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Nov 20, 2021 at 7.45pm UK
AC MilanAC Milan
Duncan (15'), Saponara (45+1'), Vlahovic (60', 85')
Castrovilli (90+5')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Ibrahimovic (62', 67'), Venuti (90+6' og.)
Hernandez (90+5')

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

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

Sitting seven points clear of the chasing pack upon Serie A's resumption, joint-leaders AC Milan continue their Scudetto quest with a trip to Tuscany, where they meet Fiorentina on Saturday evening.

Level on points with Napoli at the summit of the standings, the Rossoneri have won 10 of their 12 league games following a Milan Derby draw, while their inconsistent hosts have both won and lost half of their fixtures.

Match preview

As they resume a so-far successful start to the Serie A campaign at Stadio Artemio Franchi this weekend, Milan are not only within touching distance of the top, but also lead city rivals Inter by seven points after the Derby della Madonnina ended in a 1-1 draw earlier this month.

The two Milanese clubs shared the spoils following an intense affair at San Siro, where a goal for either side during the first half-hour - including one by ex-Rossonero Hakan Calhanoglu, who switched sides in the summer - determined the scoreline.

A previous run of seven straight league wins was only punctuated by a faltering showing upon their long-awaited return to the Champions League, and - after this weekend's tussle with Fiorentina - Stefano Pioli's men are now approaching four consecutive games against clubs in the bottom half of the standings.

On Saturday, Milan could become the second team in top-flight history to win 16 away games in a single calendar year, after Napoli racked up 18 four years ago. They are also one of just two sides yet to lose a single point from a winning position in Serie A so far this term, so are particularly ruthless once in front.

Furthermore, the Rossoneri will remember pulling off the double over their Tuscan counterparts last season, with a 2-0 home win being followed by March's 3-2 comeback win at the Franchi, when the now-departed Calhanoglu scored the winner.

Amid press reports that both Pioli and his on-field talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic are set to extend their stays at San Siro by signing new contracts, it is a settled squad that will now attempt to prolong an unbeaten run in Florence which stretches back to August 2015.

An unpredictable proposition under attack-minded coach Vincenzo Italiano, Fiorentina return from the international break with top scorer Dusan Vlahovic buoyed by playing a part in Serbia's progress to the World Cup finals next year.

The much-admired forward had previously netted a hat-trick in a 3-0 win over Spezia in the Viola's last home game, which followed his goal versus Cagliari a week earlier.

Those home successes against the league's lesser lights came in a spell during which Fiorentina also suffered 1-0 losses to Lazio and Juventus, and they continue a tricky run of fixtures this weekend.

Serie A's eighth-placed side are, though, set to avoid any other members of the top eight until after the winter break, so a streak of wins could be set to sustain their renaissance since Italiano took charge.

Nonetheless, the Tuscans must first tackle a team they have only beaten twice in their last 11 league meetings, losing on six occasions during that time. If they are to improve such a record, Vlahovic's input will surely be integral to their hopes, and his eight goals have effectively been worth nine points to Fiorentina this season - more than any other player has contributed in Serie A this term.

Fiorentina Serie A form:
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L

AC Milan Serie A form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D

AC Milan form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • D

Team News

Though a couple of key men remain sidelined for Milan this week, ex-Fiorentina coach Stefano Pioli has been boosted by the return to fitness of Alessio Romagnoli after an adductor problem forced him to miss the derby. He is set to start on the bench, but as Fikayo Tomori has been ruled out by a hip injury, so Matteo Gabbia and Simon Kjaer will instead start in central defence.

First-choice goalkeeper Mike Maignan and captain Davide Calabria are still out of action, though, so Ciprian Tatarusanu and Pierre Kalulu should deputise for the absent pair.

After an injury-hit start to his Rossoneri career, surprise summer signing Junior Messias is nearing a return and could be passed fit to appear from the bench; adding to his fifteen minutes played so far in the famous red and black shirt.

Up front, Zlatan Ibrahimovic gets the nod ahead of Olivier Giroud, while Alexis Saelemaekers will hope to return to the first XI after being dropped for the draw with Inter.

Fiorentina, meanwhile, are currently suffering a defensive crisis similar to that recently experienced by their visitors and will be forced to line up using their 13th different selection in as many league games.

Head coach Vincenzo Italiano's hand has, this time, been forced by the circumstances, because Nikola Milenkovic must serve a suspension for his dismissal versus Juventus and Lucas Martinez Quarta is also banned. Not only that, but injury has befallen back-up defender Matija Nastasic, so Igor and full-back Lorenzo Venuti are expected to comprise a makeshift central pairing in the hosts' back four.

There is some good news for the Viola, though, as Nicolas Gonzalez has recovered from a COVID-19 infection which kept the summer signing in isolation for over two weeks. Having passed protocols on his return to fitness, the ex-Stuttgart winger should play a part from the bench - bolstering a front three led by the irrepressible Dusan Vlahovic.

Fiorentina possible starting lineup:
Terracciano; Odriozola, Venuti, Igor, Biraghi; Bonaventura, Torreira, Castrovilli; Callejon, Vlahovic, Saponara

AC Milan possible starting lineup:
Tatarusanu; Kalulu, Kjaer, Gabbia, Hernandez; Tonali, Kessie; Saelemaekers, Diaz, Leao; Ibrahimovic

We say: Fiorentina 2-2 AC Milan

Injury concerns at the back may undermine their cause, but Fiorentina play an enterprising brand of football when the opportunity arises, and can take confidence from a positive home record which features two recent wins by a 6-0 aggregate scoreline.

Milan, of course, are of a different calibre than Cagliari and Spezia, but the Rossoneri may be held again this weekend due to their hosts' impressive attacking options, which have seen them average two goals per game on Florentine soil.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 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.Over 2.5:data

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