Despite floundering in the Serie A, Milan stand in good stead to progress to the latter stages of the Coppa Italia and attain European qualification via an alternative route. Having dispatched with Sampdoria in the round of 16, Milan will play host to Carpi in the quarter finals of the competition on Wednesday night. Whilst the Rossoneri struggled to overcome the relegation struggling side when they faced off in the league at the beginning of December, it seems unlikely that lightning will strike twice for the Biancorossi. Should Milan beat Carpi on Wednesday, they will face one of La Spezia or Alessandria in the semi final to round off a relatively easy run to the final. For that reason this is a match that Milan absolutely must win, by hook or by crook.
Sinisa Mihajlovic's position remains precarious going into this fixture and once again, it looks as if his job could be riding on a good showing in this match. Milan's performance in the competition so far this season, has however been erratic. An uninspiring 2-0 victory over Perugia was followed up by a 3-1 win over Crotone. Despite securing victories in both games, Milan looked little better than the Serie B sides they beat and were similarly fortunate to beat Sampdoria in the round of 16, having struggled for much of the 90 minutes to eventually defeat the Blucerchiati 2-0. Carpi aren't the toughest of opponents, but they managed to defeat a strong Fiorentina side in the previous round in order to get to this stage and thus Milan should remain wary of a potential giant killing.
Given the team's struggles in the previous rounds, Mihajlovic will most likely field a strong starting XI comprised of regular first team players, rather than risk a second string side under performing against a Carpi team that will be eager to make an impression at the San Siro. Luca Antonelli's return to the team should see Ignazio Abate dropped following a poor run of form, whereas Christian Abbiati will probably be given a run out instead of Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Carpi will almost certainly follow a similar blueprint to that which they used to beat Milan in December, fielding a 4-4-1-1 and attempting to pressurise Milan into making mistakes and giving the ball away whilst remaining compact at the back. If Milan are to improve and secure a result here, then they must take their chances. Profligacy has cost Milan dearly all season long, with only Carlos Bacca seemingly able to hit the target with any consistency. Milan will have chances against Carpi undoubtedly, but failure to take them could spell the end for Milanisti's hope of silverware this season.
Things to remember & How to watch
Venue: Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milan, Italy.
Time: 9:00pm CET - 3:00pm ET
TV: Rai 2 (Italy), Sky Sports 1 HD(U.K.).
Online: Rai 2 (Italy), Sky Go Extra, Now TV (U.K.), Bet365 (International).
Milan: 4-4-2 - Christian Abbiati; Mattia De Sciglio, Philippe Mexes, Alessio Romagnoli, Luca Antonelli; Keisuke Honda, Andrea Bertolacci, Jurak Kucka, Giacomo Bonaventura; M'Baye Niang, Carlos Bacca.
Carpi: 4-4-1-1 - Vid Belec; Cristian Zaccardo, Simone Romagnoli, Riccardo Gagliolo, Gaetano Letizia; Lorenzo Pasciuti, Isaac Cofie, Luca Marrone, Antonio Di Gaudio; Lorenzo Lollo; Jerry Mbakogu.
Taken chances has been the issue in recent weeks for Milan. Carlos Bacca suffers from no such issues though and you'd bet on him scoring the winner against Carpi.
Milan 1-0 Carpi