AC Milan host Juventus as reigning Serie A champions on Saturday afternoon for the first time in 11 years.

Stefano Pioli’s side go into the weekend trailing the division’s early pace-setters, Napoli and Atalanta, in fifth but with four more points than their upcoming visitors.

Massimiliano Allegri was in the home dugout the last time the Rossoneri welcomed Juve to San Siro as Scudetto holders. Some were beginning to suggest Allegri’s tactics have scarcely evolved in the subsequent decade but back-to-back victories with three goals in each outing has quelled the crisis talk in Turin – for now.

Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming meeting between two of Italy’s biggest clubs.

Milan: 2 Wins
Juventus: 1 Win
Draws: 2

Milan: WWLWL
Juventus: DLLWW

The absence of goalkeeper Mike Maignan and Theo Hernandez was sorely felt during Milan’s limp defeat against Chelsea in midweek. Reports suggest that Hernandez will make his return against Juve but the Rossoneri lost Alexis Saelemaekers (knee), Davide Calabria and Simon Kjaer (both hamstring) to injury against Empoli last weekend.

Junior Messias isn’t expected back from a calf problem until the end of the month while Alessandro Florenzi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are unlikely to feature before the World Cup.

Milan Starting 11 (4-2-3-1): Tatarusanu; Dest, Kalulu, Tomori, Ballo-Toure; Bennacer, Tonali; De Ketelaere, Diaz, Leao; Giroud.
Bench: Mirante, Krunic, Rebic, Origi, Pobega, Gabbia, Gala, Coubis, Jungdal.

Angel Di Maria marked his return from injury in the Champions League with a hat-trick of assists but the Argentine playmaker is suspended in Serie A following his red card against Monza.

Mattia De Sciglio tore his quadriceps against Maccabi Haifa, seeing him join long-term absentees Kaio Jorge and Marley Ake in the treatment room. Paul Pogba and Federico Chiesa are expected to be available for the trip to Benfica at the end of October, which – *checks calendar* – rules them out for Saturday’s showdown.

Juventus Starting 11 (4-4-2): Szczesny; Danilo, Bremer, Bonucci, Sandro; McKennie, Locatelli, Rabiot, Kostic; Milik, Vlahovic.
Bench: Perin, Cuadrado, Kean, Miretti, Rugani, Soule, Paredes, Gatti, Fagioli.

Pioli defiantly insisted that Milan “have the opportunity to prove what kind of a team we are on Saturday”. Just as one defeat – however uninspiring – doesn’t define Milan, a pair of wins for Juve against Bologna and Maccabi Haifa isn’t quite the rebirth Italy’s sports dailies are screaming about.

The reintroduction of Hernandez would prevent Milan’s attack from slipping into a one-dimensional enterprise led solely by Rafael Leao. The Rossoneri may be missing important personnel elsewhere on the pitch but the reigning champions are favourites to puncture Juve’s resurgence in its infancy.

Prediction: Milan 1-0 Juventus


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