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Match Preview: Milan Visit Struggling Carpi

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Following a discouraging midweek showing in the Coppa Italia, Milan head to Carpi with hopes of continuing their rise up the table.

Giacomo Bonaventura celebrates his goal against Crotone mid-week. Marco Luzzani/Getty Images
Giacomo Bonaventura celebrates his goal against Crotone mid-week. Marco Luzzani/Getty Images
Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Following last weekend's 4-1 rout of Sampdoria, Milan hope to make it two wins in two against newly promoted Carpi.The next few weeks leading up to the Christmas break have presented Milan with a run of very winnable fixtures that should see the Rossoneri end the calender year on a high for once - assuming everything goes to plan. Despite an uninspiring performance against Serie B side Crotone in Coppa Italia action earlier in the week, there are plenty of reasons for positivity ahead of Milan's trip to Modena on Sunday.

Sinisa Mihajlovic's men turned in their strongest performance of the season last weekend against Sampdoria, controlling the midfield and moving the ball forward with purpose when the opportunities presented themselves. The team appears to be gelling nicely, and M'Baye Niang in particular looks ready to stamp his authority on this team and vie for a regular starting spot alongside Carlos Bacca. The reintroduction of Giacomo Bonaventura following his suspension could prove decisive.

Milan have often had a hard time beating the minnows in recent seasons, with sides in the bottom half of the table frequently proving just as problematic as the ones at the top. Whether Carpi, who currently sit nineteenth in the Serie A with just nine points from fourteen matches, can cause Milan any significant problems is up for debate. However, tthey have improved significantly from the beginning of the season where they looked set to supersede Parma as the league's new whipping boys.

Whilst not conceding will surely be the priority for Carpi, their goal difference of -14, the joint worst in Serie A along with last-placed Hellas Verona, suggests that Milan shouldn't find it too difficult to break them down. Whether they can make an impact going forward will likely hinge on whether Marco Borriello, who's scored three goals in nine games for the Emilia-Romagna outfit this season, remembers his shooting boots or not.

A 2-1 win over Genoa last weekend and a Coppa Italia triumph over Vicenza mid-week will certainly afford them some confidence going into this fixture, and Milan must be wary of being complacent when facing such an opponent. This relatively easy run of matches offers an opportunity for Milan to build some real momentum at a time when the league is still wide open and thus could prove crucial come the end of the season.

Predicted Line-Ups:

Milan: 4-4-2 - Gianluigi Donnarumma; Ignazio Abate, Alex, Alessio Romagnoli, Mattia De Sciglio; Alessio Cerci, Juraj Kucka, Riccardo Montolivo, Giacomo Bonaventura; Carlos Bacca, M'Baye Niang.

Carpi: 4-4-2 - Vid Belec; Cristian Zaccardo, Simone Romagnoli, Riccardo Gagliolo, Gaetano Letizia; Lorenzo Pasciuti, Isaac Cofie, Lorenzo Lollo, Raphaele Martinho; Ryder Matos, Marco Borriello.

Score Prediction

Milan should show their superiority this time around. Carpi will like prove stubborn in defence and potentially troublesome going forward as well, but they should succumb sooner or later, either to a decisive goal from Bonaventura, or a moment of magic from Niang.

Carpi 0-1 Milan