A fresh start under Clarence Seedorf, and a new formation to go with it. The Rossoneri have been a tighter unit since the Dutchman’s arrival and combine pace on the wings with Mario Balotelli’s finishing
Milan had found themselves stuck in a rut under Massimiliano Allegri, but have experienced a definite resurgence under the man who made a much-heralded return to the club as manager: Clarence Seedorf.
Only Juventus have performed better since the former player’s arrival on 15 January, with Milan picking up 13 points from the six league games played under his stewardship.
Much of the turnaround can perhaps be put down to a change in formation. While a real lack of defensive shape emerges from a look at the average position of the players employed in Allegri’s 4-3-2-1 during the defeat to Sassuolo (his final game), the back-four is much more rigid under Seedorf’s 4-2-3-1; so much so that they're on a run of two consecutive clean sheets for the first time this season.
The Dutchman’s side have also been more careful on the ball: they had 73 per cent of the possession at home to Bologna in their last match, the highest share they’ve had apart from during the goalless draw away at Chievo Verona.
However, their strategy has generally moved towards a more counter-attacking approach, waiting for the opposition to falter before breaking down the wings with January signings Keisuke Honda and Adel Taarabt.
Mario Balotelli is by far and away Milan’s top scorer with 10, double the tally of second-placed Kaka, so the fact that he is a major doubt for Sunday’s match through injury will be of some comfort for Antonio Conte’s men.
Sulley Muntari scored both goals against the Bianconeri last time, but the Ghanaian will definitely be absent through suspension this time around.
The Rossoneri have been most threatening from outside the penalty area. A total of 12 goals have come from distance, netted by nine different scorers that include the two January new arrivals.