season.

The Rossoneri come into this game after the midweek outing in the Czech Republic, as Stefano Pioli’s men took on Sparta Praha in the final game of the group stage. Contrarily, Parma had a full week rest and will be eager to turn their fortune in a game on Sunday.

The Cult of Calcio is here to preview the match, with an eye on the probable lineups.

Milan – Parma

Serie A Round 11
Sunday, 13 December 2020
Kick-off at 20:45 (CET)
Stadio San Siro (Milan)

Recent Form – Milan

Pioli’s men have had the kind of start to the season only the die-hard Milan fans could have dreamed of. Topping the league table with 26 points after 10 matches, the Rossoneri remain only one of two teams that are yet to suffer a defeat in this Serie A season. Last week’s 2-1 win away at Sampdoria was Milan’s third consecutive domestic victory and second without the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Milan’s dominance was conspicuous throughout the match, with the Rossoneri having 13 shots (6 on target) and creating 4 big chances (2 missed) in comparison to Sampdoria’s 9 attempts at goal and only a single big chance created. Milan finished the game with an xG (expected goals) of 2.58, having wasted two great opportunities in the final minutes of the first half, which had an xG score of 0.42 and 0.32 respectively.

Despite Milan’s wonderful unbeaten run in the league, the stats do suggest us that Pioli’s side has been overachieving at times this season. The Rossoneri are the 3rd-highest-scoring team in the Serie A with 23 goals (avg. 2.30 goals per game), but their npxG (non-penalty expected goals) tell us a slightly different story. According to Understat, Milan’s npxG is 18.71, which is also the 3rd-highest in the league, but it is more than 6 goals fewer compared to their xG score of 24.94. Such a difference is explained by the fact that Milan have already taken 8 penalty kicks this season (3 missed), which enhances their statistical non-penalty chance creation.

However, if judged by their performances, Milan are clearly not as fluid in attack as the number of goals scored may suggest. Additionally, Milan are placed 4th for goal creating actions per 90 minutes, creating on average 3.50 goal actions in a game. In this instance, Milan are behind Napoli (4.44 GCA per game), Inter (4.00 GCA per game) and Atalanta (3.56 GCA per game). To sum it up, according to Understat, Milan have exceeded this season’s points tally by 4.53 points and should be only 1 point ahead of the second-placed Inter.

Team News and Predicted Lineups – Milan

Against Parma, Pioli will have to cope without a few key players, as Ibrahimovic and Simon Kjaer are unlikely to be fit for Sunday’s encounter. Matteo Gabbia is most likely to slot in place of Kjaer, with Ante Rebic leading the line in the absence of Milan’s top scorer of the season.

Expected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Donnarumma; Calabria, Gabbia, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Tonali, Kessié; Saelemaekers, Calhanoglu, Brahim Diaz; Rebic

Unavailable: Ibrahimovic (hip injury), Kjaer (muscle injury), Bennacer (muscle injury)

Recent Form – Parma

Parma have not had the greatest of starts to their league campaign, winning only 2 matches out of 10 possible in the first quarter of the season. The Crociati are currently sitting 16th in the league standings, only 4 points off the relegation zone. Nevertheless, despite their low league position, Parma have been doing a bit better in the most recent matches. Fabio Liverani’s men have collected 7 points from the last three matches, with the last result being a goalless home draw against Benevento.

Parma’s performance against Benevento was far from convincing, with the Crociati recording 10 attempts at the opposition’s goal but none of them hitting the target. Their poor performance in the attack was reflected by the xG metric, which in this game was only 0.51 for Parma. Attempts from Osorio (xG 0.10) and Gervinho (xG 0.09) were the most dangerous goal-scoring chances Parma created in the entire match.

Parma’s low position in the league standings can be explained with the use of some of the statistical metrics. Liverani’s side is the 3rd-lowest-scoring team in the league, having netted only 10 times this season (avg. 1.0 goal per game). Besides, their npxG (non-penalty expected goals) is even worse than the actual number of goals scored (npxG 9.34). It indicates that Parma are neither overachieving nor underachieving they just simply do not create enough shooting and goal-scoring opportunities. Speaking of the two, Parma find themselves at the bottom of the table for both aforementioned metrics. I Crociati are only 19th for shot-creating actions per 90 minutes (13.60) and only 16th for goal-creating actions per game (1.60). Their xPTS (expected points) score is 9.84, which is technically identical to the 10 points they have accumulated so far this season.

Team News and Predicted Lineups – Parma

Despite a few injury concerns, Liverani is expected to field a similar lineup to the one against Benevento.  A 4-3-2-1 tactical shape with Jasmin Kurtic, Matteo Scozzarella and Hernani forming a midfield trio is the most likely formation for Parma.

Expected Starting XI (4-3-2-1): Sepe; Busi, Osorio, Bruno Alves, Iacoponi; Scozzarella, Hernani, Kurtic; Karamoh, Gervinho, Cornelius

Unavailable: Mihaila (hip injury), Grassi (shoulder injury), Laurini (physical discomfort), Sohm (ankle injury)

Milan vs Parma – Previous Meetings

Sunday’s game will be the 64th encounter between the two sides, with Milan having a far better record of the two. The Rossoneri have been on the winning side 30 times (47.6% win ratio), with Parma getting the better of Milan on only 15 occasions (23.8% win ratio), as the remaining 17 matches ended in a draw.

The last meeting between the two sides was back in July, with Milan securing a comfortable 3-1 home win.


Although it is highly likely that Milan will be without their top scorer of the season, Ibrahimovic, who is slowly recovering from a thigh injury, the Rossoneri do not look like stopping any time soon. Their xG metrics suggest that Pioli’s men have had a bit of luck on a few occasions this season, but Parma do not seem like an opponent who could end Milan’s unbeaten run.