Milan and Juventus meet Saturday for the first time this season. Juventus, the four-time champions, have struggled this season, but have finally climbed into seventh place.
Part of the reason for Juventus' difficult start is a poor attack. This should be no surprise, however. When Carlos Tevez left Juventus over the summer to play at Boca Juniors, he took with him 29 goals. Juventus’s current strikers are not helping with this case at all. Paulo Dybala, who has been playing as a substitute, has the most goals for Juventus this season.
It is true that Alvaro Morata had a fantastic season last year, as did Mario Mandzukic, but even when these players' stats are put together from last year, they just barely surpassed Tevez’s goal count.
Milan is lucky it does not have to deal with Tevez, a small and skillful player who is fantastic at scoring goals and exploiting space. Mandzukic and Morata, are by no means poor players, however they are big individuals with a similar playing style (they both like to head the ball and have the ball rolling at their feet). Putting these players on together is like placing Carlos Bacca and Luiz Adriano on at the same time. Bacca and Adriano are both poachers, so Milan lacks creativity and an ability to find space when these players are on at the same time.
The amazing thing is, Juve’s attack is not the only area Juventus has been struggling.
Their defense has also been another vulnerability this season.
The Bianconeri have conceded 11 goals in their last 12 games. Juve have also made a habit of allowing opponents to score from their first shot on target. In seven of their games, they allowed the opponent to score on the first shot they faced.
Furthermore, the number of infringements Juventus have been making per game is absurd. According to Whoscored.com, only three teams have committed more than Juve’s 16.5 fouls per game.
With Milan’s aggressive 4-3-3 formation, Juve’s backline will be forced under a lot of pressure. Hopefully this will lead to an early goal like it has for other Serie A teams.
In addition to this positive characteristic, Milan’s Bacca is having a phenomenal season. Hopefully, he can have another strong performance on Saturday by eating Juve’s lunch.
Prediction: Milan wins 2-1.