Serie A Week 28 - 8 Mar 2013 (19.45 UK)
Genoa - Milan
Stadio Luigi Ferraris

After moving into Champions League spots for the first time this season, Milan look to solidify their position with a trip to Genoa this week.

It has been a rosy calendar year for the Rossoneri so far and their 3-0 win over Lazio put them into third place - a position not many would have imagined them being in given the terrible start they made to the campaign. Victory over the Aquile was their sixth in nine games they have played in 2013.

There was further good news for the Diavolo as Giampaolo Pazzini found the back of the net to take his tally to 12 for the season. The former Inter man has had to put up with being relegated to the third-choice forward, but there are already talks of him being offered an extension.

Max Allegri now takes his side to Genoa, but with one eye firmly fixed on the impending second-leg of the Round of 16 Champions League tie against Barcelona. And it is natural that his team selection for the game against the Rossoblu will be conditioned by the trip to Camp Nou.

Mario Balotelli, who missed last week’s game against Lazio, returned to full training on Wednesday and he could be straight back into the starting line-up as he is unavailable in Europe. The race for third spot may be tight, but with games against Palermo and Chievo to follow, one feels that the Rossoneri wouldn’t mind dropping points to the Grifone if it means getting the better of Barca.

Genoa suffered their first defeat under returning manager Davide Ballardini on Sunday night against Roma where Francesco Totti became the joint second-highest scorer in Serie A. The 3-1 scoreline was probably a bit unfair on the Genovese as they had almost twice the shots as their opponents.

Ballardini was sent off in less than ideal circumstances as he was asking for the ball to be played out following a collision between Portanova and Osvaldo. And to make matters worse, Juraj Kucka also followed him after being involved in a scuffle with Totti. The Slovakian’s absence will likely impact the Coach’s strategy for this game.

The hosts are five points clear of the relegation zone, but they know that a few bad results could mean they have to work twice as hard to work their way up again. One can expect them to throw caution to the wind in this game if Milan field a weakened side, and we might be in for a surprise.

Keep an eye on: Marco Borriello (Genoa) – The Italian had made his first big career move when he left Genoa for Milan back in 2008. However, he exited the fashion capital after just two seasons. He has rediscovered some of his form this year, and will be eager to make a point against the Rossoneri.

Stat Fact: Genoa have failed to score against Milan in four of the last five meetings, with each of those games being won by the Rossoneri. In fact, since the Rossoblu’s return to Serie A in 2007 only two of their 11 meetings have seen more than two goals.

Form Guide: Genoa (W D W D L)Milan (W D W D W)

Genoa (probable) – Frey; Granqvist, Portanova, Moretti; Pisano, Rossi, Tozser, Vargas, Antonelli; Bertolacci, Borriello

Milan (probable) – Abbiati; Abate, Zaccardo, Mexes, Di Sciglio; Flamini, Muntari, Montolivo, Boateng; Balotelli, Shaarawy

a must win game. i doubt balotelli will start, pazzini more likely to be given the nod. dont care if we play good or bad, just score one more than genoa and get 3pts. all that counts.