AC Milan vs Juventus
2021 in Serie A kicks off with an almighty bang on Wednesday when league leaders Milan entertain champions Juventus.
This is a big match with potentially season defining consequences as I Rossoneri starts the game top of the league table and ten points ahead of Juventus, though the Old Lady has a game in hand.
The first round of Serie A 2021 results reverberated around Italy as all the big guns made a statement, Inter, Alalanta and Napoli winning 6-2, 5-1 and 4-1 respectively, while Milan and Juve also got off to victorious starts.
Milan’s selection worries
Stefano Pioli’s AC Milan are the only team in Europe’s big four leagues to remain unbeaten in the league. A late winner in a five goal thriller against Lazio kept I Rossoneri on top of the table at the turn of the year, and they followed that up with a 2-0 victory over Benevento on Sunday, Franck Kessie scoring an early penalty to send them on their way.
But Pioli will be without some key players for this big clash, notably top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic who has been struggling with a calf injury. Belgian winger Alexis Saelmakers is also doubtful, and new signing Sandro Tonali will sit the game out having picked up a straight red card for a knee-high assault on Benevento’s Artur Ionita; though centre back Simon Kjaer, who has been impressive this season, is back in contention.
If Ibrahimovic fails to make the cut, young striker Rafael Leao is likely to continue up front, with supply coming from Ante Rebic and Hakan Calhanoglu who has already contributed six assists this season.
Juve quickly in the groove
I Bianconeri is aiming for a tenth successive title and they have a big gap to close, but they kicked off the New Year with a highly impressive 4-1 victory over Udinese, inspired by Cristiano Ronaldo who scored a brace, while Federico Chiesa and Paulo Dybala were also on target.
Ronaldo leads the race for the Capocannoniere with 14 goals, and his form is crucial if the Old Lady is to mount a sustained challenge to the two Milan clubs.
The Serie A 2021 betting odds currently have Antonio Conte’s Inter favourites to lift the Scudetto, with AC Milan slightly behind and Juventus out at around 5.00, and Napoli still well in the hunt.
You’d think head coach Andrea Pirlo would be under pressure, particularly after Juventus were dealt a double blow as 2020 came to a close. First they went down to a shock 0-3 defeat at home to Fiorentina as Alex Sandro scored an own goal; and then they received the news that the suspended match between Juve and Napoli will be replayed rather than being counted as a walkover, so I Bianconeri lost three points. Had those two events gone in Juve’s direction they would come into this game just four points of the pace.
But they’ll back themselves to close the gap as Pirlo has a full squad to select from for this vital clash. Juan Cuadrado completed his suspension against Udinese while centre-back Merih Demiral is the last player to leave the treatment room having recovered from a muscle strain, and he could feature.
Juventus were highly successful in their Champions League group campaign, winning five matches to lead Group G ahead of Barcelona and that has given Pirlo some credit in his bank.
Juventus have had the better of the head to head meetings between these two giants of the Italian game, winning 35 of the 71 clashes, since 1993, with Milan winning 20 and there have been 16 draws.
I Rossoneri have not lost at home to Juve since 2018, fighting back to win the last meeting at the San Siro, 4-2.
But the Old Lady has a winning streak of three games on the road and the New Year may well have refocused Pirlo’s troops after a disappointing end to 2020.
|AC Milan vs Juventus||Juventus Asian Handicap -0.25 @ 2.05|
|January 7, 3:45 (GMT+8)|
Here at SBOTOP we have Juventus as favourites to win this game and end Milan’s unbeaten run, at odds of 2.29, while Milan are at 3.10 and the draw is 3.25.
With the hosts desperate to maintain their unbeaten record it promises to be a hard fought game and 2-3 goals at 1.96 could be a good alternative bet, while the most likely score-line is 1-1 at odds of 6.00.
But Milan has selection problems, and with a full squad to pick from I think I Bianconeri has a slight edge, and Pirlo knows a victory will blow the title race wide open.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:|
|= €20 (Highly confident)||= €10 (CONFIDENT)||= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)|
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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