AC Milan vs Torino
2016/17 Italian Serie A.
Date: Sunday, 21 August 2016,
Kick-Off: 17:00 UK,
Venue: Stadio San Siro (Milan).
A new season equals new opportunities; and this will be what both AC Milan and Torino under the tutelage of new managers will have in mind when they clash at the Stadio San Siro on Sunday evening.
Unfortunately for Rossoneri supporters, there will be no European football yet again. For the third straight season, AC Milan failed to make the grade and will have to contend themselves with domestic affairs after they were pipped to a Europa league berth by Sassuolo, a side who only made their Serie A debut in 2013. In seasons not too long ago, the thought of the Neroverdi beating them to a European football spot would have been unthinkable. Yet, that is the sad reality that Diavolo fans have to face after finishing in seventh spot last season.
And just as was the case back in the 2015/2016 term, the 2016/2017 Serie A season commences with a new man on the tactician’s bench. Former Fiorentina and Sampdoria boss Vincenzo Montella is the sixth man hired since Massimiliano Allegri’s sacking in January 2014. He will now have the unenviable task of trying to guide the struggling giants back into Europe. This summer, however, has seen AC Milan not been able to be as active in the transfer market due to the protracted negotiations between Silvio Berlusconi and the Chinese consortium that now have taken over. Nonetheless, the Rossoneri still managed to bring in a couple of new faces, including Jose Sosa, Gianluca Lapadula and Gustavo Gomez (who is the first Paraguayan to play for the club).
Meanwhile, Torino, who finished 12th in the league table last season will be seeking to improve their position and at the very least. But not preferably to break into the top half of the table. The Granata will be coming into this match having cruised to a very comfortable 4-1 win in Coppa Italia action earlier this week. Their new head-coach Sinisa Mihajlovic, will have his own personal reasons for revenge when he arrives at the Stadio San Siro. Despite leading AC Milan to their first Coppa Italia final in 13 years last season, the Serbian coach was rather unceremoniously sacked by Berlusconi and replaced by youth manager Cristian Brocchi.
Torino have been quite busy strengthening their squad by bringing in the likes of Adem Ljajic, Luca Rossettini, Iago Falque, and Leandro Castan, all of whom are already familiar with Serie A football.
AC Milan: Team News
Montella will have pretty much a full strength squad at his disposal, albeit reports indicate that Cristian Zapata will miss out due to fitness problems whilst Gianluca Lapadula is suspended.
AC Milan: Expected Starting Line-up (4-3-3)
Donnarumma – De Sciglio, Gomez, Romagnoli, Antonelli – Bonaventura, Montolivo, Bertolacci – Niang, Bacca, Suso.
Torino: Team News
Davide Zappacosta is presently suffering from muscular problems, whilst new signing Iago Falque is not yet 100 per cent fit. Then there’s the curious case of Serbian defender Nikola Maksimovic, who is determined to push through a move to the Premier League after skipping out on training earlier this week.
Torino: Expected Starting Line-up (4-3-3)
Padelli – Ajeti, Bovo, Moretti, Molinaro – Acquah, Vives, Baselli, Martinez, Belotti, Ljajic
AC Milan vs Torino: Head-to-Head Stats
- AC Milan have not lost at home to Torino since March 1985.
- The Rossoneri are also unbeaten in their last 16 matches against the Granata (nine wins, seven draws).
- The last time AC Milan lost to Torino was on 4 November 2001, when they were defeated 1-0 at the Stadio Olimpico.
- In the last octet of games between AC Milan and Torino, there have been a total of under 2.5 goals over 60 per cent of the time.
AC Milan vs Torino: Prediction
Torino will be definitely fancying their chances, with their confidence high after their Coppa Italia win. However, AC Milan will be desperate to make sure their long-standing home record against the Granata remains intact, and furthermore, no one wants to lose at home on opening day.
Last season saw AC Milan win nine out of their 19 home fixtures, whilst drawing six and losing two. Away from home, Torino posted a record of six wins, three draws, and a whopping ten defeats.
Curiously, neither Montella nor Mihajlovic have a good record facing their respective upcoming opponents. Montella has only beaten Mihajlovic once in their past seven meetings and only won one out of his last seven ties against Torino. Mihajlovic, meanwhile, has gotten the upper hand versus Montella, with three wins and three draws in those last septet of clashes, but when it comes to AC Milan, it is a whole other story: three draws, and four losses.
For all intents and purposes, this looks like both sides could cancel each other out. A draw is not entirely out of the cards as both managers are still trying to get settled at their respective clubs.
AC Milan vs Torino: Tips
1. Both the Rossoneri and the Granata to score
2. Under 2.5 goals.