Stefano Pioli will hope to get his first win as AC Milan manager when SPAL visit the San Siro on Thursday.
Marco Giampaolo’s tenure at the club was short-lived. He was appointed in the summer, but Milan did not fare well under his management. Pioli was appointed as his replacement two weeks ago. His first game in charge was a home game against Lecce. It was a favorable game on paper, but it did not transpire as such on the pitch. Marco Calderoni netted a stoppage-time equalizer for Lecce to deny Pioli his first win as the manager.
Last week Milan traveled to Roma and lost 2-1. Theo Hernandez made it 1-1 in the second half for Milan, but Nicolo Zaniolo netted the winner for Roma. Milan dominated possession in the game, and they had four efforts on target. But Roma were more clinical and got the win. Pioli has opted to go with Rafael Leao as his striker in the first two games. Krzysztof Piatek has started both those games on the bench. He came on against Lecce and scored to make it 2-1.Embed from Getty Images
Piatek was in blazing form last season from Milan, and he has scored thrice in the league this season so far. Pioli must be considering giving him the start instead of Leao against SPAL. Hakan Calhanoglu and Suso started on the wings against Roma, and the same should continue against SPAL. Ante Rebic is another one who is making his case for a start, and Pioli will be tempted by him as well.
Milan are 13th as it stands, but SPAL are in a worse position. They are 19th in the table and relegation is staring them in the face already. SPAL have won just two games this season, and have got seven points. On the bright side, they are just a point behind Genoa who are in 17th place. It seems as though the relegation battle will be a tight one in the Serie A this season.
Four of the seven points SPAL have accumulated have come in the last three games. They faced Napoli in the last game and claimed a 1-1 draw. It was a credible result for SPAL, especially after considering the league position of both the teams. Arkadiusz Milik gave Napoli the lead before Jasmin Kurtic equalised for SPAL.
SPAL have conceded 16 goals so far in the league, and only two teams have allowed more goals. That leaky defence has been a major problem for coach Leonardo Semplici. Their away record is not encouraging either. SPAL have lost all their games on the road this season, which is good news for Milan.
AC Milan vs SPAL Prediction
Pioli should get his first win and Milan should get the three points against SPAL. The game will be tight, and the total goals should be Under 2.5 in the game. But SPAL won’t be able to hold on for the full game, and Milan should sneak a narrow win.