After folding in embarrassing fashion to Sassuolo last weekend, Milan need to respond immediately if they are to remain relevant in the chase for Serie A's final Champions League place. With Roma beginning to pull away from the chasing pack in the race for third, it is looking increasingly likely that Milan will have to settle for a Europa League place, but concentration must not drop amongst the players throughout this late run-in. Milan have consistently gotten the better of Chievo in recent years and hopefully this encounter will be no different.
The Flying Donkeys have been trundling along inconspicuously for most of the season, maintaining a steady mid table position and grinding out results in a style that, whilst functional is very effective. For a side who've often flirted with relegation in recent years, they're enjoying a stellar season and this will not be quite the same easy game that it would be usually. When the two played at the San Siro back in October, it took a very fortunate first half goal from Luca Antonelli to break the deadlock. The Gialloblu's resolute defending and counter-attacking bluster were enough to keep Milan largely at bay and at home this could prove more successful still.
Milan have their own problems coming into this fixture. Aside from the constant speculation looming over Sinisa Mihajlovic (who will incidentally serve a touchline ban for this match), injury problems look likely to force a change of tact from the Rossoneri. M'Baye Niang's ankle injury has thrown a spanner in the works tactically speaking and the lack of other reliable options in his position may lead the manager to revert to the 4-3-3 formation utilized earlier in the season to mixed results. Similarly the poor form of Carlos Bacca has cast some doubt over who should be leading the line for Milan right now. The use of a three man midfield is also a huge risk without Riccardo Montolivo in the side as Andrea Bertolacci has yet to prove that he can effectively deputize for the captain in the deep lying playmaker role.
Really this ought to be light work for a side of Milan's ambition, but of course it won't be. Chievo lack any real outstanding players in their squad, however their organisation and work ethic are the things that will test Milan. Sides such as this one are a very familiar problem for the Rossoneri and in all honesty should Milan come away from this match with three points to their name, it will require a degree of good fortune as well as just a good performance.
Chievo : 4-3-1-2 - Albano Bizzarri; Fabrizio Cacciatore, Dario Dainelli, Bostjan Cesar, Massimo Gobbi; Lucas Castro, Nicola Rigoni, Ivan Radovanovic; Valter Birsa; Paul-Jose M'Poku, Sergio Pellissier
Milan: 4-3-3 - Gianluigi Donnarumma; Ignazio Abate, Alex, Alessio Romagnoli, Luca Antonelli; Andrea Poli, Andrea Bertolacci, Juraj Kucka; Keisuke Honda, Carlos Bacca, Giacomo Bonaventura
How To Watch
Where: Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi, Verona
When: 12:30pm local, 7:30am EST, 13th March, 2016
TV: Sky Calcio 1, Sky supercalcio HD (Italy), BT Sport Europe (UK), RAI International
Online: beIN Sports Connect (US), BT Sport (UK), SKY Go Italia (Italy)
International listings can be viewed here.
Whilst 4-3-3 desperately doesn't suit his playing style, Carlos Bacca has proven this season that he can always find a way. Expect him to end his goal drought, by hook or by crook.
Chievo 0-1 Milan