22 December 2021


Approaching the final chapter of 2021 in Serie A

It is vital that we end the year on a high note, as well as to return to winning ways after the losses to Udinese and Napoli. To do so, AC Milan will have to get the better of Empoli. Certainly not a walk in the park, but a challenge for the team to overcome together. Here is our Match Preview ahead of matchday 19 in Serie A:

The Rossoneri are going through a difficult period, more in terms of results than performances. In the few days of work at Milanello, the good news is the recovery of Theo Hernández, the bad news is the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimović due to a knee problem. Olivier Giroud, who was on the pitch at the end of AC Milan v Napoli and is ready to make his return to the league after almost two months, will lead the attack. As for the rest, there are be a few battling for fitness, especially in the back three, to make up the classic 4-2-3-1.

"We'll need to be concentrating and have a lot of determination against a lively, fast and well-drilled side that can make things difficult for us. But we are good enough to go out there and play well, so it's up to us. We want to get back on track, tomorrow the three points would be very important for getting us back on track". the words of Stefano Pioli in the press conference on the eve of the match

Empoli are definitely the top performers in the league. The standings prove it: the Tuscan team already have 27 points, +17 from the relegation zone and -4 from the European qualification spots. Coach Andreazzoli knows the club very well and has clear ideas: a dynamic and unpredictable 4-3-1-2 with Bajrami behind Pinamonti and Cutrone, a former player of ours. The Azzurri are coming off a 1-1 draw at La Spezia, with a negative goal difference overall after scoring 28 goals and conceding 30. On top of their eight wins, they have also suffered losses to Juve and Napoli. 

"Things are going well for us at the moment thanks to a lot of hard work and sacrifice. We can have the privilege of going out onto the pitch with a carefree attitude, but we have to stay grounded: our aim is still to avoid relegation. I expect a lot of difficulties ahead, between last season and this one we have done extraordinarily well". The words of Andreazzoli. 

AC Milan have not faced Empoli since February 2019, a 3-0 win at San Siro. The last match at the Castellani, on the other hand, dates all the way back to September 2018. It was matchday 6 of Serie A and Andreazzoli's team drew 1-1 against Gattuso's side. An error by the Rossoneri defence and Terracciano's saves earned them a draw to frustrate the Rossoneri. Overall, there have been 26 previous meetings between Empoli and AC Milan in Serie A: the Rossoneri lead with 15 wins versus their three, with eight draws to round off the figure.

Marco Di Bello will referee Empoli v AC Milan. Assisting him will be linesmen Pagliardini and Affatato and fourth official Marini. Mazzoleni - assisted by Galetto - is on VAR duty. This will be the 130th time the referee from Brindisi has been in charge of a Serie A game, having taken charge of eleven previous Rossoneri matches (the most recent one being Atalanta 2-3 AC Milan in October, eight wins overall) and nine Azzurri matches (with the most recent one being Cagliari 0-2 Empoli in September, two wins overall).

Matchday 19 of Serie A began on Tuesday with Udinese v Salernitana (suspended), Genoa 0-0 Atalanta and Juventus 2-0 Cagliari. On Wednesday afternoon Sassuolo v Bologna and Venezia v Lazio will be played at 16.30, then Inter v Torino, Roma v Sampdoria as well as Hellas Verona v Fiorentina at 18.30 and finally Empoli v AC Milan and Napoli v Spezia kick-off at 20.45.

This is the current Serie A table: Inter 43, Napoli and AC Milan 39, Atalanta* 38, Juventus* 34, Fiorentina, and Roma 31, Lazio 28, Empoli 27, Torino 25, Bologna and Sassuolo 24, Hellas Verona 23, Udinese 20, Sampdoria 19, Venezia 17, Spezia 13, Genoa* 11, Cagliari* 10, Salernitana 8. (* one game in hand)

The PUMA AC Milan jerseys for the 2021/22 season are available: buy them now!

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