Stefano Pioli will begin his tenure at AC Milan when they host promoted side Lecce at the San Siro on Sunday.
After sacking Gennaro Gattuso in the summer, Milan appointed Marco Giampaolo as the manager for the new season. The season did not start well for them, as they are in 13th place after seven games. Giampaolo was trusted with the demands to take Milan back to where they belong, but he failed to deliver. Milan have not featured in the Champions League since 2014. For two years in between, they were unable to qualify for any European competition at all.
Last season Milan finished in fifth place, narrowly missing Champions League qualification by a single point. It appeared as though they were on the rise, and Giampaolo was trusted to nurture that. But it is clear that Milan went downwards since his appointment. The hierarchy at the club has now turned to Stefano Pioli to take Milan out of the doldrums. Pioli is an experienced manager in Italy, and he has managed clubs like Inter and Lazio in the past. His last club was Fiorentina, where he was the coach for two seasons.
Funnily enough, Giampaolo’s last match in charge ended in a win. Milan travelled to face Genoa and recorded a 2-1 win. They were trailing to Lasse Schone’s goal and mounted a comeback. Theo Hernandez equalized and Franck Kessie scored the winner from the penalty spot to hand Milan the three points. The win was only their third one this campaign in the league.
As for Lecce, life in the top flight has proven to be tough so far. They finished second in the Serie B last season to make the jump to the Serie A. Seven games in; they are in 18th place. Lecce have won just two games this season, and at this rate, they will soon return to the Serie B.
Lecce claimed their first win of the season when they traveled to the Olimpico di Torino to face Torino. Diego Farias and Marco Mancosu scored to hand Lecce a 2-1 win. Their second win came two weeks after at the Stadio Paolo Mazza against SPAL. Two penalties from Mancosu and a goal from Marco Calderoni gave their side a 3-1 win. It was a hard-fought victory as SPAL dominated possession for most of the game.
Lecce have conceded 15 goals this season, and only one side in the league have let in more. On the offensive end, they are heavily reliant on Mancosu for goals. The striker has scored more than half the tally of Lecce’s goals this campaign.
AC Milan vs Lecce Prediction
Milan have dominated the head to head encounter against Lecce in the past decade, and the same should continue on Sunday. They are not in the best of places, but Piolo should get his first win as manager against Lecce. The total goals should be under 2.5 and Lecce will find it tough to score.