Milan vs. Genoa, preview: Could Genoa really be the favorites?

Claudio Villa

Gasperini's willingness to change tactics and approach could very well produce a rare result for Genoa, as they travel to take on Allegri's diminished rossoneri.

Even if many believe that Milan will wait until the end of the season to make a coaching change, Massimiliano Allegri must be having trouble sleeping at night. Sitting in 10th, the rossoneri are closer to the relegation zone -- just four points out -- than they are to the Champions League spots, with third position being 15 points above. Yes, this happened to Milan last season, and it was actually in Round 13 that they started to turn themselves around. But there's no denying it was the arrival of Mario Balotelli that really rescued the rossoneri -- is there another SuperMario waiting to rescue the beleaguered Allegri? Or will the Milan manager have to keep relying on his side's luck to overshadow his tired tactics?

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At least the hosts can take comfort in having Balotelli available -- a combination of injury and suspension has left the mercurial striker on the sidelines for nearly half the league matches. But with just three goals in the seven Serie A matches he's played this season, it doesn't look like the forward will come close to his 12 in 12 return from last year. Is now the time to mention that Sulley Muntari has three goals as well? And Valter Birsa two?

Genoa are undoubtedly eager to pounce on Milan's weaknesses. Gian Piero Gasperini has righted what looked like a sinking ship, pulling the rossoblu up into 7th place. Impressive, considering Genoa managed just one win in their first seven games. Since then, they've picked up 13 points from a possible 18, losing only to Juventus, and have won their last three straight.

There's no denying Gasperini is an intriguing tactician. Over the course of the last three matches, Genoa have played two different formations -- not that unusual in itself, but when you consider that he's likely to shift to a 3-4-3 this week, it gets more interesting. And then when you realize last week he played a left back -- Luca Antonelli -- up front alongside Alberto Gilardino, well, you have to admire the man. Apparently, with Juraj Kucka still hurting, Antonelli will once again be slotted in on the attacking end of the pitch, playing on the left side of a three-man front line.

On paper, or on the screen, it looks as though Genoa might be the ones with the advantage -- or, at least, with the ability to get a point. But Milan always seem to have another trick up their sleeve, the little devils.

Milan injuries and suspensions
Marco Amelia, Mattia De Sciglio, Stephan El Shaarawy, Antonio Nocerino, Giampaolo Pazzini, Cristian Zaccardo (injured); Riccardo Montolivo (suspended)

Genoa injuries and suspensions
Alessandro Gamberini, Ze Eduardo (injured); Juraj Kucka (in doubt)

Projected lineups

AC Milan (4-3-1-2): Abbiati; Abate, Mexès, Bonera, Emanuelson; Poli, De Jong, Muntari; Kakà; Robinho, Balotelli

Genoa (3-4-3): Perin; Antonini, Portanova, Manfredini; Vrsaljko, Biondini, Matuzalem, Marquis; Santana, Gilardino, Antonelli

Match Date/Time
Saturday, November 23 at 8:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET

Venue
Stadio San Siro, Milan

Watch
Sky Calcio 1, Premium Calcio 2 (Italy); BT Sport 2 (UK)
online: Bet365 (various); beIN Sport Play (USA)

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