Udinese vs AC Milan
Underperforming Serie A holders AC Milan travel to the Dacia Arena to take on perennial mid-table tenants Udinese.
Udinese squeezed past Empoli 1-0 on the road last time out to cling on to a top-half position, albeit they’re only one point clear of 11th-placed Fiorentina at the start of this round. But the abovementioned with in Tuscany helped ‘I Friulani’ end an underwhelming run of six Serie A matches without a win (D4, L2), though they’ve not won back-to-back league games since September/October. Indeed, Andrea Sottil’s men have picked up just two triumphs in their last 17 Serie A outings (D10, L5), establishing themselves as ‘stalemate specialists’ in that period. Another share of the spoils is on the cards, with Udinese drawing a club-high 36 Serie A meetings with Milan. Yet, the hosts have kept a clean sheet in consecutive league fixtures ahead of the kick-off and could make it three top-flight shutouts in a row for the first time since February 2021.
As for AC Milan, last weekend’s abysmal 1-1 home draw against bottom-half Salernitana poured more pressure on manager Stefano Pioli despite the reigning champions’ eye-catching European exploits. Reaching the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in over a decade is perhaps the only positive in an otherwise underwhelming season for ‘I Rossoneri.’ After going winless in their last two league outings (D1, L1), Pioli’s men should be happy to be boasting a one-point lead over fifth-placed Roma at the start of this round. However, Milan must return to winning ways to solidify their position in a keenly-contested top-four race, which could be daunting as they’ve lost three of their last four away matches in Serie A (W1).