AC Milan Host Udinese Hoping to Extend Serie A Lead

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AC Milan play host to Udinese on Friday evening in a match with serious Scudetto implications. Milan slipped up in their last league match, meaning there’s no room for error here if the Rossoneri are serious about taking the trophy from Inter Milan’s hands. Udinese, however, although not always a great team, is typically a tricky match-up for Milan.

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Milan are first in the Serie A table, leading Inter by two points. Inter have a match in hand, however. The Rossoneri‘s last match came against Salernitana which ended in a 2-2 draw. Milan, however, were 2-1 and needed late-game heroics from Ante Rebic to salvage a point. This was a disappointing outing for Milan, especially considering Salernitana are last place in the table and Milan were clinging to first. Luckily for Milan, Inter lost to Sassuolo and Napoli drew with Cagliari.

A victory over Udinese is much-needed for Milan’s championship hopes. Milan’s next two matches after this are a Coppa Italia semi-final leg against Inter followed by a league match against Napoli. In short, this Udinese match, especially at the San Siro, is an absolute must-win.

Udinese are 16th on the Serie A table with 25 points from 24 matches. Their last four league matches saw them earn five points, which isn’t horrible, but they also fell 4-0 to Hellas Verona. Udinese are certainly a team that will battle relegation until the last couple of weeks of the season.

Expected Line-up for AC Milan

Milan are slowly getting back to full health outside of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Health has been an issue all season long for the squad.

Mike Maignan, per usual, will start in goal. The match versus Salernitana was an off one for the Frenchman, so he’ll look to be back at the top of his game.

Fikayo Tomori is ready to be back in the starting line-up. This is very welcomed news for Milan as they’ve been without their two main starting centre-backs for most of 2022. Tomori will be joined by Davide Calabria, Alessio Romagnoli, and Theo Hernandez in the defence.

The midfield double-pivot is likely to feature Sandro Tonali and Franck Kessie. Tonali has been one of Milan’s top players all season, while Kessie has been in and out of the line-up for a variety of reasons. There are also plenty of questions surrounding Kessie’s future, but for now, he’s the best option alongside Tonali.

The three forwards behind the lone striker are likely to be Junior Messias, Brahim Diaz, and Rafael Leao. Messias is slowly taking over the starting right-winger position from Alexis Saelemaekers. Milan desperately need Diaz to return back to his early-season form, so a match versus Udinese’s defence is a great opportunity. Leao, who’s been phenomenal in 2022, will look for a statement match after a disappointing outing versus Salernitana.

Finally, the lone striker will be Oliver Giroud. Outside of the last match, Giroud’s been firing on all cylinders for Milan. He’s crucial as Ibrahimovic continues to be sidelined. A goal in this match for Giroud will be a major confidence booster ahead of the next two tough matches.

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