How AC Milan Will Line Up Against Lazio

Matteo BonettiContributor IOctober 29, 2013

PARMA, ITALY - OCTOBER 27:  Mario Balotelli looks on before the Serie A match between Parma FC and AC Milan at Stadio Ennio Tardini on October 27, 2013 in Parma, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

After nine rounds of action, Milan have only managed 11 points, a paltry figure which pits them right in the middle of the Serie A table, 16 points behind first place Roma.

This depressing figure is eerily reminiscent of last season's start to the campaign, with the difference coming after Christmas when Milan picked up the most points out of any team in Italy, climbing up the table and eventually finishing in third place.

A comeback of this sort will be much harder this time around, as the top tier teams in the league have all been strengthened over the summer transfer window.

Anyway, let's take a look at the team that will face Lazio in the midweek Serie A clash:

Between the pipes, the 21-year-old Brazilian goalkeeper Gabriel Vasconcelos Ferreira, otherwise known as Gabriel, will get the nod for the third consecutive domestic match.

He has looked quite impressive so far, making a few incredible reaction saves that would have gone right past Christian Abbiati before he realized what even hit him.

Unfortunately, Gabriel won't have much help in the defensive sector, as he'll likely see a flurry of shots constantly pelting him as cleansheet-negator Cristian Zaccardo is expected to start alongside Cristian Zapata in the middle of defense. 

The biggest story, however, is the return of young starlet Mattia De Sciglio. The Italian international has impressed so far during his time with Milan and should get the starting nod at left-back ahead of yet another woeful performance from Kevin Constant against Parma. The opposite flank will be patrolled by the speedy Ignazio Abate.

Milan will have to quell the Brazilian playmaker Hernanes.
Milan will have to quell the Brazilian playmaker Hernanes./Getty Images

The 4-3-3 formation will see the midfield trio of Nigel De Jong, Riccardo Montolivo and Sulley Muntari get the start from the opening whistle.

De Jong will have his hands full trying to stop Lazio's skillful trequartista Hernanes, who loves to get forward and shoot from distance. Stopping him and Antonio Candreva will be one of the keys for Massimiliano Allegri's men to get a victory at the Stadio Olimpico.

Up front, La Gazzetta is reporting that Robinho and Kaka will flank Mario Balotelli in the attacking trident, which has recently been reintegrated into the squad.

Kaka will start alongside Balotelli and Robinho.
Kaka will start alongside Balotelli and Robinho./Getty Images

Balotelli was anonymous in the last match against Parma and was subsequently taken off for Alessandro Matri, who rewarded his coach by scoring his first Milan goal.

It'll be interesting to see how Kaka is used in the formation. In the Champions League clash against Barcelona, Allegri put the Brazilian in the Stephan El Shaarawy role, which requires the winger to track back and defend. It was perhaps the most running Kaka has done in the past five years. 

In the end, it'll be a match decided by the superstars up front. Both teams have their best players in the attacking sector, and it'll go down to a touch of unbridled genius to decide the match and gift either team three points.