Serie A - Empoli v AC Milan

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2023/24 Italian Serie A
Matchday 19

Empoli v AC Milan

Stadio Carlo Castellani
Empoli, Italy
Sunday, 6 January 2024
Kick-off is at 12h30 
AC Milan will look to keep up the pressure on the Serie A frontrunners when they journey south to take on struggling Empoli at the Stadio Carlo Castellani on Sunday, January 6 in the early kick-off.
The Rossoneri have recovered from a poor run of form in October and November, with a 1-0 win over Sassuolo on December 30 extending their unbeaten run to three matches.
Stefano Pioli's side trail league leaders Inter Milan by nine points in third place after their arch-rivals drew 1-1 with Genoa, while Juventus beat Roma 1-0 to close within two points of the summit.
Milan maintained the three-point gap to Fiorentina, who edged Torino 1-0 on December 29 to climb up to fourth position with their third win on the spin.

Christian Pulisic of AC MilanAlamy Stock Photo 

The Azzurri remain entrenched in the relegation zone following a 0-0 draw with fellow strugglers Cagliari on December 30, although the point took them closer to safety.
Aurelio Andreazzoli's side trail the Sardinians (18th) and Verona (17th) by one point in 19th spot, but find themselves just one ahead of rock-bottom Salernitana, who claimed a morale-boosting 1-0 victory over the Gialloblu.
In team news, the hosts will be checking on the fitness of Giuseppe Pezzella, who is doubtful with a back injury. Liberato Cacace is unavailable as he serves a one-match suspension for the accumulation of yellow cards, while Bartosz Bereszynski and Gabriele Guarino (both muscular) are expected to miss the game.
Pioli has several injuries to contend with, although Tommaso Pobega, Noah Okafor and Malick Thiaw (all hamstring) are closing in on their respective returns. Fikayo Tomori (thigh), Pierre Kalulu (tendon) and Marco Sportiello (calf) are also ruled out, but Yunus Musah (virus) could still feature.

Francesco CaputoImage copyright: Getty Images 
Andreazzoli felt a draw was a fair reflection of the game against Cagliari, admitting his players performed well in the first half, but couldn't assert themselves in the second 45 minutes.
"I think it was an acceptable result: the first half went to us and the second half went to them," he said. "We take this result home knowing that we could do in the second half what we did in the first.
"In the first half, I liked the team and they had the right attitude, not allowing Cagliari to play the game they wanted. In the second half the opposite was the case, Cagliari did what they wanted and we weren't able to repeat the first half.
"I believe that in the end, considering everything, the result was right."
Pioli was happy to get the job done against Genoa and praised his squad for coping with the difficulties in the closing months of 2023.
"We won well, we could have scored a few more goals and we could have done better, we need to find that continuity in the 95 minutes to find a higher standard," he said.
"The boys were very good and very careful. The group is cohesive, compact, has never given in to difficulties and wants to overcome them."

Head-to-Head (Last Five Serie A Meetings)

Matches - 5
Empoli - 0
AC Milan - 4
Draws - 1

Serie A Matchday 19 fixtures:

Friday, January 5
20h45: Bologna v Genoa
Saturday, January 6
12h30: Inter Milan v Verona
15h00: Frosinone v Monza
18h00: Lecce v Cagliari
20h45: Sassuolo v Fiorentina
Sunday, January 7
12h30: Empoli v AC Milan
15h00: Torino v Napoli
15h00: Udinese v Lazio
18h00: Salernitana v Juventus
20h45: Roma v Atalanta

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Published: 01/04/2024