October 21, 2016

Milan v Juventus Asian Handicap Preview – Saturday 22nd October by @MarkOHaire

Milan v Juventus – San Siro at 19:45 live on BT Sport 3

For the first time this season, Juventus were outplayed by their opponents when they narrowly beat Lyon 1-0 in midweek Champions League action.

Max Allegri’s men had their backs to the wall for the majority of the match, which was won by Juan Cuadrado’s superb winner. But Gianluigi Buffon saved a Alexandre Lacazette penalty and pulled off several stunning saves to give the Bianconeri maximum points.

It was a welcome return to form for Buffon with the 38-year-old at fault for Spain’s goal whilst on Azzurri duty during World Cup 2018 qualifiers earlier this month. He followed that up by letting an Udinese shot squirm underneath him last Saturday.

Juve yet to really impress

Paulo Dybala scored twice against the Zebrette last weekend to secure a 2-1 win. But there’s a reasonable school of thought to suggest Juve have been far from convincing in the opening stanza of the season.

The Old Lady have suffered just a solitary defeat in Serie A this season. But that came on their most recent trip to the San Siro, going down to Inter 2-1 in mid-September. The mental strength of Allegri’s charges saw the side bag six successive victories since that reverse but they’ve been far from fluent.

It’s been suggested that Allegri has yet to find his preferred XI or system since the summer comings and goings in Turin. With few of his big-name stars really hitting the ground running, there could be an opportunity to oppose the defending champions.

Further reason to question the Bianconeri arrives from the treatment table. Injuries rule out Giorgio Chiellini, Mario Mandzukic, Daniele Rugani, Marko Pjaca and Kwadwo Asamoah from Saturday night’s showdown. Meaning rest and rotation will be limited for the weary Old Lady.

Head-to-head obsessives will point to the fact Juventus have won each of the last nine meetings with Milan. With 33 victories in 36 league outings over the past 18 months, we do have to pick and chose our moments to oppose the Rossoneri.

Milan in buoyant mood

But the mood in Milan means hosts AC are bang up for the challenge this weekend…

Vincenzo Montella has guided the famous club to joint-second with W4-D1-L0 record in their most recent five fixtures. The Rossoneri’s 16-point tally is their best start to a season after eight games since 2010-11. The year of their last Scudetto.

Nobody is seriously expecting a title tilt from Milan but there was plenty to encourage in a 3-1 win away to Chievo. Who had previously taken seven points from three home games against Inter, Lazio and Sassuolo, not least a promising first start for the 18-year-old Manuel Locatelli in central midfield.

At San Siro, Milan remain tough to beat, five defeats in 23 Serie A encounters since the start of last season is testament to that claim. The carrot of closing a five-point deficit to Juventus to two with a win here, will surely motivate the club when they meet on Saturday night.

Although three of those aforementioned five home Milan losses came against top-three finishers last term. The Rossoneri have overcome six of their past eight top-six guests and Montella deserves great credit for building on Sinisa Mihajlovic’s foundations to keep the hosts on the right track.

Asian Handicap angle

Juventus have beaten Milan in San Siro by more than one goal just once in 19 years and I don’t expect the Old Lady to run riot this weekend. With that in mind, I’ll happily put my faith in the Rossoneri with a +0.75 start on the Asian Handicap line at 1.83.

The Bianconeri have won the Scudetto in each of the past five seasons but they’ve claimed just 20/44 (44%) wins at top-six clubs in that time. Eight (18%) of which cleared a one-goal handicap, suggesting another tight battle may be in store at San Siro.

Asian Handicap Recommendation: Milan +0.75 at 1.83

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @MarkOHaire

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