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Preview: Lecce vs. AC Milan – prediction, team news, lineups



Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Serie A clash between Lecce and AC Milan, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Days after a crucial win in Europe, AC Milan return to domestic duty on Saturday afternoon, when they visit Lecce at Stadio Via del Mare.
While Milan started sluggishly in the Champions League and have recently faltered in Serie A, their midweek success against Paris Saint-Germain will erase memories of a four-match winless streak; their hosts, meanwhile, have not won since September. ...Click Here To Continue Reading>>

Match preview
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After a 3-0 defeat two weeks earlier in France – and following five Champions League games without scoring a single goal – seven-time European champions Milan flipped the script entirely on Tuesday night, as they beat Paris Saint-Germain at San Siro to keep hopes of progressing from Group H alive.

Thanks to strikes from Rafael Leao and Olivier Giroud, the Rossoneri are now within a point of the top two in this year’s ‘Group of Death’, and crucial clashes with Borussia Dortmund and Newcastle United await after the international break.
Milan have, however, slipped six points off the pace of arch-rivals Inter at the Serie A summit after a dismal fortnight featuring three losses and one draw in all competitions.
Having narrowly lost out to Juventus with 10 men, Stefano Pioli’s side then let a two-goal lead slip to draw with reigning champions Napoli, before suffering a shock home loss against winless Udinese last week.
Two defeats from their last three league games is as many as in the previous 19, which brought no less than 13 victories, so Pioli will be keen to use momentum from his team’s Champions League success as fuel for a domestic revival.
As Milan have lost only one of their last 23 Serie A matches against Saturday’s hosts – and that lone loss came back in April 2006 – anything less than maximum points this weekend would cast doubt over their status as serious Scudetto contenders.
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For all their many failures to beat Milan either home or away in the Italian top flight, Lecce have actually lost just three of their last 12 meetings with the second-city giants down at Stadio Via del Mare.

Current coach Roberto D’Aversa will hope that bodes well for the Salento side on Saturday afternoon, as they have hit the buffers following an excellent start to the 2023-24 campaign and are slowly sliding down the Serie A standings.
Lecce dropped to 13th following a painful reverse against Roma last time out, and after racking up 11 points from their opening five matches they have taken only two from the next six.
Shortly after exiting the Coppa Italia to Serie B leaders Parma, when they were beaten 4-2 after conceding twice during second-half stoppage time, the Salentini were on course for victory at Stadio Olimpico last Sunday, after Wladimiro Falcone saved Romelu Lukaku’s early penalty and Pontus Almqvist then put them ahead in the 72nd minute.
However, they shipped two more goals during added time to lose 2-1 to their fellow Giallorossi, with Lukaku producing the fatal dagger-blow – and now another tough test lies in store this weekend.

Lecce Serie A form:

Lecce form (all competitions):

AC Milan Serie A form:

AC Milan form (all competitions):

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Team News
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While Stefano Pioli may keep changes to a minimum for Milan’s final fixture before the international break, first-choice forward Christian Pulisic is likely to miss Saturday’s game, having sat out the loss to Udinese and then been forced off in the final minutes against PSG.
Both Pulisic and veteran defender Simon Kjaer are struggling with muscular problems, so Samu Chukweueze should replace the former in attack.
The Nigerian striker would join Rafael Leao as part of the Rossoneri’s front three at Via del Mare, and the latter has scored more goals against Lecce than any other Serie A side: four in four matches, including a brace back in April.
In addition to Kjaer, Marco Pellegrino and Pierre Kalulu are unavailable – narrowing Pioli’s defensive options somewhat – and back-up goalkeeper Marco Sportiello also remains sidelined.
Lecce, meanwhile, are set to be without last week’s goalscorer, as Swedish winger Pontus Almqvist has picked up a thigh injury; centre-back Kastriot Dermarku is back in action after a long layoff, though, and should take a place on the bench.
In Almqvist’s likely absence, Gabriel Strefezza and Lameck Banda are favourites to start in support of centre-forward Nikola Krstovic, but Nicola Sansone – who has scored five league goals against Milan in the past – is also a contender.
Recently linked with a switch to Milan’s city rivals Inter during the next transfer window, Ylber Ramadani runs the Salentini’s three-man midfield.
Lecce possible starting lineup:Falcone; Gendrey, Baschirotto, Pongracic, Gallo; Kaba, Ramadani, Rafia; Strefezza, Krstovic, Banda
AC Milan possible starting lineup:Maignan; Calabria, Tomori, Thiaw, Hernandez; Krunic, Reijnders; Chukwueze, Loftus-Cheek, Leao; Giroud

We say: Lecce 1-2 AC Milan
Lecce’s downward spiral could continue this weekend, as Milan are on a high from their Champions League heroics and have a point to prove in Serie A. While the hosts are far harder to beat on home soil, they rarely score more than once and will also be vulnerable to the Rossoneri’s varied attack. For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 2.5:data

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Preview: Leicester City vs. Plymouth Argyle – prediction, team news, lineups





Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Championship clash between Leicester City and Plymouth Argyle, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
After both sides netted stoppage-time winners in their last fixtures, Leicester City and Plymouth Argyle will battle to make it back-to-back victories when they clash at the King Power Stadium in the Championship on Saturday afternoon.
The Foxes still have a healthy cushion between themselves and third place following the success at West Bromwich Albion, whilst the Pilgrims eased their faint relegation concerns with three points against Stoke City. ...Click Here To Continue Reading>>

Match preview
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Heading into extra time at The Hawthorns a week ago, league leaders Leicester City were staring down the barrel of one win in their last five matches after West Brom’s Josh Maja scored a scrappy 89th-minute equaliser following Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s opener, however it would be the East Midlanders who would have the last laugh in the Black Country.

Carlos Corberan’s men ploughed forward in questionable numbers in pursuit of a winner and were punished for their lack of defensive care in the final stages, with playmaker Dewsbury-Hall turning the provider as the Foxes struck on the break, affording former England international Harry Winks a simple tap-in to send the away end into hysterics.
Victories for all of Kieran McKenna’s Ipswich Town, Daniel Farke’s Leeds United and Russell Martin’s Southampton made Leicester’s success in the West Midlands even more important, meaning the Foxes remain eight points clear of the third-placed Whites after 19 games of the second-tier campaign.
After back-to-back away games at Hillsborough and The Hawthorns yielded four points, Enzo Maresca’s side return to the King Power for the first time since their 2-0 success over Watford on November 25, when a late Jamie Vardy brace bailed out a sluggish display from the hosts.
The Foxes face four games against teams currently 15th or below in the table before a mouth-watering encounter with second-placed Ipswich on December 23, meaning those of a Leicester persuasion will be expecting to put 12 more points onto their impressive tally ahead of the trip to Portman Road.
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Making a 100th appearance for his hometown club, midfielder Adam Randell was the hero of Home Park last time out as the 23-year-old scored a 97th-minute winner against Alex Neil’s out-of-form Stoke side, extending Argyle’s unbeaten home run to four matches.
The Green Army were facing the possibility of losing only their fourth home clash of the term when Tyrese Campbell netted for the Potters in the first half, however an equaliser from Sierra Leone’s Mustapha Bundu allowed local boy Randell the chance to snatch all three points for the hosts.

Steven Schumacher’s men currently occupy 16th position in the second-tier table after collecting a respectable tally of 22 points from their opening 19 matches, and although the Plymouth boss has been linked to the vacant managerial role at Sunderland following the departure of Tony Mowbray, the 39-year-old insists that he is at the “perfect place” to continue his development as a coach.
The clear reason why the Green Army have been unable to join the likes of the Black Cats in the chase of a top-six position is Argyle’s woeful away record, with Saturday’s visitors to the King Power failing to win any of their nine league outings, collecting just three points away from Home Park so far this season.
Since securing a permanent switch from Swansea City in the summer, Morgan Whittaker has scored eight goals in 19 Championship appearances for Plymouth this term, meaning the 22-year-old is one strike away from equalling the tally he managed during 25 League One games in 2022-23.

Leicester City Championship form:

Plymouth Argyle Championship form:

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Team News
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After Kelechi Iheanacho was largely unimpressive during the narrow success at West Brom last time out, Vardy could be set for a spot in the starting XI, whilst summer arrival Thomas Cannon is waiting patiently for his opportunity in the Leicester attack.
Wilfred Ndidi produced a solid display alongside goalscorers Dewsbury-Hall and Winks in the Foxes’ engine room at The Hawthorns, meaning the Galatasary-linked midfielder will retain his place in the XI.
Marseca’s men will be without the services of influential defender Ricardo Pereira after he picked up his fifth yellow card of the term last weekend, with the versatile Hamza Choudhury a possible deputy at right-back.
Changes could be made on the flanks for Saturday’s hosts, with Abdul Fatawu pushing for a start alongside Vardy and Stephy Mavididi, at the expense of Kasey McAteer.
With Bundu finding the net against Stoke, Plymouth striker Ryan Hardie could find it slightly more difficult to force his way back into the starting XI following time out due to a hamstring injury.
Brendan Galloway started his first game since April at left-back as the Green Army saw off the Potters, however the 27-year-old could make way for Mickel Miller at the King Power.
Last weekend’s match-winner Randell could be rewarded with a starting spot in the East Midlands, with Schumacher potentially preferring the 23-year-old over more attack-minded players such as Luke Cundle and Finn Azaz.
Leicester City possible starting lineup:Hermansen; Choudhury, Faes, Vestergaard, Justin; Ndidi, Winks, Dewsbury-Hall; Fatawu, Mavididi, Vardy
Plymouth Argyle possible starting lineup:Cooper; Kesler-Hayden, Scarr, Gibson, Miller; Houghton, Cundle, Azaz; Mumba, Whittaker, Hardie

We say: Leicester City 2-0 Plymouth Argyle
Leicester will be delighted to be back at the King Power following two tricky Championship outings, where the home faithful will demand maximum points and a dominant display from the league leaders.
Plymouth are one of three sides in the Championship who are yet to taste success on the road this season, so we are expecting the Pilgrims to struggle in the East Midlands on Saturday. For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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Arsenal considering Viktor Gyokeres signing, scouted him more than once




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Arsenal have been closely monitoring Sporting Lisbon striker Viktor Gyokeres ahead of a possible approach, according to Portuguese publication Record (page 14).

The Sweden international had a good stint in the Championship with Coventry City last term. He registered 22 goals and 12 assists from 50 appearances.

He was linked with a potential switch to the Premier League over the summer, but Sporting eventually won the race to sign him for €20 million plus add-ons.

It is now reported that the Gunners have scouted him more than once this campaign and they are now considering the possibility of landing his signature.

However, Sporting are quite clear that they don’t want to lose him in January unless any club is willing to trigger the hefty €100m release clause in his contract.

Arsenal linked with surprise move for Gyokeres

The 25-year-old was linked with a Premier League switch last summer after Coventry missed out on top-flight promotion to Luton Town via the play-offs.

West Ham United were the most interested English club in the Swede, but he chose to make the move to Sporting, who are currently top of the Primeira Liga.

Gyokeres has been pivotal for the club with 15 goals and seven assists from just 17 appearances and we are not surprised that Arsenal are monitoring him.

The Gunners already hold an interest in his teammate Ousmane Diomande, but any deal could be delayed until the summer with Sporting unwilling to negotiate in January.

A move for Diomande seems justifiable with his huge potential as a 19-year-old centre-back, but we believe there are better strikers that Arsenal could pursue over Gyokeres.

Gyokeres would be a good acquisition for a mid-table Premier League side, but the Gunners should aim higher and recruit someone like Victor Osimhen if they want to win titles.

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AC Milan ‘intensify efforts to sign Arsenal defender Jakub Kiwior’




AC Milan are reportedly set to step up their efforts to sign Arsenal’s Jakub Kiwior and are ready to open discussions over a possible move for the player in January....Click Here To Continue Reading>>

AC Milan are reportedly set to step up their efforts to sign defender Jakub Kiwior and are ready to open discussions with Arsenal over a possible move for the player in the January transfer window.
The 23-year-old arrived from Italian outfit Spezia in the last window but has not been able to nail down a regular starting role under Mikel Arteta during his time in North London.
Kiwior has made only five starts in all competitions over the last 11 months, with two of those coming in the Carabao Cup.

According to 90min, Kiwior is keen to play more regularly, and The Gunners are open to granting the defender a loan to move away from the Emirates Stadium in January.
The report adds that with the possibility of the defender becoming available in the New Year, AC Milan have emerged as one of the frontrunners to secure the 23-year-old’s services and are preparing to open discussion with Arsenal over a potential move.

It is understood that the Rossoneri are keen on a loan move for Kiwior, with the option to purchase him outright next summer.
The Serie A giants are also believed to be happy to agree with an obligation to buy the player next summer if it will help get the deal done.
AC Milan are expected to be active in the upcoming transfer market as they try to bolster their defensive line, with the likes of centre-backs Malick Thiaw and Pierre Kalulu currently sidelined through injury.
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