As Serie A enters its second half with game week 20, AC Milan will welcome Sassuolo to the San Siro. The two teams are placed at opposite ends of the table, with Milan sitting second with 38 points and Sassuolo one spot above the relegation zone in 17th with 17 points.

The hosts head into this fixture after a shocking 4-0 away defeat at Lazio. They are currently experiencing a dip in form and are three matches without a win (2D, 1L) and, thus, will be poised to return to winning ways against a struggling opponent.

Meanwhile, the visitors are having a poor run of results of their own. They drew 1-1 at Monza last week after losing four consecutive matches in the weeks prior. At the very least, Sassuolo will try to perform well and give Milan a tough game. Below are some stats looking at the performance of both teams compared to each other in Serie A in 2022/23.

How have the teams performed?

Serie A Preview: AC Milan vs Sassuolo

AC Milan have won 11, drawn five, and lost three matches in Serie A in 2022/23. The viz above compares the percentile rank of Milan’s stats compared to other Serie A teams. Stefano Paoli’s team has a high rank in most of the metrics, including shots, xG, penalty area entries, possession rate, xGA, and pressing success rate. However, a few areas where the Rossoneri have a below-average rank and can improve are in crosses, opponent xG per shot, and recoveries.

Serie A Preview: AC Milan vs Sassuolo

On the other hand, Sassuolo have won four, drawn five, and lost 10 matches. From the viz above, we can observe that Sassuolo ranks in the top 95.2 percentile for a high pressing success rate but are performing poorly in the rest of the defending metrics. In terms of attack, the team has an above-average ranking for shots but struggles to score goals. Meanwhile, the team also does reasonably well in terms of pass attempts and accurate passes but has room for improvement in key passes and possession rate.

The teams in attack

Serie A Preview: AC Milan vs Sassuolo

AC Milan have scored 35 goals in the current season of Serie A. They are averaging an xG per match value of 1.73 and scoring at the rate of 1.84 goals per match. Milan’s players take around 15 shots per match with a 35% accuracy rate. From the shot map viz above, we can see that Stefano Paoli’s team has taken an overwhelming majority of the shots from dangerous areas inside the penalty box.Serie A Preview: AC Milan vs Sassuolo

Meanwhile, Sassuolo have only scored 18 goals in Serie A this season. They score 0.95 goals per match while averaging an xG rate of 1.26. They average 12.42 shots per match with 35.6% accuracy. From the shot map above, we can see that a lot of their shots from the penalty area have missed the target or have been saved and blocked, contributing to their low goal-scoring returns.

The teams in defence

Serie A Preview: AC Milan vs Sassuolo

AC Milan have conceded 24 goals this season with an xGA rate of 1.17. The viz above shows Milan’s defensive territory from the current season. Their defensive line is within their own half, and they commit defensive actions all over the pitch. Stefano Paoli’s side makes 37 interceptions and 82 recoveries per match. They concede 1.26 goals and 10.5 shots on average to their opponents. Milan have a win rate of 63.4% for defensive duels and almost 49% for aerial duels.

Serie A Preview: AC Milan vs Sassuolo

Sassuolo have conceded 29 goals this season for an xGA rate of 1.35. They play with a deep defensive line and are involved in a lot of defensive actions in the defensive third, making 40 interceptions and 73 recoveries per match. They concede 1.53 goals and 11.2 shots per match to their opponents. The team has a 60% win rate for defensive duels and a 41% win rate for aerial duels.

Key players

Serie A Preview: AC Milan vs Sassuolo

Rafael Leao has been one of the best players for Milan from the forward position. He has scored eight goals and provided five assists in 17 league appearances this season. If Sassuolo wants to secure a positive result, their defenders will have to ensure the Portuguese attacker does not have a good game.

Serie A Preview: AC Milan vs SassuoloOliver Giroud has been another top performer for Milan this season. The veteran striker has scored five goals and provided four assists this season. Going into this fixture, Sassuolo defenders will have the task of nullifying Giroud’s presence in the penalty box.

Team news

The home team will miss the services of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alessandro Florenzi, Mike Maignan, Fode Ballo-Toure, Theo Hernandez, Fikayo Tomori, and Davide Calabria through injury. Meanwhile, Ismael Bennacer will be unavailable through suspension. Other than these absentees, the rest of the Milan players will be available for selection.

Meanwhile, the visitors are expected to be without Andrea Pinamonti, Andrea Consigli, and Mert Muldur because of injury. Apart from these three players, the rest of the squad should be fit and ready to play.

This weekend’s Serie A match between AC Milan and Sassuolo will be crucial, as both teams will be looking to get back on track. Playing at home, Milan will be the favourites, and they will aim to secure maximum points and close the broad gap at the top of the table. Whereas Sassuolo will look to give a good performance on the road and maybe come away with a point.

Visuals via TFA data viz engine