By 90Min
October 21, 2017

AC Milan face Genoa in Serie A on Sunday afternoon, in a crucial clash which could go far in determining the future of under-fire Milan boss Vincenzo Montella.

The hosts go into the game in woeful form, having lost their last three league matches in a row. I Rossoneri were beaten in their crucial Milan derby against Inter last weekend, which followed disappointing defeats against Roma and Sampdoria.

Genoa are in similarly poor form, and hadn't won a single league game until last weekend's crucial 3-2 victory over Cagliari. The north coast side have had the upper hand over Milan in recent matches, winning three of the last five matches between the teams.

It's set to be a thrilling clash between two underperforming sides looking to appease their uneasy fans, and here's everything you need to know ahead of the game:


Classic Encounter:

GIUSEPPE CACACE/GettyImages

Almost a year to the day, Genoa stunned AC Milan by thrashing them 3-0 in-front of a rampant home support at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

The home side got off to the dream start, as Serbian midfielder Miloš Ninković marauded forwards to beat the offside trap in the Milan penalty area, guiding home a header from Tomas Rincon's perfect cross in the 11th minute.

The visitors rallied, with Giacomo Bonaventura and Juraj Kucka both testing Genoa stopper Mattia Perin with solid efforts at goal. Genoa used their defensive solidity to frustrate Milan, as their back five defended for their lives while being roared on by their fans.

Milan eventually lost their heads, and Gabriel Paletta, the most disciplined player in European football for the 2016/17 season, was given a straight red card for one of his trademark two-footed challenges.

Genoa could smell blood, and went for the jugular, with Danko Lazović's deadly cross being turned into his own net by Kucka with ten minutes to go. Milan then folded, as Genoa sealed the victory five minutes later - Leonardo Pavoletti cutting inside to sweep home a delightful finish to seal the victory.


Recent Form:

MARCO BERTORELLO/GettyImages

The pressure is really starting to take its toll on Montella's men, who are slipping down the Serie A table at an alarming rate. The mega-millions invested by the club's wealthy new owners come with the expectation of rapid success, and Milan are clearly struggling to gel their hastily assembled squad of new talents.

Last Sunday's 3-2 derby defeat to Inter was a tough blow for I Rossoneri to take, especially as they conceded the final goal in the dying moments of the game. The 2-0 home loss to Roma, and the 2-0 loss to Sampdoria have seen Milan in terrible form, with a lack of cohesion across all areas of the pitch.

Genoa have blundered their way along in the league so far in fairly dismal fashion, but did show real grit in their 3-2 away win to Cagliari last weekend. I Rossoblu will be looking to use the match as springboard to give them some much-needed confidence ahead of the clash with Milan, as they have been in dire form more much of the season thus far.


Key Battle: Nikola Kalinić vs Ervin Zukanović

Claudio Villa/GettyImages

A singular bright-spark in Milan's otherwise dire start to the campaign, Nikola Kalinić's impressive brace against Udinese showed that he can stand up and be counted when his side need a bit of class in front of goal.

Ervin Zukanović has been part of a fairly unstable defence for Genoa so far this season, but he has been the best of a bad bunch in the back line. The Bosnia and Herzegovina international will need to be at his best to stop Kalinić on Sunday, as the Croatian frontman will be bound to make himself a nuisance in the opposition penalty area.


Team News:

Enrico Locci/GettyImages

AC Milan could welcome Hakan Çalhanoğlu back to the starting XI, after the Turkish international returns from serving a suspension. Andrea Conti remains a long-term injury concern, while the game comes too soon for Luca Antonelli, who is still struggling for first-team fitness.


The hosts will be buoyed by the return of star striker Gianluca Lapadula, who should start for Genoa for the first time in over a month after returning from injury. Veteran defender Nicolás Spolli is out with a knee injury, while Ghananian midfielder Isaac Cofie misses out after being hospitalised with an infection during the week.


Potential AC Milan Starting XI: Donnarumma; Musacchio; Bonucci; Romagnoli; Borini; Suso; Kessié; Bonaventura; Rodríguez; Kalinić; Silva.


Potential Genoa Starting XI: Perin; Izzo; Rossettini; Zukanović; Rosi; Veloso; Bertolacci; Laxalt; Taarabt; Rigoni; Galabinov.


Prediction:

MARCO BERTORELLO/GettyImages

AC Milan will be under huge pressure to get a result tomorrow afternoon, as a loss could well see the end of Vincenzo Montella's underwhelming San Siro era.

Genoa have the advantage in terms of the recent clashes between the two sides, but their shocking form this season can't be ignored. The away side will be very up for this match, with the memories of last season's famous win still fresh in their minds.

Montella's men should have enough about them to win the game, even if they don't do it in convincing fashion. Milan should win the match, but Genoa certainly won't go down without a fight.

PREDICITION: AC Milan 2-1 Genoa

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