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Nov 29, 2020 at 2pm UK
AC MilanAC Milan
Romagnoli (17'), Kessie (28' pen.)
Rebic (45+2'), Kessie (71')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Pezzella (25'), Castrovilli (52'), Biraghi (86'), Amrabat (90+1')

Preview: AC Milan vs. Fiorentina - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: AC Milan vs. Fiorentina - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Serie A clash between AC Milan and Fiorentina, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Serie A's supreme leaders AC Milan welcome Fiorentina to San Siro on Sunday afternoon as hot favourites to sweep aside an underwhelming Viola side.

Even the return of experienced former coach Cesare Prandelli has failed to significantly uplift the Tuscan club as yet, while Milan's unbeaten league record grows ever longer.

Match preview

As a marker of just how fast the record-breaking Rossoneri's start to the season has been, Stefano Pioli's team have picked up 20 points in their opening eight matches for just the second time in the three points for a win era - the first occasion since 2003-04, when they went on to claim the Scudetto.

Only Milan and Atletico Madrid are still without defeat in the top five European leagues since football resumed post-lockdown - with 20 unbeaten games for the Rossoneri, 19 for the Colchoneros.

Not only that, but they have scored in each of their last 28 league matches - only between December 1972 and December 1973 have Milan been on a longer such streak in Serie A. With that record set at 29 consecutive games, few would back against them matching it when Fiorentina come to town this weekend.

Though in midweek a much-changed XI took to the field for a 1-1 draw at Lille in the Europa League, Milan are still basking in their impressive triumph at Napoli's soon-to-be-renamed San Paolo last Sunday.

A definitive 3-1 win was sealed thanks to another Zlatan Ibrahimovic-dominated showing, in which the hosts were reduced to ten men while in pursuit of an equaliser - former Rossoneri loanee Tiemoue Bakayoko being the man dismissed for Napoli.

Milan's Swedish superstar is the league's top scorer with 10 goals, but will now miss several weeks' action due to a thigh injury - a void in presence and goals return which Pioli must somehow fill adequately.

Winger Ante Rebic started up front in France and may again be tasked with the mammoth job of replacing 'King Zlatan' against something of a bogey side for his club. Milan have won only five of their last 18 games against Fiorentina in Serie A - losing seven - after previously racking up seven consecutive wins between 2008 and 2011.

After the inevitable dismissal of Beppe Iachini by president Rocco Commisso - and the subsequent appointment of Cesare Prandelli, which has been far from popular with the Viola faithful - Fiorentina have accumulated only eight points in eight games, leaving them 15th in the table.

Former Azzurri coach Prandelli's first outing against Benevento proved a major disappointment, resulting in a 1-0 defeat against the top-flight newcomers. Incidentally, the last Viola manager to lose both their first two games in charge was Milan's current boss Pioli in 2017.

Fiorentina have been short of league success since the fifth round, when they beat struggling Udinese 3-2 at Stadio Artemio Franchi. For the first time since, in midweek, Fiorentina were victorious - once more against Udinese, in the Coppa Italia.

That extra-time win at the Dacia Arena was achieved with a full-strength side - a measure of Prandelli's desperation to turn the tide of negative feeling at the club. However, too great a reliance on veteran talisman Franck Ribery must be overcome if the Tuscan team are to sustainably challenge for anything other than the safety of mid-table.

Sunday certainly will not be the time for the wily Prandelli to engage in expansive football, as they enter the lions' den armed with little more than a blunted toothpick. Only Zlatan's absence is a cause for Fiorentina optimism, while Milan must learn to survive and prosper without their iconic number 11.

AC Milan Serie A form: WWDWDW
AC Milan form (all competitions): WWLDWD

Fiorentina Serie A form: LDWLDL
Fiorentina form (all competitions): WWLDLW

Team News

Though Milan's main man Zlatan Ibrahimovic is out through injury having previously missed a chunk of the season with COVID-19, Belgian winger Alexis Saelemaekers is close to recovery from an ankle knock picked up against Napoli last Sunday and could return to the lineup this weekend.

Injured Ismael Bennacer and Samu Castillejo have been excluded from the squad list as the Algerian midfielder has picked up a muscle injury and Castillejo has a minor knee problem.

Ante Rebic is likely to start up front in the absence of Ibrahimovic and Rafael Leao, while Saelemaekers - if fit - and Rade Krunic could take the support slots in a 4-2-3-1 setup for coach Stefano Pioli - who remains in self-isolation.

His opposite number, Prandelli, will essentially have a full squad at his disposal. He must therefore decide whether or not to include main protagonist Franck Ribery from the start after injury and which one of Dusan Vlahovic and Christian Kouame will start in attack.

Ex-Rossoneri man Giacomo Bonaventura, like Ribery, picked up a knock last weekend but should be fit for at least a spot on the visitors' bench.

AC Milan possible starting lineup:
Donnarumma; Calabria, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Kessie, Bennacer; Krunic, Calhanoglu, Saelemakers; Rebic

Fiorentina possible starting lineup:
Dragowski; Lirola, Milenkovic, Pezzella, Biraghi; Amrabat, Pulgar, Castrovilli; Callejon, Ribery, Kouame

We say: AC Milan 2-0 Fiorentina

How Milan react to life without Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be intriguing - both in terms of their approach to attack and in the on-field leadership shown by an otherwise youthful side.

The visit of a mostly mediocre Fiorentina may be the ideal time to find out, so there is little reason to suspect the Rossoneri's long unbeaten run will finally fall at San Siro on Sunday.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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