Serie A Preview: Milan v Udinese
Milan are set to welcome back Mario Balotelli as they attempt to kick-start their Serie A season with a win over Udinese on Saturday.
The striker has completed a three-match suspension, which was imposed for a push on the referee following Milan’s defeat to Napoli on September 22, and his return is timely boost for coach Massimiliano Allegri.
Balotelli missed Italy’s draw with Denmark last Friday due to illness, but he came off the substitutes bench to score the equaliser in a 2-2 draw with Armenia on Tuesday night.
The former Manchester City man hit the headlines for the wrong reasons again when he appeared to push away a cameraman in Naples last weekend.
But Italian football federation president Giancarlo Abete defended the striker, who will be looking forward to letting his football do the talking at San Siro.
Allegri’s side have just two wins from their first seven games, leaving them down in 12th position and 13 points behind leaders Roma.
But Milan can take heart from their impressive home record, as they have won four of their five games at San Siro.
And they also received welcome news that a decision ordering them to play one match behind closed doors has been suspended, so Milan fans will be allowed to attend Saturday’s game.
Milan were hit with the sanction as punishment for chants from their supporters during the defeat to Juventus that were alleged to discriminate against southern Italy.
Allegri used the international break to give his fringe players a chance to impress in a friendly against Caen last weekend, but they failed to make the most of the opportunity as the French side won 3-0.
As well as having Balotelli available once again, midfielder Kaka is also set to return from injury along with Valter Birsa and Matias Silvestre, but Mattia De Sciglio (knee) remains on the sidelines.
Udinese were 2-0 winners over Cagliari last time out but they will be eager to address their away form, having lost all three Serie A games on their travels.
Francesco Guidolin’s side are eighth in the table and will go In search of their first Serie A away win over Milan since 2007.