Rivalry reignited as Milan head to Turin

Posted by Sumeet Paul

Giuseppe Cacace/AFP/Getty ImagesRobinho's penalty conversion ended up being the winner in Milan's last meeting with Juventus.

Back in November, these two giants of Italian football met in peculiar circumstances, with their objectives fixed at either end of the spectrum. While Juventus were four points clear at the top, Milan's win saw them move to eighth as they merely fought their way back into Champions League contention.

Five months on and the Serie A table paints an entirely different picture as the Rossoneri have gone from strength to strength in a calendar year which has seen them remain unbeaten. Despite disappointing back-to-back draws in the past fortnight, they are still in a position few could have predicted prior to that night at San Siro.

- Allegri to stay at Milan

A Robinho penalty was the difference on that occasion, and while the Brazilian is likely to make way for Stephan El Shaarawy on Sunday night in Turin, Milan will need a similar performance if they are to return home with something to show for their efforts.

Their newly found fighting spirit and determination to turn things around had been on display the week previous in Naples. Yet the win over the reigning champions undoubtedly raised their spirits as they embarked on a run which has seen them lose just once since.

The Bianconeri have all but sealed their second league title in as many years, with the Scudetto race a formality that will likely reach its conclusion in the upcoming weeks. However, Milan have shown that they have the springboard in place to ensure that these two will again meet in different circumstances next season.

While Inter will undoubtedly rebuild again this summer, and Napoli prepare for the unwanted interest in their brightest star, Milan will arguably emerge as Juventus' main title threat next season.

The club have the foundations as well as the vision required to secure success in both the immediate and long-term future, and will reignite what will hopefully be an enthralling title race next season.

The squad will be strengthened ahead of the new campaign, but for now Massimiliano Allegri will be all too aware of the necessity of maintaining their current unbeaten run. Questions have been raised over the squad's fitness, but having had a full week to recover, they will surely head to Turin ready for battle.

Milan's lead over nearest rivals Fiorentina has been cut to four points with just six games remaining, and Massimo Ambrosini has underlined the importance of Sunday night's game.

"We have to try to keep Fiorentina away from us and get closer to Napoli. We can't really drop points this weekend. You have to go to Turin and face the game in a certain way, otherwise you run the risk of putting on a horrible showing," he told Milan Channel on Friday.

It is a horrible showing that could well involve a topic of discussion in a previous blog regarding Allegri's tactics. Antonio Conte's side are unlike many other Serie A teams in their approach, as they have both the personnel and collective ability to pressure Milan high up the pitch.

With a midfield potentially consisting of Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal, Paul Pogba and Claudio Marchisio, it will require a monumental effort from Milan's trio as well as those tasked to support them both with and without the ball to silence the home supporters.

While it is far from a "must-win" game for Milan on Sunday, they will not want to drop points for the third consecutive weekend ahead of the return of a certain Mario Balotelli against Catania after he had his three-game suspension reduced to two.

What is your prediction for Sunday? Where will the game be won or lost?

For all the latest Milan and Serie A and Serie A news, you can follow me on Twitter @italiafooty

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