Milan are still not at full strength due to the absence of Bonaventura, but Pasalic is back from a ban and an option to start, while long-term absentee Montolivo may make the bench. Few changes are expected following the draw with Inter, but there could be some neutral minor rotation. Zapata is expected to keep his place ahead of Paletta in defense.
Following the takeover of the club after a long drawn out saga, the mood around the club is positive at the moment, with the 97th-minute equalizer in the derby last weekend enhancing the positive feeling. Getting three points will now be on the agenda as they look to enhance their chances of Europa League qualification and anything less than that will be a disappointing outcome at home to Empoli. Buoyed by recent events, Montella’s side will aim to start well and will look to take the game to Empoli, fully believing in a win. With the visitors capable of grinding out results and having survival to fight for, breaking the deadlock early will be favorable, thus affording Milan more space. They won’t just sit back on a one goal lead and have the ability to make it five home wins in a row.
Empoli are definitely forced into one change from the big win over Fiorentina and almost certainly two, as Krunic is banned, while Buchel collapsed in training on Friday and is, therefore, a major doubt. El Hadji will earn a recall, with Mauri and Tello competing to play, but the rest of the team could be unchanged. Pucciarelli is rated as doubtful due to an ankle complaint. After seven straight losses, Martusciello’s side have picked up four points from their last two games, boosting morale and their survival chances. The win at Fiorentina last week was a massive one and resulted in them increasing their lead over 18th placed Crotone, while with that being the result of their season, they’ll now go to Milan believing they can cause a shock, being very happy to draw. Having generally struggled away and with a draw suiting, they’ll be cautious in their approach. They won’t be taking risks whilst level and will aim for a low scoring game, having failed to score in 12 of their 16 away fixtures, while even if one down they probably won’t change a great deal. Keeping it tight is the aim, becoming more cautious if they have something to defend with time running out.
Prediction: Under 3.00 goals
Odds: 1.93 Pinnacle