By 90Min
April 07, 2018

AC Milan host Sassuolo at the Giuseppe Meazza on Sunday in a game which neither side can afford to lose. 

I Rossoneri and Sassuolo need to pick up points for completely different reasons. Milan sit eight points behind fourth-place rivals Inter, as they look to keep fighting for a Champions League place.

Meanwhile, Sassuolo sit in 16th, just five points from the relegation zone. As we enter into the climax of the season, both sides will be aware of how significant this game is.

Gennaro Gattuso has put life back into the old guard at Milan since taking over from Vincenzo Montella midway through the season. His good work was rewarded with a contract extension which will see him at the club until 2021.

However, Gattuso and his side will feel disappointed after an insipid display against fierce rivals Inter in the Derby della Madonnina on Wednesday. It ended goalless, but Inter were the side that created the most chances on the night.

As for Sassuolo, they have only managed one win in 12 Serie A games, and things are panning out to be a little desperate for the Neroverdi. 

Here's everything you'll need to know ahead of Sunday's clash.


Classic Encounter


Sassuolo 4-3 AC Milan (2013/14)

ALBERTO PIZZOLI/GettyImages

AC Milan were left red-faced after newly promoted minnows Sassuolo humiliated them midway through the 2013/14 season.

The 18-time Italian champions raced into a two-goal lead courtesy of Mario Balotelli and

Robinho after just 13 minutes. Then Domenico Berardi - who was a Juventus loanee at the time - completed a first half hat-trick to put Sassuolo 3-2 ahead.

The Italian forward than remarkably bagged his fourth of the game two minutes into the second half and left all Rossoneri supporters and players in a state of shock. 

Ricardo Montolivo pulled one back with a late strike, but the hosts held on to get a famous win in their maiden year in Italian top flight football.


Key Battle


Patrick Cutrone vs Francesco Acerbi

Marco Luzzani/GettyImages

With five goals in his last six starts, Patrick Cutrone is the Rossoneri's in-form man. His rise from the Milan youth ranks to playing regularly for the first-team has been astounding, and Gattuso known's that he may have found himself a raw talent in the 20-year-old forward.

It will be up to his Italian counterpart Francesco Acerbi to try and stop the tricky striker from having any sight on goal. Cutrone has proved to be a defenders nightmare at times, as he's quick to pounce on any loose balls that fall into the penalty area, often poaching in from close range. 

The 20-year-old will fancy his chances against the ageing Acerbi, who is part of a defence that have let in 50 goals in Serie A this season.


Team News

MIGUEL MEDINA/GettyImages

Milan defender Andrea Conti recently underwent a second ACL operation and is set to be sidelined for the remainder of the season.

The absence of Conti has seen Davide Calabria stake a claim as Milan’s first choice right-back and the defender should be available to play on Sunday. 

Sussuolo centre-back Timo Letschert has been out since October with a knee injury but could return to the squad this weekend. 


Potential Lineups:


Potential AC Milan Starting Lineup: Donnarumma, Calabria, Bonucci, Romagnoli, Rodriguez, Kessie, Biglia, Calhanoglu, Bonaventura, Cutrone, Suso.

Potential Sassuolo Starting Lineup: Consigli; Peluso, Acerbi, Goldaniga, Lirola; Sensi, Magnanelli, Missiroli; Politano, Babacar, Berardi.


Prediction


After winning five consecutive games in Serie A, Milan haven't picked up a victory in their past two games. This will frustrate Gattuso as we enter the climax of the season, and with much at stake, I Rossoneri cannot afford to drop anymore points if they want to close the gap on the teams above them.

However, Sassuolo need points themselves in order to pull away from the danger zone.

Giuseppe Iachini's men sit just five points ahead of Crotone in 18th, and one defeat could see them in a sticky situation. 

Although this game is vital for both sides, Milan will have to fancy themselves based on the quality of players they have in their ranks. 

Prediction: AC Milan 2-1 Sassuolo


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