AC Milan will be looking to continue their surge for a top six finish in the Serie A when they taken on Bologna at San Siro this weekend.
AC Milan will be aiming to break into the top six of the 2019/20 Serie A, when they face off against tenth-placed Bologna at San Siro on Saturday night.
The Rossoneri have been in brilliant form since the campaign restarted, winning five of their seven matches (D2). During this run, Stefano Pioli’s side have beaten Juventus, AS Roma and Lazio among others, with their latest game ending in a 3-1 win over Parma. Level on points with Napoli in sixth, a win would take Milan over the Partenopei, who will be in action on Sunday.
Bologna, on the other hand, are the tenth in the standings currently, with 43 points from 33 matches so far. Sinisa Mihajlovic’s side have won just two of their seven matches since the season resumed, one of which came against Inter Milan, while their most recent fixture ended in a 1-1 draw against Napoli.
The reverse fixture, played in December last year, saw Milan notch up a 3-2 victory, with goals coming from Krzysztof Piatek, Theo Hernandez and Giacomo Bonaventura. Ahead of their latest meeting this Saturday, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
Stefano Pioli will welcome back winger Alexis Saelemaekers, who returns after serving a suspension. However, the hosts will continue to be without the services of Mateo Musacchio, Samu Castillejo and Leo Duarte, while Lucas Paqueta is also expected to miss out due to an injury.
No significant changes are expected from the manager given the run of form that his team has been in of late. There is no looking past Gianluigi Donnarumma in goal for the Rossoneri. Simon Kjaer, who recently signed a new contract with the club, will partner captain Alessio Romagnoli at the heart of the Milan defence.
Andrea Conti has been preferred at right-back for a series of matches now, but has failed to deliver. So, there is a good chance that Davide Calabria replaces him on Saturday, while Theo Hernandez should continue on the opposite side.
Ismael Bennacer was benched for the previous game against Parma. The Algerian should reclaim his place in the midfield double pivot, alongside partner-in-crime Franck Kessie, who was on the scoresheet last time out. Hakan Calhanoglu, who also scored against Parma, will look to create chances for his teammates from the No. 10 role.
The returning Saelemaekers should be reinstated on the right flank whereas in-form man Ante Rebic should also come back into the side on the left-wing. Spearheading the attack for Milan will be seasoned striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Donnarumma; Calabria, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Kessie, Bennacer; Saelemaekers, Calhanoglu, Rebic; Ibrahimovic
Sinisa Mihajlovic has just two injury concerns heading into the fixture against former employers AC Milan. Federico Santander and Jerdy Schouten are the only players who will be unavailable for selection for the Rossoblu for the trip to Milan.
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Much like his counterpart, Mihajlovic is also likely to refrain from making a host of changes to the side that held Napoli to a 1-1 draw last time out. Lukasz Skorupski ought to be the man guarding the Bologna goal and will likely be a busy man given the form that Milan have been in of late.
Ibrahima Mbaye and Mitchell Dijks should continue as the two full-backs on the right and left sides, respectively. Danilo is once again likely to partner Takehiro Tomiyasu at the heart of the Bologna defence, with the latter being used as a centre-back in recent matches.
Veteran midfielder Gary Medel will screen the backline starting as the deepest of the three midfielders for the visitors. He will be flanked by 22-year-old Nicolas Dominguez and Roberto Soriano, who has scored four goals and created six more in the Serie A this season.
Leading goalscorer and assist-provider Riccardo Orsolini was left out on the bench in the last game and may once again find himself amongst the substitutes with Andreas Skov Olsen likely to get the nod on the right flank, while Musa Barrow, who scored the equaliser against Napoli, set to be retained on the left. Rodrigo Palacio should continue as the lone striker.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Skorupski; Mbaye, Tomiyasu, Danilo, Dijks; Dominguez, Medel, Soriano; Skov Olsen, Palacio, Barrow
- AC Milan have won seven of their last eight Serie A games against Bologna (D1), keeping four clean sheets in the process.
- Bologna have conceded 224 goals in top-flight history against AC Milan – more than against any other opponent.
- AC Milan have lost only three of their last 39 Serie A games against Bologna at San Siro. The last defeat came in January 2016, when current Bologna manager, Sinisa Mihajlovic, was in charge of the Rossoneri.
- Since the beginning of December, Bologna have won six Serie A games played away from home (D1 L2). No team has a better record on the road during this period.
- AC Milan have scored at least two goals in all seven Serie A matches played since the restart of the campaign. They have netted 20 times in total.
Player to Watch
The Croatian international, after a slow start to life with AC Milan, has found his footing since the turn of the year. Rebic has been one of the chief driving forces in the Rossoneri’s turnaround of fortunes under Stefano Pioli. He has found the back of net on 10 occasions in 22 Serie A appearances this term, all of which have come since the turn of the year.
Four of his ten goals have come in the seven matches since the season restarted in June, while he has also contributed with a couple of assists during this period as well. Having made a small cameo last time out against Parma, Rebic will be well-rested heading into Saturday’s fixture and will be a major thorn in the side for Bologna.
AC Milan 3-1 Bologna
AC Milan have been one of the most in-form teams in the Serie A since the season resumed last month, with five wins, no losses and 20 goals scored during the period. Bologna, on the other hand, haven’t been able to string together a run of good results, failing to win their last three (D2 L1), although they did defeat Inter Milan a couple of weeks ago.
With both teams expected to go all-out attack, it promises to be an exciting encounter at San Siro. But, given the form that the Rossoneri have been in, coupled with their impressive head-to-head record against the Rossoblu, The Hard Tackle is expecting Stefano Pioli & co. to rack up another victory and claim the sixth spot in the table.