AC Milan vs. Cagliari: Full Preview, Team Notes, Projected Milan XI
With 25 points from their last 10 matches, AC Milan are on a roll in Serie A right now.
New signing Mario Balotelli made the start on Sunday and scored his first two goals for the club as the Rossoneri defeated Udinese 2-1 at the San Siro.
The win puts Milan on 40 points, good for fourth in the league with only a three-point gap between themselves and Lazio, who they play on Feb. 24.
It's a tough road to secure qualification for the Champions League next season, but things are looking good for Milan, who are indisputably the hottest team in Italy at the moment.
Cagliari is next on the schedule for Milan. The Rossoblu are in a fight for survival right now, sitting only four points above the relegation zone. A win against Milan would go a long way towards securing their Serie A existence for next season.
Milan Look to Continue Hot Streak as Flamini Rises to Occasion
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10 matches. 25 points. That's astounding, especially considering how woeful this Milan team was at the start of the season.
After dropping 24 points over their first 13 matches (39 possible points), Milan have stormed back into the race for a Champions League spot next season.
The players have come together and are finally looking like the team that they have always had the potential to be. Adding Mario Balotelli into the mix only makes Milan that much deadlier.
As surprising as Milan's recent form has been, few things are as surprising as the sudden reemergence of midfielder Mathieu Flamini. The Frenchman has stepped up in recent matches, which has proven to be important to the Rossoneri's strength in the midfield as Nigel De Jong is out for the season.
After Milan's victory over Udinese, Adriano Galliani sang Flamini's praises.
“The Flamini that we saw tonight reminded me of the good old Flamini," Galliani said (via Forza Italian Football).
With the team in good form, attention turns to Cagliari, which will now have as close to a home feel as Milan could hope for.
Cagliari's Stadio Is Arenas has been deemed unsuitable to host this Sunday's match, which will now be played at Turin's Stadio Olimpico (via ESPN).
With the match in Lombardy, Milan fans should be able to make it to the match in bunches. Of course, even if the match was in Sardinia as originally planned, Milan fans would have made their presence felt.
The match is important for both sides. Cagliari are looking to push themselves farther out of the sight of relegation, while Milan have an opportunity to climb into third if Napoli defeat Lazio.
Cagliari Game Notes
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Record (W-L-D): 6-11-6, 24 pts, 16th place
Goal Difference: -15
Yellow card suspension:
Radja Nainggolan (21 app., 2 goals, 1 assist)
Danilo Avelar (15 app., 0 goals, 3 assists)
Lorenzo Ariaudo (10 app., 0 goals, 0 assists)
AC Milan Game Notes
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Record: 12-7-4, 40 pts, 4th place
Goal Difference: +12
Yellow card suspension:
Riccardo Montolivo (21 app., 2 goals, 1 assist)
Nigel De Jong (Achilles, 12 app., 1 goal, 0 assists)
Didac Vila (Pubalgia, has missed entire season)
Bartosz Salamon (Malleolar injury, purchased last week from Brescia)
Mattia De Sciglio (unknown injury, 15 app., 0 goals, 2 assists)
Philippe Mexes (unknown injury, 14 app., 0 goals, 1 assist)
Massimo Ambrosini (thigh lesion, 13 app., 0 goals, 1 assist)
Potential Milan XI
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Mattia De Sciglio, Daniele Bonera, Cristian Zapata, Kevin Constant
Kevin-Prince Boateng, Antonio Nocerino, Mathieu Flamini
M'Baye Niang, Mario Balotelli, Stephan El Shaarawy