Serie A table does not make pretty reading for Italian giants AC Milan, but the good news is they are searching for third successive league triumph under new boss Clarence Seedorf. Attempting to stop them from succeeding in their quest will be high-flying Torino, a team that climbed to sixth after back to back wins over Sassuolo and Atalanta.
Mario Balotelli missing
After producing an unbelievable comeback to achieve a top 3 finish last season, it looks as though the Rossoneri won’t be able to do it all over again, but at least they are still in contention for Europa League positions. The arrival of Clarence Seedorf seems to have marked the beginning of new era for the San Siro outfit and first signs under his reign have been more than positive. While nobody will be too concerned by the Coppa Italia exit at the hands of Udinese, back to back league wins over Hellas Verona and Cagliari seriously improved the atmosphere in the squad, especially as the players showed a lot of character in the process. AC Milan have been very active in the final days of the January transfer window, signing Michael Essien and Adel Taarabt, with Antonio Nocerino loaned to West Ham. The club are likely to have completed few more deals by the time the Torino game starts, but the current crop of players should prove sufficient to continue the good run against I Granata. And even though Mario Balotelli will certainly be missed, Giampaolo Pazzini can be trusted to do the job in his absence.
Mario Balotelli misses out through suspension, whilst Stephan El Shaarawy, Cristian Zapata, Matias Silvestre and Andrea Petagna are injured and Christian Abbiati is doubtful.
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D’Ambrosio leaves for Inter
Together with Hellas Verona, Torino are clearly the biggest surprise package of the season in Italian Serie A, although it is fair to say I Granata were expected to continue the uptrend in fortunes following some impressive displays last term. Nevertheless, not even the most optimistic fans could have predicted Giampiero Ventura’s side would be able to join the chase for European positions, but the reality is the team sit just one point behind fifth-placed Inter Milan. Torino’s attack-minded approach usually makes their games extremely interesting and packed with goals, but, oddly enough, I Granata have picked up seven points from last three matches, without conceding a single goal in the process. And while the likes of Immobile and Cerci are likely to prove a handful for Milan defence, I seriously doubt the visitors will be able to keep another clean sheet, especially with the Rossoneri having been given a new lease on life under Clarence Seedorf. Torino should have plenty of opportunities to hurt the hosts on the break, but I am not convinced their impressive run is going to continue.
Alessandro Gazzi is out with an ankle ligament injury, whereas Marcelo Larrondo is a major doubt as he battles a foot problem.
With so much quality and experience in their ranks, AC Milan only need a couple of good results in a row to kick-start their season and they can be trusted to keep the rich vein of form against Torino. I Granata have been exceeding expectations, but with key player Danilo D’Ambrosio leaving and their away form against top table sides far from impressive, their excellent run is about to end.
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