After the team’s gut-wrenching loss to Bayern Munich in the knock out stages of the Champions League, Juve have responded with victories over Serie A sides Torino and Empoli. The Bianconeri won both games by a combined score of 5-1.
Gianluigi Buffon’s domestic scoreless streak may have ended, but that hasn’t fazed the Turin-based giants.
While Juve is playing well at the moment, Milan—to put it plainly—are not.
Over the Rossoneri’s last four contest, the San Siro tenants have drawn two and lost two. Milan lost on the road to Sassuolo before sharing the spoils in games against Chievo and Lazio. Following the two draws, the northern club dropped an away fixture to Atalanta. All told, during the four-game winless streak, Milan have scored two goals. In fact, one of the two strikes was a penalty by Luiz Adriano.
From an offensive standpoint, Milan will need to play much better to crack a Juve defense that features Buffon and an excellent assortment of defenders, including Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Alex Sandro, Daniele Rugani, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Patrice Evra.
The key for the Rossoneri could be getting Adriano on the scoresheet. Milan has only lost one game in which the Brazilian has scored or assisted on a goal. However, the forward simply hasn’t done enough to impact the bottom line, with just six goals and four assists in 24 games across all competitions. This is clearly not what Milan were expecting when they signed the forward in the summer transfer window.
Return of Allegri
While no current players on either side have worn the other team’s shirt, Juve’s manager Max Allegri was previously in charge at the San Siro.
The Italian was initially met with skepticism when he was appointed in Turin, but he’s been fantastic at the helm for the Bianconeri. Allegri came one game short of leading Juve to a domestic and continental treble last season, and has been solid in his second season.
After a slow start, Juve are back in the driver’s seat in Serie A with a six point cushion over closest challengers Napoli.
The game represents a significant opportunity for both teams. For Juventus, the team can potentially build on the team’s lead over Napoli. With the season winding down, every point is crucial.
For Milan, it might be the team’s last chance to make an assault on the top four. Sitting at 49 points, the Rossoneri aren’t going to catch Juve. However, they could make a run at surpassing Fiorentina or arch-rivals Inter Milan. Fiorentina have 56 points while Inter have 55. Should Milan lose against Juve, they will essentially remove themselves from contention for a top-four place. Additionally, with a loss, the team could slip below Sassuolo, who have 48 points.