BOLOGNA

v

AC MILAN

Stadio Renato Dall’Ara, Bologna
December 12, 2010, 11:30 GMT

This week started off pretty much on the wrong note when Milan lost to Ajax in the Champions League fixture, at the San Siro. However, that should not be playing too much on their minds when they look to extend their lead at the top. This week, they face Bologna at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara with hopes of clinching all three points in the same week where title chasers Lazio face-off against Juventus.

Bologna on the other hand has had a perfect home record. They are yet to lose at home with 5 wins and 3 draws. Something’s got to give when they collide with the Rossoneri. Their top marksman Marco Di Vaio currently leads the Serie A goal scoring sheet in the absence of Eto’o due to suspension.

Team News and Tactical Brief

AC Milan

Undoubtedly, Milan go into this encounter as heavy favourites. After a sordid display against Ajax, Allegri’s men would like to re-emphasize their stranglehold on this year’s Scudetto with an outright win. December will be an easy month for Milan as they have only 2 matches left to play in 2010, so they would like to go into the new year as big a lead as possible before they run into Lazio. Alessandro Nesta will come up against one of his best friends in the form of Marco Di Vaio. On Milan’s official website, Nesta expressed his joy that his friend happens to be in the form of his life, although he did make a point of hoping Vaio would go scoreless this time around. Unsurprisingly perhaps, injuries and Milan go hand in hand. New additions to the “Hall of Injury” list this week have been Thiago Silva and Mathieu Flamini, both of whom sustained right knee injuries in the mid-week Champions League fixture. While Flamini is sidelined for all of four weeks, Silva has to fly to native Brazil to undergo tests to determine the extent of his injury. Allegri will undoubtedly be heaving a sigh of relief at having to face only lesser opposition at home and away, in potentially trying circumstances. Ibrahimovic and Robinho is again expected to spearhead Milan’s attack with Ibra particularly in the mood to overtake Eto’o as the league’s top scorer.

Allegri is likely to stick to the tried-and-tested 4-3-1-2 formation which eventually leads to a 4-1-2-1-2 as Pirlo drops down to support the defenders. On-song Boateng is expected to start this match with Ronaldinho coming on as a second half substitute. Abate, Nesta, Antonini will continue to man the defense with Abbiati in-between the posts. Pirlo, Ambrosini, Boateng, Seedorf should comprise the midfield feeding Robinho and Ibrahimovic upfront.

Probable starting Line-up: Abbiati(GK), Abate, Nesta, Yepes, Antonini, Pirlo, Ambrosini, Seedorf, Boateng, Ibrahimovic, Robinho.

Bologna

Bologna come into this match with a perfect record at home and will look to stifle Milan in their quest for glory. Alberto Malesani looks to inspire his side to a rare victory over Milan. They are coming off a 2-1 victory over Chievo last weekend. Bologna’s turnaround from a relegation zone team to almost a mid-table team has been due to the resurgence of Di Vaio. However, Bologna does not have a good home record against the big-boys of Serie A, drawing their matches against Inter and Juventus at home. That should not be cause for complacency from Milan, the huge gulf of 14 points between the two sides notwithstanding. On the injury front, Bologna has Massimo Mutarelli. Malesani is likely to field a 4-3-1-2 formation with Di Vaio and Giminez upfront, followed by Ramirez, Francesco Della Rocca, Gaby and Diego Perez in midfield, Matteo Rubin, Vangelis Moras, Miguel Britos, Gyorgy Garics in the 4-man defense with Emiliano Viviano as the shot-stopper.

Probable starting Line-up: Viviano(GK), Garics, Britos, Moras, Rubin, Gaby, Perez, Rocca, Ramirez, Giminez , Di Vaio.

Key Facts

1. A brace would make Ibrahimovic the top goal-scorer in Serie A.

2. Bologna are yet to lose at home.

3. The last time Milan lost on the road was against Cesena in September.

4. Alberto Malesani has faced off against Milan 8 times, winning 4 of them while losing the other 4.

TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR

Zlatan Ibrahimovic(AC Milan)

July 16, 2010 - Malmoe, SWEDEN - epa02250199 Zlatan Ibrahimovic  smiles during a press conference in Malmoe, Sweden 16 July 2010.  Ibrahimovic confirmed that he will return to the Swedish national soccer  team.

Zlatan - once more the man to watch out for!

This has been the Swede’s year so far and he has scored on almost all occasions notwithstanding the opponents. The Bologna back-line will have a handful to contain with should the Swede decide to run circles around them.

TheHardTackle’s PREDICTION

Bologna 0 – 2 AC Milan

Milan enter this game as clear-cut favorites. Injuries has hampered them this winter, but the imperious form of Boateng, Robinho and Ibrahimovic point to an easy victory for the visitors.

TheHardTackle’s BLAST FROM THE PAST