Whilst hardly the best team in the Serie A, Sassuolo have been almost as troubling for Milan the last few years as the likes of Juventus and Napoli. Milan's record against the Neroverdi is extremely poor given the difference in stature between the two clubs. Whilst the low watermark for this fixture remains Domenico Berardi's 4 goal dismantling of Milan a few seasons ago, things have improved little since with the Rossoneri losing both of last season's encounters. Milan ran out 2-1 winners against them back in October however and will now be hoping to secure consecutive victories over them for the first time ever.
Against a team like Sassuolo though, this is easier said than done. In contrast to smaller clubs who like to sit deep and frustrate Milan, Sassuolo's strategy has been to attack Milan and play on the mental weakness of the team in order to get a result. A year ago many Milanisti might well go into this game expecting a negative result, but this Milan side should pose much more of a challenge for Sassuolo. Finally the team are playing well enough that we can go into this game expecting Milan to put them in their place.
With only one loss in 14 matches, Milan could once again make up serious ground on the likes of Inter and Roma should they secure a win here too. A win could see Milan move into fifth place and close the gap between them and fourth placed Fiorentina to just three points. Despite having a poor record against Sassuolo, Milan are definitely the favourites this time around. Sassuolo's form is nothing to write home about either, even despite an impressive 2-0 victory over Lazio last weekend and Milan have absolutely no reason to fear Sassuolo.
Sinisa Mihajlovic may need to re-shuffle the line-up for this match as both Riccardo Montolivo and Ignazio Abate will miss the match through injury and suspension respectively. Questions abound as to who will replace M'Baye Niangin the starting line-up following his car accident, although it will most likely be one of Jeremy Menez or Mario Balotelli. The former impressed in the mid-week Coppa Italia match against Alessandria and his performance gave the impression he is ready for Serie A football once again. Andrea Bertolacci will most likely deputise for Montolivo in the midfield despite, continually turning in under-whelming performances. Sassuolo will line-up in their customary 4-3-3 formation with Domenico Berardi and Nicola Sansone spearheading the attack out wide. Providing Milan keep a watch on the two of them, they should be able to overcome Sassuolo.
Milan: 4-4-2 - Gianluigi Donnarumma; Mattia De Sciglio, Alex, Alessio Romagnoli, Luca Antonelli; Keisuke Honda, Andrea Bertolacci, Juraj Kucka, Giacomo Bonaventura; Jeremy Menez, Carlos Bacca.
Sassuolo: 4-3-3 - Andrea Consigli; Sime Vrsaljko, Paolo Cannavaro, Francesco Acerbi, Federico Peluso; Simone Missiroli, Francesco Magnanelli, Alfred Duncan; Domenico Berardi, Gregoire Defrel, Nicola Sansone.
Sassuolo 1-2 Milan
Domenico Berardi will almost certainly score for Sassuolo, but Bacca and Bonaventura should score to even the odds at the other end.
How to watch
Match Date/Time: Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. local
Venue: Stadio Citta del Tricolore, Reggio Emilia, Italy
TV: Sky Calcio 2, Premium Calcio 1 (Italy), BT Sport Extra (U.K.)
Online: beIN Sports Connect (U.S.), Sky Go Italia (Italy)