For the first time this season, Milan have found a spell of good form. Or at least, the rossoneri have managed to win a few games in a row. Three, to be exact. Even though they're still not playing brilliantly, Milan have finally shown that they're better than a midtable side, and should at least be fighting for a Europa League spot. . Sure, the rossoneri are used to much chasing bigger dreams than the hope of qualifying for the lesser of the European competitions, but reality is what it is.
Milan are currently five points back of fifth, Italy's final European spot, and they've got a chance to build on their winning streak by beating Serie A's weakest side. It helps that Catania have never beaten Milan at home. Even when the elefanti were at their strongest, they weren't able to win in their 18 games at the San Siro.
Milan are still without Stephan El Shaarawy, who's been out for months, and they're also missing three midfielders, with Keisuke Honda, Michael Essien and Sulley Muntari all out injured. Then again, at this point it would be far more surprising if the rossoneri had all their players fit for the match. Clarence Seedorf insisted from day one that his side would play in a 4-2-3-1 formation. He's faced criticism for refusing to deviate from his plan, but it's worked fine in the last few matches. The attacking four have flowed well, although without Honda, it will likely be Andrea Poli stepping in alongside Kakà and Adel Taarabt, all behind Mario Balotelli.
Milan's attackers should have little trouble with Catania's defense. The elefanti aren't the worst in the league, but the right side will be especially vulnerable, particularly as Gino Peruzzi is suspended. The newly appointed Mauricio Pellegrino will likely look to his midfield to help stop Milan's attack, particularly Mariano Izco.
Catania, at least in theory, have enough quality up front, and Sebastián Leto, Pablo Barrientos and Gonzalo Bergessio will look to exploit any possible space left by Milan. The rossoneri haven't been known for their defense this season, so Catania may be excited about their ability to knock in a goal.
The problem? The elefanti have scored the least number of goals in Serie A this season - just 24, in 32 games - while Milan have let in just one goal in their last three matches. In addition, the seven away goals and exactly zero wins on the road make it difficult to believe Catania will make much of an impression.
AC Milan injuries and suspensions
Catania injuries and suspensions
Sergio Almiron, Giuseppe Belusci (injured); Gino Peruzzi (suspended)
Projected line ups
Sudnay, April 13, 8:45 p.m. local; 2:45 p.m. ET
Stadio San Siro, Milan
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