AC Milan will continue their push for the Champions League places as they play hosts to Bologna at San Siro on Monday.
Coming on the back of a three-game winless run, AC Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso will demand a response from his side as they face Bologna at San Siro on Monday.
The Italian giants are currently seventh in the league table and with just four games left to play, a win could be crucial as they aim to secure European football next season. The Rossoneri have earned only five points in their last seven league games: only Fiorentina (3) and Parma have gained fewer points during this period.
Bologna, on the other hand, are playing some of the best football this season, having won six of their last eight matches. They have also scored six goals in their previous two games against Sampdoria and Empoli respectively – making them one of the most in-form sides in the division ahead of this contest.
The Rossoblu, however, are still struggling at the wrong end of the table with just 37 points on the board. But, collecting all three points against Milan could be useful as they aim to move into the top half of the table.
And here at the Hard Tackle, we run the rule over the two sides ahead of their crucial match-up in the Serie A on Monday.
Team News & Tactics
Club captain Alessio Romagnoli is out after being sent-off in the defeat to Torino last weekend. Cristian Zapata will replace the Italian international in central defence.
Zapata will partner the ever-present figure of Mateo Musacchio at the heart of Milan’s four-man backline. Ignazio Abate, meanwhile, is likely to return due to the absence of Andrea Conti. He will be deployed in the right-back slot while Ricardo Rodriguez will continue to feature on the opposite flank.
The midfield will remain unchanged, with Tiemoue Bakayoko likely to retain his place in the holding midfield role. Milan will miss out on the services of Giacomo Bonaventura, meaning Lucas Paqueta will continue to feature in the middle of the park.
Franck Kessie will partner both Bakayoko and Paqueta in central midfield. The 22-year-old will be vital in disrupting Bologna’s flow in the middle as well as restricting the opposition from affording too much time on the ball.
Suso is a guaranteed starter in the right wing slot along with Hakan Calhanoglu, who will operate on the opposite flank. However, we could expect the return of star striker Krzysztof Piatek, at the expense of Patrick Cutrone.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Abate, Musacchio, Zapata, Rodriguez; Kessie, Bakayoko, Paqueta; Suso, Piatek, Calhanoglu.
Roberto Soriano’s absence in midfield could force Sinisa Mihajlovic to revert to a 4-3-3 lineup, with Andrea Poli likely to make a return to the starting lineup.
He will feature in central midfield alongside Erick Pulgar and Blerim Dzemaili. These three players will have to deal with Milan’s dynamic midfield trio of Paqueta, Kessie and Bakayoko, which is a challenge for any midfield unit in Italy.
Key right-back Ibrahima Mbaye is suspended and will be replaced by Filip Helander. Aside from that, Mihajlovic is unlikely to make any changes to the defensive combination, with Lyanco and Danilo retaining their place in central defence while Mitchell Dijks will operate as the left-back.
Rodrigo Palacio will spearhead the Bologna attack on Monday. The veteran striker will be supported by the wide-duo of Nicola Sansone and Riccardo Orsolini, who is the club’s joint top scorer with six goals this season.
Federico Santander, Diego Falcinelli and Ladislav Krejci will serve as additional options for Mihajlovic in the attacking department.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Skorupski; Helander, Lyanco, Danilo, Dijks; Poli, Pulgar, Dzemaili; Orsolini, Palacio, Sansone.
- Bologna have a poor record away from home, having failed to win 25 of their last 27 matches on the road.
- AC Milan have been solid against Bologna in recent years, remaining unbeaten in all of the previous six matches in all competitions.
- The reverse fixture between AC Milan and Bologna ended 0-0. The last time the Rossoneri failed to win any of the two games in a single Serie A campaign against Bologna was back in 2011-12.
- Bologna have scored three goals in their last two games. The last time they had scored three or more goals in three consecutive top-flight matches was back in November 1996.
- Bologna have won more games than any other team in the last-eight Serie A match-days (six) and have scored the most goals ( 17, alongside Napoli).
Player to Watch
Gattuso will be ruing the decision of not including Piatek in the starting lineup during their 2-0 defeat to Torino. But, the Polish international is more than expected to make his return on Monday.
The former Genoa forward has been in top form since joining Milan in January, having scored as many as eight league goals in just 14 matches. Only Fabio Quagliarella has outscored the Polish striker in the Serie A this season.
Hence, Piatek will be keen to find the back of the net as he looks to return to the top of the scoring chart and most importantly, help his side clinch all three points against an in-form Bologna side, who have conceded only one goal in their last two matches.
AC Milan 2-2 Bologna
Bologna could cause a lot of problems for the decimated Milan defence, mainly due to their vicious counter-attacking prowess. But given the Rossoneri‘s offensive firepower, we could expect a high-scoring 2-2 draw in this crucial Serie A fixture on Monday.