COPPA ITALIA SEMI FINAL FIRST LEG : AC MILAN - JUVENTUS
These Coppa semis tend to be keenly fought close affairs and I see this one following type. For the hosts, Zlatan has picked up a three match domestic ban, but it only applies to Serie A games, so he should play tonight. Milan have a very tough week in prospect, they go to Udinese at the weekend and host Arsenal in the Champions League on Wednesday, despite anything the club might say, tonight's game is definitely a poor third in order of importance and they will also be wary of collecting any further injuries, having an already busy treatment room , or to give too much away ahead of what might well be a title deciding league meeting with Juve here at the end of the month. Latest of those is goalkeeper Christian Abbiati, more of him later.
Storari will be start in goal for Juventus and coach Antonio Conte has also said that transfer window signings Martin Caceres, Simone Padoin and Marco Borriello will all feature at the San Siro.You could look at that as weakening the squad, but they are all either proven International players, or, in the case of Padolin, one already closing in on 300 games, most in "A" . In addition, 13 of the other outfield players named in the 22 man squad, have made at least a dozen starts this season, so hard to view this as the "severely weakened squad" I have seen it called elsewhere.
Milan have turned into flat track bully's, almost always beating the lesser teams ( they are 6-1-0 in starts against teams in the bootom seven), however, they are 1-3-4 in eight outings against other teams in the top seven, the only win coming 3-2 against Roma, where their opponents had 23 attempts on goals and 13 corners and that man Abbiati saved his team on numerous occasions. They did beat Lazio here in the last round, but that was on the back of the visitors second trip to the San Siro inside 4 days, they had lost 2-1 to Inter late on Sunday after leading and rested a lot of players for the second game. Actually, they led there too and Milan's third goal was offside, but that is another story !
Hosts have a powerful midfield, but they appear to lack the flair to really trouble the top teams in Seri A and with two such huge games ahead, I think we will see a low key home performance, having said that, they will not want to go into those games with a loss, so the draw option for me, a result I suspect both teams would be happy with ,btw, Milan have drawn their last three Coppa semi final first leg games. Draw 3.20 + quite a bit of 3.30 on the exchanges at present.