AC Milan vs Genoa: The Grifone pose a tricky test for the Rossoneri

M'Baye Niang
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AC Milan will be keen on getting back to winning ways as they welcome Genoa to the Stadio San Siro on Sunday afternoon, but they will have to be wary of a potential banana skin.

Despite Gian Piero Gasperini’s side sitting near the bottom of the table, the Grifone have beaten the Rossoneri in each and every single one of their last three games across all competitions. What’s more is that the visitors were able to maintain a consistent lead throughout those matches, but Genoa have some major concerns of their own. For starters, Gasperini’s team have failed to win 12 out of their last 13 matches on the road, and they have only picked up six points in their last five games.

A 270-minute scoreless run will have Gasperini concerned, and key striker Leonardo Pavoletti could not have gotten injured at a worse time, especially given that he had scored ten goals for the struggling side – nearly half of the team’s total of 24. Currently in 16th place, they are three points away from relegation candidates Frosinone – albeit with a game in hand – but they are not anywhere near safety, either, meaning that any slip-ups will cost them dearly.

In addition to the aforementioned Pavoletti, Gasperini will have to make do without the services of Cristian Ansaldi, also due to injury, and Tomas Rincon as a result of a ban. Meanwhile, his tactical opponent Siniša Mihajlović also has some major injury worries of his own. M’Baye Niang and Giacomo Bonaventura are both in doubt as to whether they will be able to feature, which could give a chance for Mario Balotelli and Kevin-Prince Boateng – both in their second spell with the Diavolo – to start.

After two straight wins without conceding a goal – the first time they have done so all season – Milan fans’ spirits were high, but a 1-1 draw with Udinese has brought back those old feelings of doubt. For the Zebrette, it certainly will have felt like a vital point one in their battle for survival, but for the Rossoneri, it will have felt like two points dropped and a missed chance to move closer to third.

Still, there are still 14 games remaining – 13 after Sunday’s fixture – which means in theory, there are still 42 points left to be won. Despite their bad record as of late against Genoa, Milan should be able to dig deep and grind out a win – it does not have to be pretty – in order to get back on track as they desperately seek to climb into that third place spot. With Roma sitting seven points clear, and Inter and Fiorentina playing after this fixture, this will be a must-win match for the hosts.

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Michelle Bonsu

Freelance football journalist based in New York. Primarily support AC Milan as well as the Ghanaian and Italian NT’s, but you’ll find me watching the Bundesliga and Premier League as well–enjoy a good game, regardless of where it’s being played. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of my favourite players.