It’s that time of the year again! It’s the most wonderful* time of the year, where the AC Milan Women play Juventus this Sunday. The match will be crucial, as it will most likely determine the winner of this year’s Scudetto.
Here’s an overview of what you should know before this match...
*(Aggravating? Nerve-wracking? Yeah, that’s it.)
Before this match, Milan and Juventus have met a total of six times. Milan won the first encounter against Juve by a score of 3-0. However, they have not won a match against the Bianconere since then, as they lost the last game against them by a score of 1-0.
That match took place at the San Siro, and Milan will use that loss as motivation to win against Juventus this Sunday.
Milan will line-up in their usual 3-5-2. Midfielders Verónica Boquete and Refiloe Jane were rested for the last match against Pink Bari. The two of them will be making their return to the starting line-up this Sunday.
In contrast, Juve will field a 4-3-3. The Bianconere boast a talented line-up filled with a glittering array of internationals who coexist alongside burgeoning youth talent.
Fortunately for Milan, the team boasts a strong line-up of their own. The team has made several reinforcements over the past few months, and the new arrivals have put them on par with Juventus.
Milan will make the most of their talented line-up to unlock the doors that Juve will bolt in front of their goal.
Milan and Juventus have the two best defenses in the league.
To date, the Rossonere have only conceded seven goals, while Juve have conceded eleven (Wyscout).
In terms of goal difference, Juve have a seven-goal differential over Milan. Even if the Rossonere win this Sunday’s encounter, Juve would still be ahead of them based on goal difference.
Juventus’ Cristiana Girelli is also the league’s top scorer as she’s scored 16 goals this season. Our Valentina Giacinti, on the other hand, is second, as she has scored 12 goals this season.
Both players will be looking to add to their tallies as they try to score a few goals during Sunday’s encounter.
They’ll also have plenty of help trying to score as well, as Juve’s Barbara Bonansea and Milan’s Linda Tucceri Cimini are the league’s top assist providers.
#JuveMilan sarà anche la sfida tra due giocatrici che hanno fornito il maggior numero di assist per i rispettivi club in questa stagione: e ! ⚽— FIGC Calcio Femminile (@FIGCfemminile) March 4, 2021
@OptaPaolo #lottAperlavetta #SerieAFemminile pic.twitter.com/TgYi8M3xyG
And the key to winning this match will lie in who can make the most of these numerical advantages.
The Keys to Victory
Milan have grown a lot since the last time these two teams met in early October. For starters, Milan have added some pretty powerful weapons to their arsenal. The first of which is midfielder Verónica Boquete.
Verónica’s presence alone gives Milan what they need to compete with Juventus. The midfielder is a fantasista in the purest, most Platonic sense. I’ve already written about how awesome she is, and expect her to use her greatness to tilt the odds in Milan’s favor.
Vero will not only use her experience and cunning talent to help Milan secure victory, but she’ll inspire the team through her leadership as well.
The addition of Yui Hasegawa also bolsters Milan’s chances of winning this match. The Japan international is fast and skillful, and also has a potent deadball ability. The midfielder also has sped up the Rossonere’s game, as her pace and quick touches have inspired the rest of the squad to play at a faster tempo.
If she can inspire Milan to do the same during this match, then the team have a better chance of winning this fixture. A midfield duo of both Hasegawa and Vero Boquete is the stuff that dreams are made of. The two of them are two technically gifted players who will work in tandem to give the opposition fits while breaking through their defense.
Juventus’ playing style is characterized by relentless pressing and trying to dribble into the box through the left while sending in crosses on the right-hand of the pitch. Though they play a 4-3-3 but also overload the left side of the pitch during their attacks. Cristiana Girelli is the driving force behind their attack, as she accounts for a third of their chances created and their goals as well.
If Milan are to win this match, then they’ll have to contain Juve’s tendency to attack down the left. They’ll also have to deal with their crosses while simultaneously snuffing out the threats posed by Girelli, Bonansea, and Lina Hurtig as well.
There is no doubt that the Rossonere’s defense will rise to the occasion, as it is currently the best in Serie A. And since Juve tend to attack down the left, look for fullback Linda Tucceri Cimini to put in a full shift while being supported by the likes of Hasegawa.
The last time the two teams played, Cecilia Salvai completely manhandled Valentina Giacinti. Juve are strong at the back, as they can alternate between fielding Cecilia Salva, Sara Gama, and Linda Sembrant in their line-up. Giacinti and the rest of our attackers are going to have to muster up a lot of creativity and willpower in order to overcome the Bianconere’s fortified wall.
Fortunately for them, Juve have also looked a bit more vulnerable this season. As was noted, they have conceded eleven goals during the current campaign. They also haven’t looked as sharp in front of goal, as they’ve had to rely on penalties during the latter half of matches to win most of their games. To date, the Bianconere have received seven penalties this season (Wyscout).
Milan’s chances of winning this match will depend on how successfully they can deal with Juve’s pressing, their tendency to attack down the left, and how they can exploit their weaknesses on the back.
And if all goes according to plan, they should be successful in doing all three. Milan will fight like hell to emerge the victors of Sunday’s match and if they are fortunate, then they will secure all three points.
Have I mentioned that I’m a fan of Laura Giuliani? If not, then let me do so again. I have called the Juve shot-stopper one of the best goalkeepers in the world, and I still stand by that claim.
I have to admit that I’m a big fan of hers, so seeing her block Milan’s shots is going to be heart-wrenching indeed.
Speaking of which ―
Other Things of Note
Apparently, Milan are interested in bringing two Juventus players to the Vismara next season. The players are Valentina Cernoia and Laura Giuliani. However, given the source of the rumors, one has to definitely question the veracity of them.
Look, I’ll be honest here and this has the same chance of happening as encountering Bigfoot at the end of the rainbow (and Big Boy offering to send $1,000 to your Ca$h App too).
But who knows? Maybe they’ll want to come to Milan sometime in the future. After all, Giuliani grew up near Milan and Cernoia is a Milanista.
With this in mind, why wouldn’t she want to wear the red and black of The Devil? And once this does happen, be sure to tell Bigfoot to hit me up ― because I need the money too.
Remember, remember, the 17th of November.
In particular, remember when Francesca Vitale did this.
Let’s hope that the Rossonere can do something equally as awesome this Sunday.
How to watch
The match will take place on Sunday at 12:30 CET (3:30 am PST / 6:30 am EST). You’ll be able to watch the match on TimVision, Sky, Milan TV, the official AC Milan app, and the Dailymotion page afterward.