AC Milan v SPAL Betting Preview, Odds & Tips | 29/12/18
James Cormack (@jamesxyyx) previews AC Milan v SPAL 2013 and provides us with his best bets for Saturday night’s Serie A clash by analysing team news, potential line-ups, head-to-head, key stats and facts and more.
AC Milan v SPAL 2013 Betting Preview, Odds & Tips
- Date: 29/12/18
- Time: 19:30
- Venue: San Siro
- Channel: Eleven Sports 1
The final weekend of fixtures in the Serie A before the winter break is rounded off at the San Siro where 6th placed AC Milan take on SPAL 2013 on Saturday night.
Both sides had started the season brightly with SPAL winning three out of their 4 opening games whilst Milan lost one in seven to start the campaign. However, these two sides now boast the worst form for teams outside the bottom three. Milan have won once in seven and SPAL haven’t won since an impressive 2-0 win away at Roma on October 20th. It’s fair to say a win is imperative for both sides to gain some confidence for the second half of the season that begins in just under a month’s time.
Milan’s recent slump is mainly down to their failure to score goals. They haven’t scored since the 2nd of December and have had three 0-0’s in their last four games. Key players like Suso and Gonzalo Higuain haven’t scored since October and it’s showed that this Milan side are too reliant on this pair. With Suso likely to miss this game, it’ll be interesting to see how Gattuso will try and get the most of his attacking trio (likely to play 4-3-3) on Saturday.
In order for Milan to really challenge for a Champions League spot, other players have to step up. Hakan Calhanoglu has yet to score in the league this season and promising talent Patrick Cutrone has only netted on three occasions (has scored 4 in Europa). It’s also fair to say that they’ve greatly missed Bonaventura in midfield. Since his injury, Milan have won once and have missed the attacking flair that the Italian can provide from a central-midfield role.
After surviving the drop last season, SPAL are only four points off the bottom three despite taking 9 points from a possible 12 to start the season. Incredibly they’ve only won once in 14 games but have seen a very slight improvement to their recent form, drawing four and losing once in their last 5.
This SPAL side doesn’t exactly hold a woeful defensive record and have proved to be hard to beat on occasions this season. For example, they’ve beaten Roma away from home as well as Atalanta at home and have narrowly lost to Inter and Juventus so far this season. Similar to Milan, their issue has been the struggle to score goals, except the issue has been throughout the campaign.
They’ve been quite reliant on striker Andrea Pentagna to score their goals and Manuel Lazzari to provide them. Lazzari has had an impressive season so far, notching up five assists and is SPAL’s highest rated player (according to whoscored.com) with a 7.05 rating.
Milan have been hit hard by injuries this season with key pieces such as Giacomo Bonaventura out for the rest of the season with a knee injury. Lucas Biglia and Mattia Caldera, who have been out since October, aren’t expected to return until February. Suso, who missed Milan’s trip to Frosinone on Boxing Day, is also expected to miss out due to a pelvic injury. Two players; Alessio Romagnoli and Davide Calabria are also a yellow card away from suspension.
SPAL are much better off than their opponents when it comes to injuries. Johan Djourou and Demba Thiam Ngange are the only doubts for this fixture whilst Thiago Cionek and Andrea Petagna are a booking away from suspension.
Potential AC Milan Starting XI: Donnarumma, Calabria, Zapata, Romagnoli, Rodriguez, Bakayoko, Kessie, Mauri, Castillejo, Higuain, Cutrone.
Potential SPAL Starting XI: Gomis, Cionek, Felipe, Bonifazi, Lazzari, Schiattarella, Validifiori, Kurtic, Fares, Petagna, Antenucci.
Head To Head
- The two sides have only met twice- 4-0 and 2-0 to Milan in the league last season.
Key Stats & Facts
- Aggregate score of 6-0 to Milan over the two league games the teams played last season.
- SPAL haven’t scored in three games and have managed to score more than one goal in 3/18 league games this season.
- SPAL are the lowest scorers among teams outside the relegation zone.
- SPAL hold the joint 5th highest clean sheet % but also the joint third highest FTS (% games they’ve failed to score in).
- Milan are winless in four, a run that includes 3 0-0’s and a 1-0 defeat.
- Prior to their recent slump, Milan had scored in every game apart from two (v Inter and Juventus).
- Suso, who’s leading Milan’s G+A’s chart with 12, is likely to miss this fixture.
- Gonzalo Higuain and Andrea Pentagna each sides leading goal scorers, both with 5 goals.
- U2.5 goals in 11/18 of SPAL’s games and 10/18 of Milan’s games.
- AC Milan 1/2
- Draw 3/1
- SPAL 2013 13/2
Looking at the form of both these sides, I’m expecting a nervy encounter with both sides being desperate for a win to get them out of their slump. However, with Milan at home I do expect them to win an edgy encounter against a SPAL side that will set up with 5 at the back.
SPAL’s record in front of goal, scoring 14 in 18 and 6 in 9 away games, is pretty poor and I think they’ll struggle to get past a talented Milan backline that consists of Alessio Romagnoli and has only conceded once in four games.
But Milan will also have an issue going forward, Gonzalo Higuain hasn’t scored since October and their main creator, Suso, is likely to miss this fixture. Remember, this Milan side are looking to make it 5 games without scoring on Saturday. So with this in mind, I think the clean sheet and U2.5 goals markets are absolute bankers for this one, both at evens.