Table-topping titans AC Milan meet Juventus as Allegri returns
AC Milan, 16/1 chances to win Serie A outright with Coral, have a 100 per cent record in Italy under Filippo Inzaghi this season. So do even-money title favourites, reigning champions and upcoming opponents Juventus, though.
Massimiliano Allegri (Max to his friends) has succeeded Antonio Conte as boss of the Turin giants, despite the dismal downturn Milan took under his charge, which led to his dismissal from the San Siro in January.
A Scudetto winner with the Rossoneri in 2011, Allegri subsequently sold off all their top talents and thoroughly failed to replace them. No wonder journalists use the euphemism of ‘divisive figure’ when talking about him, then.
Overlooked in favour of Conte for the top job of Italy national boss, Allegri has a tough act to follow at the Old Lady. He will take heart from Juve’s wonderful recent record against Milan, however. It’s four wins on the spin for the team from Turin in all competitions in this fixture, including a Serie A double over the Rossoneri last term.
Juventus are worthy 11/10 favourites for this encounter then, and 11/1 chances to repeat the 2-0 scoreline they recorded at the San Siro back in March. Former Manchester United and City star Carlos Tevez netted last that day, and bagged a winning Champions League brace in midweek. The Argentine attacker is 9/2 to round off the scoring here, and a 6/1 shot for two or more.
Although Allegri could come back to haunt Milan, playmaker Andrea Pirlo, who spent a decade with them, misses out as he recovers from injury. Fellow midfielder Arturo Vidal is a major doubt as well, which means Ghana’s Kwadwo Asamoah (7/1 for a goal here) could continue in the engine room with ex-Old Trafford defender Patrice Evra at left wing back.
Some commentators were surprised that Allegri retained the 3-5-2 formation used to great effect by predecessor Conte, but this approach continues to pay dividends. Juventus have won each of their three outings in all competitions to nil, so odds of 3/1 on them beating the Rossoneri without reply are hugely tempting.
Jeremy Menez, deemed surplus to requirements by PSG this summer, will give the Old Lady’s back three plenty to think about, however. The French forward has three goals and two assists in a couple of Milan outings. He is great value at 2/1 in the anytime market, and Inzaghi now has strong options in the final third.
Fernando Torres could make his Rossoneri debut in this encounter, with the Spaniard, on loan from Chelsea, a 12/5 chance to cap his bow with a goal. Stephan El Shaarawy, meanwhile, should return after missing the nine-goal thriller with Parma, and is 5/2 to score against Juve.
How Inzaghi can incorporate all these names, plus in-form Keisuke Honda (14/5 in the anytime market), into his starting XI remains to be seen. Milan are yet to keep a clean sheet this season, so if they are to get their first win in five over Juve, then it looks like being a win with both teams scoring at 6/1.