With his sacking on Tuesday, Sinisa Mihajlovic was denied a return to his former club Sampdoria this weekend as they host Milan in what is arguably a crucial match for the Rossoneri. New manager Cristian Brocchi will face a tough task in beating an improving Sampdoria team who finally seem to be taking to the methods of coach Vincenzo Montella. Milan are now without a win in five matches and in danger of dropping out of the top six and potentially losing a place in next season's Europa League. Once again, these are desperate times for Milan and despite all the upheaval around the club as of late, it is imperative that the team start to perform well on the pitch again.
With less than a week in charge, it's unlikely that Cristian Brocchi will have had time to impart his own ideas onto the players yet. Nonetheless, Milanisti will be hoping for an immediate impact from the new coach. One thing we do know is that Brocchi has a penchant for fast, attacking football and so Milan will almost certainly be looking to take the game to Sampdoria on Sunday. It would be naive to expect an immediate turnaround in these final few weeks of the season, but whether he stays on at the end of the season or not hopefully the managerial change can provide enough of a lift to get the team over the line.
Brocchi has publicly announced his intentions to promote a few of the better prospects from the youth academy and give them some minutes and it looks likely that Manuel Locatelli could be handed his official debut playing in front of the defence. The manager is known to favour the 4-3-3 and 4-3-1-2 formations, however he looks likely to opt for the latter against Sampdoria at the weekend. Bonaventura could line-up as a trequartista given his playmaking abilities, whereas Mario Balotelli looks set to be given a run in the side partnering Carlos Bacca up front.
As for Sampdoria, they are finally beginning to show signs of life having secured three wins in their last six matches. The Blucerchiati have spent much of the season fighting to stay above the relegation zone, but things finally appear to be improving for Montella's side. Milan have beaten Sampdoria on two occasions already this season however, including a 4-1 thrashing at the San Siro back in November. The Luigi Ferraris is never an easy place to go, but the initiative is on Milan to come away with a win. Should the Rossoneri fail to do so, it could de-rail their season once and for all.
Sampdoria: 3-4-2-1 - Emiliano Viviano; Mattia Cassani, Niklas Moisander, Modibo Diakite; Lorenzo De Silvestre, Nenad Krsticic, Fernando, Dodo; Roberto Soriano, Ricky Alvarez; Fabio Quagliarella.
Milan: 4-3-1-2 - Gianluigi Donnarumma; Ignazio Abate, Alex, Alessio Romagnoli, Luca Antonelli; Juraj Kucka, Manuel Locatelli, Andrea Bertolacci; Giacomo Bonaventura; Mario Balotelli, Carlos Bacca.
How To Watch
Where: Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Genoa.
When: 8.45pm local, 15.45pm EST, 17th April 2016.
TV: SKY Calcio 1 (Italy), BT Sport Europe (UK), RAI International (USA)
Online: SKY Go Italia (ITaly), BT Sport (UK), beIN Sports Connect (USA)
International listings can be viewed here.
Milan's record against Sampdoria is favourable and the managerial change might spur the team on to a better performance. Hopefully Carlos Bacca can add a few goals to his collection.
Sampdoria 1-3 Milan