By 90Min
August 20, 2017

AC Milan and Crotone face off in their first game of the new Serie A season on Sunday evening, after an especially busy transfer window for the Milan side.

In total the Rossoneri have bought in 10 new players at a combined cost of over £150m as they look to reinstate themselves as one of Europe's greatest teams.

Vincenzo Montella will be desperate for his Milan side to get off to a good start against a Crotone side that narrowly avoided taking part in the relegation play-offs last season.

Here's everything you need to know ahead of Milan's season opener at the Stadio Ezio Scida:


Classic Encounter

AC Milan v FC Crotone - TIM Cup
AC Milan v FC Crotone - TIM Cup

AC Milan and Crotone haven't faced each other too many times in recent history, however there has always been a competitive game between the two sides when they have met. In the last five games they have faced each other, on four out of those occasions the two sides have been drawing after 90 minutes.

One classic encounter saw the two sides face up in the 2015 Coppa Italia, where the two sides again found themselves level after 90 minutes at 1-1, thanks to goals from Luiz Adriano and Ante Budimir.

Although this was only the fourth round of the competition, it was still of vital importance for a big club like Milan to get through to the next round. 

However, Milan had to do so via extra time in order to break down a resilient Crotone side. Goals from Giacomo Bonaventura in the 105th minute and Mbaye Niang in the 115th minute eventually sealed Milan's place in the next round.


Key Battle


Andre Silva vs Federico Ceccherini and Leandro Cabrera

Marco Luzzani/GettyImages

After spending so much money on their squad this summer AC Milan are the overwhelming favourites for this game. 


Although holding on to Gianluigi Donnarumma may be seen as the best bit of business AC Milan have done this summer, there's no doubt that one summer signing in particular will be especially important this season.


21-year-old Andre Silva was brought in for £34m from Porto this summer and will likely be the main man up top for Milan this season. He scored two in midweek in the Europa League tie against KF Shkendija and will likely be a menace to the Crotone back-line in this game.


As a result Crotone's centre-back pairing of Federico Ceccherini and Leandro Cabrera will have to be especially vigilant if Crotone are to get anything out of the game, with Milan likely to have the majority of possession.


It will be key for Crotone to frustrate Milan and if they can nullify the threat from their front three of Silva, Suso and Borini, then it may be possible for them to get a result.


Team News

Marco Luzzani/GettyImages

New signing Lucas Biglia reportedly has a thigh injury, such that he has been left out of Montella's travelling squad. Gabriel Paletta, Romagnoli and Bonaventura are also expected to miss the game with injuries, despite Romagnoli recently returning to training.

Despite these injuries Milan could play as many as eight new signings in Sunday's game after their massive summer overhaul. This could include the likes of Leonardo Bonucci, Hakan Calhanoglu and Fabio Borini.

Crotone on the other hand have no injuries or suspensions, of note, to deal with. As a result manager, Davide Nicola, will have a full strength squad to chose from.

Potential AC Milan Starting Lineup: G.Donnarumma; Conti, Musacchio, Bonucci, Rodriguez; Kessié, Locatelli, Calhanoglu; Suso, André Silva, Borini.


Potential Crotone Starting Lineup: Cordaz; Faraoni, Ceccherini, Cabrera, Martella; Rohden, Izco, Barberis, Stoian; Budimir, Tonev. 


Prediction

Marco Luzzani/GettyImages

AC Milan were unbeaten in their two games against Crotone last season, winning at home and drawing away.

Despite this fixture being away from home it is hard to see anything other than a Milan win this evening. 

Although Crotone may have gained confidence from last season's relegation survival, Milan looked fierce in midweek and their big name signings will likely be too much for the home side. 

Milan's new centre-back pairing, that includes Leonardo Bonucci, will be especially difficult to break down. As a result it's hard to see Crotone managing to get a goal, with Milan also expected to have the majority of possession.

Prediction: Crotone 0-2 AC Milan

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