Following the heavy loss against Lille on Thursday, Milan are no longer on what was a very impressing unbeaten run, reaching 24 games in the end. Sunday’s clash against Hellas Verona will, therefore, be a big test of the Rossoneri’s mentality and determination, as bouncing back is crucial.
Milan were certainly humbled on Thursday evening, losing their first game since March (1-2 against Genoa) and also failing to score for the first time since June (0-0 against Juventus). However, as many Rossoneri fans have pointed out, it was bound to happen at some point, although losing by such a big margin is never good.
Verona have started their season well with three wins, two draws and just one loss, putting them in 7th place with 11 points. On paper, it’s expected to be a tight game but will also be interesting to see Milan’s reaction to the loss, can they bounce back with ease or will they struggle even more?
Pioli will have most of his team available for the clash, as Mateo Musacchio is the only player still recovering from injury. Davide Calabria and Alexis Saelemaekers were left out of the Lille squad but have recovered as expected, set to play from the first minute tomorrow evening.
Sandro Tonali got the chance from start against Lille and although he didn’t disappoint, he wasn’t spectacular either. Ismael Bennaver will, therefore, take back his spot alongside Franck Kessie. The Algerian has been fundamental for the Rossoneri as of late and his vision will be crucial tomorrow.
Ante Rebic is yet to reach 100%, despite initial reports, and thus won’t start on the left flank. Rafael Leao will paly there instead, completing the attacking trio along with Saelemaekers and Hakan Calhanoglu. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, of course, is hungry for goals and will start up front.
As for Hellas Verona, former Milan man Nikola Kalinic will be looking to bag his first goal for the club, arriving from Atletico Madrid in the summer. It would be the perfect way to get revenge after he was heavily criticised during his time with the Rossoneri, not living up to the price tag.
Probable Milan XI (4-2-3-1): Donnarumma; Calabria, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Kessie, Bennacer; Saelemaekers, Calhanoglu, Leao; Ibrahimovic.
Probable Verona XI (3-5-2-1): Silvestri; Ceccherini, Lovato, Magnani; Lazovic, Tameze, Ilic, Dimarco; Barak, Zaccagni; Kalinic.
- Three of the last seven Serie A meetings between AC Milan and Verona have been drawn, with each side winning twice in that run.
- AC Milan have scored in each of their last 26 league games, they could equal their second-longest streak in the Italian top-flight (27 matches in 1949).
- Verona’s last win on the road in Serie A was in January 2020 (2-0 v SPAL): indeed they’ve picked up only eight points in their last 13 away games in the competition.
- AC Milan’s Hakan Calhanoglu has scored two goals in three matches against Verona in Serie A, both at San Siro.
- Verona forward Nikola Kalinic has scored only one goal in five Serie A matches against AC Milan: in February 2017 with Fiorentina.
It won’t be an easy game for Milan, by any means, but they remain the favourites to claim the three points. Hopefully, the loss to Lille will act more as a wake-up call rather than a burden for the players, as they really need to bounce back as quickly as possible.
Ibrahimovic, who was subbed off last time out, will be hungry for goals and he will also demand a lot from his teammates. Therefore, personally, I’m not too worried about the Rossoneri’s mental approach to the game. But this doesn’t mean that the outcome will be in their favour.
AC Milan 3-1 Hellas Verona
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