The international break has ended and Serie A will resume this weekend with week eight fixtures. Sunday evening, AC Milan will host Lecce at the Giuseppe Meazza. Both clubs are struggling to find wins at the moment as Lecce are in the relegation zone, while Milan are only three points from dropping to the bottom of the table as well.
In Milan’s last match versus Genoa, the Rossoneri came from behind to win the game. After conceding the first goal of the match, Milan was able to salvage a victory in the second half with Theo Hernandez and Franck Kessie scoring for Milan. It wasn’t a convincing win by any means but, surely, one which the Rossoneri fans will be glad to take and move on with.
Although Marco Giampaolo was able to win the match, it wasn’t enough to save his job. Over the break, Milan decided to part ways with Giampaolo after a poor start by the club. Through the first seven games, Milan were inconsistent and Giampaolo looked confused on the sideline in most matches, which led fans to be impatient with the results. The Rossoneri enter this match with a record of 3-0-4 and will look to improve under new manager Stefano Pioli.
The newly appointed manager has been without a team since last season after being fired by Fiorentina. Pioli will come into this match with a lot of experience previously managing Lazio, Inter Milan and Fiorentina. The Italian coach has been known to help clubs that need a short-term fix. While he has always been a mid table type of coach, this opportunity may be one where he hopes to be successful.
As for Lecce, they look to rebound after two losses since their victory against SPAL in week five. Their recent loss to Atalanta had a late goal from Fabio Lucioni, however, it was more of a consolation goal with the game out of reach at 3-0. Lecce will need a stronger performance from their squad if they are to get out of the relegation zone.
Fortunately for Lecce, they will play a squad that is very fragile at the moment. Although a new coach is now appointed, Lecce will need to take advantage if they want to capitalize with at least a draw or win.
Injuries and suspensions
Unavailable: Calabria (Suspended), Samu Castillejo (Suspended), Caldara (Injured)
Doubtful: Fiamozzi (Injured), Tabanelli (Injured), Lapadula (Injured), Imbula (Injured)
Predicted Starting Lineups
AC Milan (4-3-3): G.Donnarumma – Hernandez, Conti, Romagnoli, Musacchio – Biglia, Paqueta, Kessie – Rebic, Suso, Piatek.
Lecce (4-3-1-2): Gabriel – Calderoni, Rossettini, Lucioni, Rispoli – Tachtsidis – Petriccione, Majer – Mancosu – Babacar, Falco
Players to watch for
Pioli makes his anticipated home debut at the Giuseppe Meazza in front of over 70,000 fans. The new coach will want to have a good start to this match to gain the support of the fans. After seven games where the identity of the team has been poor, it will be interesting to see how Pioli prepares his squad for this match. Although some of his players were on international duty during the past two weeks, the coach should have a clear game plan in place.
While playing under Giampaolo, Suso was used in a position that wasn’t suited to his strengths. With Pioli now as coach, the forward will most likely return to his position as right wing, which will help his game as he will be playing a familiar role. This should help his game as he will be playing his familiar role. A fresh start might just be what the forward needs as he’s only had one assist and no goals this season.
Marco Mancosu has enjoyed his start to the season for the Giallorossi as he’s scored four goals in seven matches. A welcome surprise for Lecce as they have found it difficult to find goals this season. His strong play has been noticeable in the midfield and if Lecce are to have a chance of winning against Milan on Sunday, they will need their midfielder to continue his exciting start to the season.