AC Milan face Cagliari Sunday evening for their first game of the season at home in the historic San Siro. The Rossoneri started off the season with a 1-0 victory over Sampdoria. It wasn’t always pretty in that match, but the squad overcame injuries and got the job done. Cagliari, on the other hand, drew 2-2 versus Spezia. Milan look to earn another three points before recouping during the upcoming international break.
AC Milan v Cagliari Preview
AC Milan Team News
To begin, Milan will once again be without Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Franck Kessie. These two are arguably the squad’s most influential players. Ibrahimovic is a leader on the pitch and last season’s leading goal scorer, whereas Kessie bosses the midfield game in, game out.
To the enjoyment of the Milan faithful, Sandro Tonali starred versus Sampdoria in Kessie’s place. Olivier Giroud started in place of Ibrahimovic and did quite well in all facets of the game. Although he did not score, Giroud was instrumental in applying pressure offensively and even tracking back in defence throughout the match.
Lastly, Ismael Bennacer did not start last weekend’s match after a bout with COVID-19. He came on as a second-half substitute, and looked match-fit and played well.
Cagliari Can Cause Problems
Cagliari typically hover around mid-table every season without relegation, which means they may not be the best team but can always put others into a scare.
Alessio Cragno is a solid goalkeeper with a number of Italy National Team call-ups under his belt. Getting past him is no easy task. They also have Diego Godin in defence. Although he’s ageing and not the centre-back he once was, Godin remains a tough player and leader. No team with Godin in their line-up ever quits early.
Lastly, Cagliari are no push-overs in attack either. Joao Pedro is as tricky as they get and Leonardo Pavoletti is a very solid finisher. The Milan defence must stay on their toes throughout the entire match.
AC Milan Expected Starting 11
Mike Miagnan, Gianluigi Donnarumma’s replacement, will start in goal. He already earned confidence with the squad after a collection of stellar saves versus Sampdoria.
The defence will not change, as the unit has been very solid since last season. It features Theo Hernandez, Simon Kjaer, Fikayo Tomori, and Davide Calabria.
Expect Bennacer to return as a starter in the midfield. He looked fantastic in his limited time versus Sampdoria, and should be fully fit after training this past week. His partner in the double pivot will be Tonali. The Italian starlet is looking to burst onto the scene this season, and Kessie’s minor injury gives him a chance to do this early.
The three players behind the striker will be Alexis Saelemaekers, Brahim Diaz, and Rafael Leao. Saelemakers put in a solid performance last week, nothing extraordinary but decent throughout. Diaz scored the match’s only goal and looked like Milan’s star. Leao continues his hot form from pre-season and takes Ante Rebic’s spot.
Giroud will once again start as the lone striker and will look to score his first official goal for Milan.
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