Our third away engagement in the league, and our second match in the space of a few days after the home win against Venezia: Spezia v AC Milan carries big worth. Pioli’s Rossoneri will try to continue their very good run so far in Serie A, while Thiago Motta's Bianconeri will try to pick up crucial points in their quest for survival. All the details and secrets surrounding this fixture are contained here in our Match Preview for matchday six, with kick-off set for 15.00 CEST.
After the 2-0 home win against Venezia, AC Milan are back playing away and for the first time this season, they will take to the field on a Saturday afternoon. Currently in second place (level with Inter) on 13 points, the Diavolo arrive at Stadio Picco in La Spezia with the aim of getting a win that would be very precious.
No player is suspended or carrying a yellow. Florenzi was added to the list of those unavailable for some bruising to his knee, but Giroud and Calabria have both returned to the Rossoneri squad. As we wait to see how much they will be utilised, after Venezia last Wednesday and matchday two of the Champions League next Tuesday, we can expect some possible changes to the line-up, with Daniel Maldini in contention to make his full debut in Serie A.
Coach Pioli stated on the eve of the match: “We need to play in a professional manner and also as a team from beginning to end. An intense game on a small pitch awaits, and we'll need to occupy the spaces as best we can. We'll have to show composure tactically and speed in our play. A difficult away match awaits against a team that needs to very much be respected”.
During the summer, Spezia placed their managerial trust in Thiago Motta, who has already coached Genoa in Serie A, at the beginning of the 2019/20 season: a negative experience, which ended prematurely with his dismissal in December. A great expert in Italian football, the Brazilian was a mainstay in the Rossoblù team as a player, as well as for Inter. So far, the Ligurians have only achieved one win (2-1 away against Venezia), without any points at home, and occupy seventeenth position. In the midweek round, they gave Juve a hard time at home and looked like taking a big scalp when they went 2-1 up in the second half, only to be clawed back and beaten 3-2.
The list of absentees is long for the Bianconeri: Agudelo is out, along with Colley, Erlic and Reca, Sena, and Kovalenko. Spezia should take come into the match with a mirrored 4-2-3-1: Zoet will line up in goals; in defence, they can count on the experienced Bastoni, scorer against Venezia and also in Spezia v AC Milan last season; in the middle, they have another experienced head in Bourabia; in front of them will likely be the captain Maggiore alongside Gyasi and the youngster Antista, both of whom found the net against Juve and both of whom are endowed with excellent qualities.
“I expect the best possible AC Milan”, said Thiago Motta in his press conference on the eve of the match. "It is a great team with an excellent coach. They have been demonstrating this from the beginning of the season, not only in Serie A but also in the fantastic match against Liverpool. It’s up to us to work and try to take advantage of their weaknesses. We have the opportunity to return immediately to the field with the same determination that you saw on Wednesday, the players are young and are in excellent shape”.
This is the first confrontation as coaches between Thiago Motta and Stefano Pioli in Serie A. There are only two previous encounters in history, both of which came last season. In the only away match at Stadio Picco of La Spezia, on February 13 2021, AC Milan played one of their worst performances of the entire campaign: A 2-0 loss result without recourse, with goals coming from Maggiore and Bastoni in the second half. That match was the only one in last season's Serie A in which the Rossoneri were unable to even muster a shot on target. A bad evening that began a delicate period for the Diavolo, who were top of the table at the time but were then overtaken by Inter. At San Siro, on the other hand, in the first round match, AC Milan won with a clear 3-0 result, thanks to a brace from Leão and a goal from Hernández.
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Spezia v AC Milan will be broadcast exclusively in Italy by DAZN. On the Rossoneri channels, meanwhile, Milan TV will host the Matchday coverage. The game is also available via a SKY subscription (channel 230), within the schedule of DAZN or on the Amazon Prime Video Channels, by subscription for €3.99 per month with a fifteen-day free trial. The live broadcast of the Rossoneri pre-match will open at 13:45 CEST, until close to kick-off of the Picco. After the match, there will be coverage of immediate interviews and Coach Pioli's post-match press conference.
From 14:55 CEST there will also be a special appointment on the AC Milan Twitch channel, with the Live Reaction in the company of Francesco Specchia, Lollo, Garrincha from Le Vibrazioni, and more. Don't miss the live coverage on Twitter, on acmilan.com, and the AC Milan Official App.
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Gianluca Manganiello will referee Spezia v AC Milan, in his 66th appearance in Serie A. Although he has not refereed the Rossoneri since December 2019 (AC Milan 0-0 Sassuolo), he has been in charge of four of our matches with two wins, two draws, nine yellow cards and two red cards. He last refereed the Bianconeri in April 2021 (Spezia 0-2 Genoa), with one draw, one defeat, and four yellow cards occurring in the two games he has taken charge of for them. Assisting him will be the linesmen Imperiale and Vecchi, with Meraviglia as the fourth official, and Orsato (assisted by Bindoni) will take charge of VAR.
Spezia v AC Milan will kick off matchday six of Serie A. Inter v Atalanta (18:00) and Genoa v Hellas Verona (20:45) will also be played on Saturday. On Sunday, then, we will see Juventus v Sampdoria (12:30), Empoli v Bologna (15:00), Sassuolo v Salernitana (15:00), Udinese v Fiorentina (15:00), Lazio v Roma (18:00) and Napoli v Cagliari (20:45). Finally, on Monday, Venezia v Torino (20:45) – All times are CEST.
Here are the current standings in Serie A: Napoli 15 points; Inter & Milan 13; Roma 12; Atalanta 10; Fiorentina 9; Lazio & Bologna 8; Torino & Udinese 7; Empoli 6; Juventus & Sampdoria 5; Sassuolo, Hellas Verona, Genoa & Spezia 4; Venezia 3; Cagliari 2; Salernitana 1.
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