Nov 1, 2020 at 11.30am UK
AC MilanAC Milan
De Paul (48' pen.)
Becao (24'), Arslan (39')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Kessie (18'), Ibrahimovic (83')
Hernandez (13'), Donnarumma (49')

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

:Headline: Preview: Udinese vs. AC Milan - prediction, team news, lineups: ID:420325: from db_amp
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Serie A encounter between Udinese and AC Milan, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Serie A leaders AC Milan travel to Stadio Friuli on Sunday to take on struggling Udinese as they look to continue their unbeaten start to the campaign.

Records are already beginning to tumble as the Zlatan Ibrahimovic-inspired Rossoneri seemingly cruise over every hurdle set both at home and abroad.

Luca Gotti's Zebrette, meanwhile, have sunk to one of the worst starts in their history.

Match preview

Milan have won four of their five league games this term, further continuing their irresistible post-lockdown trend - only under legendary coaches Fabio Capello (1995-96) and Carlo Ancelotti (2003-04) have they won five of their opening six games of a Serie A season since three points have been awarded for a win.

At the turn of the year, Stefano Pioli would not have been many fans' idea of a natural successor to those two great figures, but Sunday's game in Udine provides the ex-Inter boss with the perfect opportunity to join them in that regard.

Though held to a pulsating 3-3 draw by Roma last Monday, Milan have become nothing less than a free-scoring winning machine. Pioli's side have found the net in each of their last 25 league games, with their 59 goals coming at an average of 2.4 per match.

'King' Zlatan has been casually racking up braces with apparently the minimum of effort, adding his third one of the season in the Roma clash. The Swedish superstar has scored in each of his last five league games. Only two AC Milan players have enjoyed a longer such run in Serie A since the turn of the century - Andriy Shevchenko in 2001 and Ibra himself, in 2012.

After easing to a 3-0 win over Sparta Prague in their midweek Europa League assignment, with the increasingly influential Rafael Leao again on the score sheet for a much-changed XI, Milan can expect to find themselves confronted by an opposition with a similarly blunt attack and that are undoubtedly low on confidence.

Udinese, in fact, are faced with a potential record of their own this Sunday, as the Friulian side could possibly lose five of their opening six Serie A games of a season for just the third time in their long history.

They did manage to progress in the Coppa Italia this week - knocking out Serie B outfit Vicenza - to set up a fourth-round tie with Fiorentina in late November. It was brief respite from a difficult league campaign ravaged by injury and individual loss of form.

Despite striker Stefano Okaka finally finding the target, with a brace against Fiorentina last week, Udinese fell to another defeat at the hands of the Viola. They managed more possession and significantly more shots at goal than Beppe Iachini's hosts, but few were on target, as former go-to man Kevin Lasagna remains deeply lost in an ego-battering barren spell.

Okaka's significant aerial threat will be one of the few aspects of that game to exercise the pencils of the Milan scouts, as Gotti waits patiently for the other members of the ex-Watford contingent - Ignacio Pussetto, Roberto Pereyra and Gerard Deulofeu - to ignite.

Perhaps the only good news that precedent has to offer the hosts is that Milan have won only three of their last 12 league games at the Friuli - losing seven - with their most recent victory coming as far back as November 2018. Few would bet, though, that this Milan side will fail to journey home without maximum return from their latest encounter.

Udinese Serie A form: LLLWL
Udinese form (all competitions): LLLWLW

AC Milan Serie A form: WWWWD
AC Milan form (all competitions): DWWWDW

Team News

Several squad members' sparkling Europa League contributions have given Pioli something of a selection headache, as Rafael Leao and Alexis Saelemaekers continue to make themselves virtually indispensable and skilful Spanish pair Brahim Diaz and Samu Castillejo also vie for a start.

Last season's post-lockdown breakout star Ante Rebic has apparently completed his recovery from the lingering effects of an elbow dislocation and can re-join the squad, while Mateo Musacchio continues to rehabilitate after ankle surgery.

Influential goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, defender Matteo Gabbia and recent signing Jens Petter Hauge all return from quarantine, so Donnarumma's deputy Ciprian Tatarusanu will return to the bench.

The home side's substantial injury list has slowly began to subside of late, with midfielder Walace and goalkeeper Juan Musso among the latest to return.

Dutch defender Bram Nuytinck is edging closer to recovery after being out for several weeks with a quad injury, though will not be ready for Sunday.

Likewise, Sebastian Prodl and Mamadou Coulibaly are ruled out, with midfielders Mato Jajalo and Rolando Mandragora also unvailable for the Bianconeri. Therefore, Tolgay Arslan will continue in the centre of the park as part of Udinese's three-man midfield.

Udinese possible starting lineup:
Musso; Becao, De Maio, Samir; Molina, De Paul, Arslan, Pereyra, Ouwejan; Okaka, Lasagna

AC Milan possible starting lineup:
Donnarumma; Calabria, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Kessie, Bennacer; Saelemaekers, Calhanoglu, Leao; Ibrahimovic

We say: Udinese 0-2 AC Milan

Udinese certainly have their work cut out to deny marauding Milan the points in the early Sunday kickoff, as their season has been a virtual write-off so far.

Even if the 'King' does not bag another brace, Saelemakers, Rafael Leao, Hakan Calhanoglu and co have more than enough guile and drive to put limited opposition to the sword.

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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