The international break is over and Serie A returns with a big heavyweight contest on Saturday, as Milan travel to Turin to face Juventus.
The Juventus Machine Continues to Gather Pace:
After what can only be described as a disastrous start to the new campaign, Juventus are slowly climbing the Serie A table and look set after all, to make a strong defence of their title. The best football betting sites currently price them at *5.00 to be crowned champions again next May. Back to back wins for the first time this season against Torino and Empoli respectively, has steadied the ship and put the Bianconeri back on course, pointing them in the right direction in the Serie A table. With coach Massimo Allegri now getting all his first-team squad 100% match fit, the early season despondency that surrounded the camp totally disappeared, as the club enters a critical phase in their season both domestically and in Europe, where they stand on the verge of qualification to the knock-out phase of the Champions League.
Keep calm & trust in Mihajlovic
Just over a month ago, you would have got short odds on the betting exchanges for Serbian tactician Sinisa Mihajlovic to make it to November as coach of Milan. Four unbeaten games later (since the 1-0 derby defeat to Inter) and the Rossoneri now look genuine contenders for a Champions League place next season. Of course, the hierarchy at the club have stated that his job was never in question, but hindsight is a wonderful thing and nobody will be more aware of that than Mihajlovic himself. After a devastating away win in the capital against Lazio, the club were held to a 0-0 home draw against Atalanta last time out; a result that left the boss more philosophical than disappointed as he told reporters after that “ in football you are only remembered for your last game.” If that’s the case, then a win in Turin on Saturday, will certainly stick in the minds of many.
With legendary goalkeeper Gigi Buffon passed fit to play, Allegri received more good news ahead of the weekend, when Swiss defender Stephan Lichtsteiner and Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic also returned to training with the first-team. The Old Lady’s only injury concern rests with Uruguayan full-back Martin Caceres, who looks set to sit this one out with midfielders Roberto Pereyra and Asamoah.
Milan remain without controversial Italian frontman Mario Balotelli, after he underwent surgery in Munich this week to cure a hernia problem. Dutch hard man Nigel de Jong, is also an absentee after he picked up a thigh injury playing for his country in midweek; he joins Jeremy Menez, Andrea Bertolacci and Diego Lopez in the stands. Mihajlovic is set to keep faith with 16-year-old goalkeeping sensation Gianluigi Donnarumma, who is still sleeping at boarding school.
PROBABLE STARTING XI’S
Juventus (4-3-3) Buffon; Evra, Chiellini, Bonucci, Lichtsteiner; Pogba, Marchisio, Khedira; Morata, Mandzukic, Cuadrado
Milan (4-3-3) Donnarumma; Antonelli, Romagnoli, Alex, Abate; Bonaventura, Montolivo, Kucka; Niang, Bacca, Cerci
HEAD TO HEAD
The J Stadium is a fortress, having been only breached once in the last 38 games played there. Milan’s last victory against the Old Lady in Turin was back in March 2011, when Gennaro Gattuso scored the only goal of the contest. Mihajlovic will be all too aware of his side’s poor recent record against Juventus, having lost five of the last six in all competitions.
Juventus 1.61 Draw 3.60 Milan 6.50
*odds courtesy of Bet365
Steve Mitchell (@barafundler)