AC Milan will be in search of their second win of the 2019-20 Serie A season, when they travel to Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi to take on Hellas Verona.

AC Milan will be looking to carry on from where they left off before the international break and notch up back-to-back victories, when they take on Hellas Verona on Sunday night at Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi.

The Rossoneri made an inauspicious start to the new season under new manager Marco Giampaolo, getting beaten 1-0 by Udinese away from home on the opening day. But, they managed to bounce back with a narrow victory over Brescia, courtesy a goal from Hakan Calhanoglu.

Currently in the 13th position in the Serie A standings, Milan will be keen on making their way up the table by bagging all three points from their trip to the east on Sunday night.

However, the newly-promoted Hellas Verona outfit will not be an easy opponent by any stretch for the Rossoneri. Back in the top-tier, Ivan Juric’s side have picked up four points from their two games so far, drawing 1-1 against Bologna before beating Lecce 1-0 in their most recent fixture.

The Gialloblu are a point and four places above their weekend’s opponents in the table and will want to extend their unbeaten start to the season. The fact that they have lost just one of their last five meetings against Milan (W2 D2) should fill them with confidence ahead of the big game on Sunday.

Team News & Tactics

Hellas Verona

Emmanuel Badu, on-loan from Udinese, will have to wait for his debut for his new club as he misses out with an injury. Also missing for the home team on Sunday are left-back Alessandro Crescenzi and midfielder Daniel Bessa. Verona have looked defensively resolute in their 3-4-2-1 setup and will continue with the same tactics against Milan.

Lining up in goal for Verona will be 28-year-old Marco Silvestri, who will be protected by a three-man backline comprising of Marash Kumbulla, Amir Rrahmani and Koray Gunter, who is on loan from Genoa till the end of the season.

Summer arrivals Darko Lazovic and Davide Faraoni will line up as the wing-backs on the right and left sides, respectively and will be the main source of width when Verona look to attack. Miguel Veloso will slot in as one of two central midfielders and look to shield his backline. The veteran Portuguese is likely to be paired up with Matteo Pessina, who scored the only goal of the last match.

24-year-old Mattia Zaccagni will slot in as one of the two attacking midfielders for the Gialloblu and will be partnered by former Celtic midfielder Liam Henderson. The duo will be key to create meaningful chances for Verona, but will also need to put in a shift defensively.

Gennaro Tutino, on loan from Napoli, will spearhead the attack for Verona, with former AC Milan striker Giampaolo Pazzini and Eddie Salcedo providing options from the bench.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Silvestri; Kumbulla, Rrahmani, Gunter; Lazovic, Veloso, Pessina, Faraoni; Henderson, Zaccagni; Tutino

AC Milan

Theo Hernandez has returned to training, having recovered from his ankle injury as has midfielder Lucas Biglia. But, neither are expected to make it to the starting XI for AC Milan on Sunday. New signing Ante Rebic has trained with the team since Thursday, but is likely to feature on the bench. Mattia Caldara remains sidelined for AC Milan.

Giampaolo set his team up in a 4-3-2-1 formation in the win against Brescia last time, but is likely to switch to a 4-3-3 setup on Sunday night. Gianluigi Donnarumma is the obvious pick between the sticks for the Rossoneri, while the defence also pretty much picks itself with Davide Calabria, Mateo Mussachio, Alessio Romagnoli and Ricardo Rodriguez expected to start.

Summer signing Ismael Bennacer is set to slot in as the deepest of the three central midfielder for Milan. Franck Kessie and Hakan Calhanoglu should start on either side of Bennacer and look to provide the forward thrust and creativity for Milan. Brazilian Lucas Paqueta misses out once again.

Star man Suso is likely to be moved back to his preferred role on the right flank from where he can cause much damage to the home team, while Samu Castillejo is expected to hold on to his spot in the team, starting on the left wing.

Leading the attack for Milan should be Krzysztof Piatek, who was overlooked in favour of Andre Silva, who has joined Eintracht Frankfurt on loan, for the last game. The Rossoneri should have plenty of firepower on the bench with the likes of Rafael Leao, Fabio Borini and Paqueta to call upon should things not go their way initially.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Calabria, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Kessie, Bennacer, Calhangolu; Suso, Piatek, Castillejo

Key Stats

  • This will be the 59th meeting between the two sides. AC Milan have the upper hand when it comes to head-to-head record, having picked up 26 wins in the previous 58 matches, while Hellas Verona have come out on top on just ten occasions.
  • However, the Rossoneri have struggled to get positive results on their travels to Marcantonio Bentegodi. Milan have won just nine of their last 32 games against Hellas Verona at the Bentegodi (D12 L11), losing both of their most recent matches against Verona away from home.
  • Verona have scored 39 goals at the Bentegodi against AC Milan, a record for the club in home matches against a single opponent in Serie A.
  • Milan have won only one of their last five Serie A games against Verona (D2 L2).
  • Only in six previous Serie A campaigns have Verona gone unbeaten through their opening three games of a season, most recently in 2014-15.

Player to Watch

Krzysztof Piatek

Piatek is going through a lean patch (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

Piatek is going through a lean patch (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

The Poland international was the toast of Milan when he joined the club from Genoa in January earlier this year. Piatek had an explosive start to life with the Rossoneri as he netted 8 goals in his first 11 Serie A matches for the club.

However, the 24-year-old has hit a bit of a lean patch since then, finding the net just once in his last 9 league outings and is yet to open his goalscoring account in the new season. With Rafael Leao breathing down his neck, Piatek needs to start firing for Milan and he will be hoping to get off the mark on Sunday night.

Prediction

Hellas Verona 0-1 AC Milan

Verona seem to have adjusted to life in the top-flight quite well after earning promotion via the playoffs. Four points from two matches is a pretty steady start for the Gialloblu and they will be hoping to build on that against AC Milan, who have struggled at the Marcantonio Bentegodi in the past.

The Rossoneri are still finding their feet under the tutelage of new manager Marco Giampaolo, as has been seen in their scratchy displays against Udinese and Brescia. However, they will be hoping to hit top gear at the earliest and not risk dropping any more points, having already lost a game.

Verona do not possess a lot of quality going forward and might find it hard to break through the Milan defence. But, they themselves are a tough unit to break down and should make life difficult for the visitors. However, with the likes of Suso, Calhanoglu and Piatek in the ranks, the Rossoneri should have enough in the tank to eke out a narrow win at the Bentegodi on Sunday night.

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