Tuesday, June 15
Aug 29, 2015 at 7.45pm UK
AC Milan
Bacca (16'), Adriano (69')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Saponara (20')

Preview: AC Milan vs. Empoli

:Headline: Preview: AC Milan vs. Empoli: ID:242241: from db_amp
Sports Mole looks ahead to this weekend's Serie A match between AC Milan and Empoli.

AC Milan and Empoli will both be looking for their first wins of the Serie A season after suffering disappointing results on the opening weekend.

The Rossoneri were beaten by Fiorentina in Sinisa Mihajlovic's first league game as manager, while the Azzurri surrendered the lead in an eventual defeat against Chievo.

AC Milan

There is a huge amount of pressure on Milan to perform this season, after missing out on European qualification for the past two Serie A campaigns and getting nowhere near their title rivals.

The Rossoneri have invested heavily in their playing squad this summer, with the likes of Carlos Bacca and Luiz Adriano joining, while Mihajlovic has taken over from the much-maligned Filippo Inzaghi.

Heading into their opening match of the season against Fiorentina last Sunday, there were many suggesting that the club were capable of pushing for a Champions League spot, and possibly even challenging for the title.

However, that early optimism was soon crushed, as they slipped to a 2-0 defeat away to the Viola. They played the majority of the match with 10 men after Rodrigo Ely's first-half red card, although their opponents were in control before the sending-off.

The result may have been the trigger to push Mihajlovic into the transfer market, as earlier today the Rossoneri completed a season-long loan for their former striker Mario Balotelli from Liverpool.

The 25-year-old may not have been the most popular choice among the fans after his exit from the club last summer, but his record of 30 goals in 54 games during his first spell in Milan cannot be argued against.

Recent form: L


Despite last season's unexpected success in the top flight, many are predicting Empoli to struggle this time around, as they cope with a number of changes to their playing squad and backroom staff.

The Azzurri suffered a huge blow when manager Maurizio Sarri joined Napoli in June, and they were depleted further when key players Mirko Valdifiori and Elseid Hysaj followed him to the Partenopei.

Marco Giampaolo was soon hired and given the task of keeping the club up, but his first match ended in disappointment as Empoli crashed out in the third round of the Coppa Italia to Serie B outfit Vicenza.

They looked to get over that upset last weekend, as they began their Serie A campaign with a home clash against Chievo, whom they had beaten 3-0 when the teams last met in February.

Things started off well for the Azzurri as Riccardo Saponara gave them an early lead, but a second-half fightback from the visitors saw them eventually fall to a 3-1 defeat.

They have now lost five of their last six games in Serie A, and a return to form before the international break would be a welcome boost, especially with a clash against Sarri's Napoli to come when domestic business resumes.

Recent form: L

Team News

Balotelli is expected to be in the Milan squad after joining from Liverpool, but he is likely to start the match on the bench.

The Rossoneri will have to make do without the suspended Ely, so Cristian Zapata should replace him in the centre of the defence.

Giampaolo could make changes to his side following last weekend's defeat, but Massimo Maccarone should keep his place in the attack.

Manuel Pucciarelli and Saponara will be expected to provide him with support as they make up a five-man midfield.

AC Milan possible starting lineup:
Lopez, De Sciglio, Zapata, Romagnoli, Antonelli, De Jong, Bertolacci, Bonaventura, Honda, Adriano, Bacca

Empoli possible starting lineup:
Skorupski, Zambelli, Martinelli, Barba, Rui, Zielinski, Maeillo, Croce, Saponara, Pucciarelli Maccarone

Head To Head

Both of the league meetings between the clubs last season ended in draws, with the home side having a player sent off on each occasion.

The most recent of those games came at San Siro in February, where a second-half goal from Maccarone helped Empoli to salvage a 1-1 draw.

Milan have enjoyed a good record over the Azzurri in recent years and they have lost just two of the past 16 meetings between the clubs.

We say: AC Milan 1-0 Empoli

Milan will be hoping to put their disappointing start to the season behind them with an impressive showing in front of their home supporters. Their new players will take time to settle and it could be a while before they are at their best. It is a match that is expected to be tight, and Empoli could prove hard to break down, but we expect Milan to have just enough to pick up their first win of the campaign.

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Serie A Table
1 38287389355491
2 38247774413379
3 38239690474378
4 38239677383978
5 38245986414577
6 38215126155668
7 381881268581062
8 381711106456862
9 38157165254-252
10 381112154648-245
11 381012164758-1142
12 381011175165-1441
13 38913164759-1240
14 381010184258-1640
15 38912175272-2039
16 38910194359-1637
17 38716155069-1937
18 38712194075-3533
19 3865274592-4723
20 38311243983-4420
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2 341810669442564
3 34188857352262
4 341610871442758
5 34168105546956
6 341410105144752
7 34156136355851
8 34156134949051
9 341211115345847
10 34138135156-547
11 341111124651-544
12 34128144453-944
13 34126165351242
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18 3467213769-3225
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