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How AC Milan could line up vs Empoli: Higuain absence solution, defensive change touted

AC Milan take on Empoli on Thursday night hoping to secure all three points, but they will have to do so without Gonzalo Higuain.

As noted by Calciomercato, the Argentine forward has been ruled out with an injury issue, and that will be a huge blow for the Rossoneri given that he’s scored three goals in his last three games.

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Without his goals, others will certainly now have to step up as Gennaro Gattuso will be desperate to see his side secure a win after twice surrendering a lead in their draw with Atalanta on Sunday to lose further ground on their rivals in the pursuit of a top-four finish in Serie A.

The Italian tactician seemingly has two options to fill the void left behind by Higuain, with the more popular choice arguably being bringing in Patrick Cutrone.

The 20-year-old has only just returned from an injury issue of his own though after being sidelined with an ankle knock, and so it remains to be seen if he’s fit enough to complete 90 minutes or is back at 100% and can be effective.

As per the potential line-up below from La Gazzetta dello Sport, Fabio Borini could also emerge as an option up top given it’s a more natural role to him having shown his versatility at the San Siro to this point by playing in a variety of positions.

It remains to be seen who Gattuso goes with to lead his line, but given Cutrone’s more impressive recent goalscoring record, it would arguably be preferable from a Milan perspective to go with him.

It’s also suggested that Milan could make one change in defence too with Ignazio Abate coming in for Davide Calabria on the right side, although as per Sky Sport Italia, they believe it could come on the opposite flank with Diego Laxalt replacing Ricardo Rodriguez.

Given the busy fixture list, it remains to be seen if Gattuso opts to make more changes than necessary, but the big call will undoubtedly be who starts up front, as Higuain as emerged as a decisive figure in recent weeks with his goals and Milan must a find a way to score goals without him.

Probable AC Milan XI: Donnarumma; Abate, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Kessie, Biglia, Bonaventura; Suso, Borini/Cutrone, Çalhanoglu (via La Gazzetta dello Sport).

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