AC Milan get their Serie A campaign underway on Sunday when they host Torino at the San Siro, welcoming former coach Sinisa Mihajlovic back immediately.
The Serbian tactician was unable to guide the Rossoneri towards their goal of qualifying for Europe last season, and in turn he paid the price with his job.
Cristian Brocchi soon followed out of the exit door, and in came Vincenzo Montella as Milan’s sixth manager since January 2014.
The former Roma striker and Fiorentina boss arrives to find a difficult assignment at the club, but there is optimism and belief that he can take them in the right direction.
Whether or not Mihajlovic is able to deal an early blow to his former employers remains to be seen, but it promises to be a competitive and aggressive clash between two teams desperate to start off with all three points.
Milan will be without Rodrigo Ely, Cristian Zapata, Leonel Vangioni and Jherson Vergara due to injury, while Gianluca Lapadula misses out with suspension.
As for the visitors, Mihajlovic can’t call upon Marco Benassi, Davide Zappacosta or Danilo Avelar, but will likely hand debuts to Lorenzo De Silvestri and Adem Ljajic.
Milan XI: Donnarumma; Abate, Paletta, Romagnoli, De Sciglio; Bertolacci, Montolivo, Bonaventura; Suso, Niang, Bacca.
Torino XI: Padelli; De Silvestri, Rossettini, Moretti, Molinaro; Acquah, Vives, Obi; Martinez, Belotti, Ljajic.
Prediction: Milan 1-0 Torino. The Rossoneri are undefeated in this fixture since November 2001, winning two of the last three meetings.
It will likely be a tight game as both teams will look to battle for control of proceedings with high and intense pressing, and a piece of quality could be all that’s between them. It will be important for Milan in particular not to start off with a defeat, as Montella continues to look to build confidence and belief within the group.
Having missed out entirely on European football again last season, the pressure is on the Serie A giants to start off on a positive note and get back into Europe this time round.
— Sumeet Paul (@SP_Calcio) August 21, 2016