Cagliari vs Milan: Serie A Preview, Potential Lineups & Prediction

Cagliari’s quest to post their first league win upon their Serie A return faces another mammoth task as title-bidding Milan arrive at Unipol Domus on Wednesday. Let’s look at our match preview for this contest.

Manager Claudio Ranieri issued a stern warning to his Cagliari players following a 2-0 defeat at Atalanta on Sunday, urging them to adapt to top-flight duties sooner rather than later. Less than two months into the new campaign, the Sardinians are among the hottest relegation candidates. And the signs are ominous.

Like in their fateful 2021/22 relegation Serie A campaign, they’ve opened a new season without a win in five matches (D2, L3). A lack of results is hardly surprising, given Cagliari’s significant scoring problems. They have found the back of the net just once in the opening five rounds. For comparison, they had seven to their name at this stage of that infamous 2021/22 campaign. 

Their hopes of improving their dreadful scoring ratio aren’t high. Goals have been at a premium for Cagliari in their recent Serie A meetings with Milan. Ranieri’s men have drawn a blank in six of their last seven top-flight encounters against the San Siro outfit. It’s needless to say that none of those games ended well for them (D1, L6). 

In contrast to Cagliari’s disastrous attacking performances, Stefano Pioli’s men have been regular on the scoresheet this term. After netting at least two goals in their opening three league outings (W3), the visitors have had to settle for one goal apiece across their last two top-flight fixtures. 

Rafael Leao’s eighth-minute strike inspired Milan to a narrow 1-0 home win over Hellas Verona on Saturday. But despite an uneventful showing, those three points were crucial for Rossoneri following a 5-1 Derby della Madonnina catastrophe ten days ago.

Match Preview


Unipol Domus hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for Cagliari this season. After suffering a disheartening 2-0 defeat to Milan’s fierce rivals Inter in their opening home league game, Ranieri’s team shared the spoils with Udinese in a dull 0-0 draw last time out. 

A more worrying issue is that Cagliari garnered just three shots on target across those two matches. It only gets worse for the Sardinians. They have lost their last three home clashes against Milan in Serie A via an aggregate score of 5-0. 

If it’s any consolation for the Cagliari fans, the hosts have conceded one goal or fewer in two of their last three league contests against Milan.

Player to Watch: Boris Radunovic

With Cagliari’s frontline showing no signs of life, their best hope of avoiding another defeat is to fend off free-scoring Milan. Radunovic may have to step up again, with the Serbian goalkeeper making a league-high 13 saves in the first five rounds.


Before narrowly edging out Verona, Milan held Newcastle United to a scoreless home draw in their opening Champions League fixture. Back-to-back clean sheets are a stark improvement to the visitors’ leaky three-game sequence beforehand. Pioli’s decision to divert from his usual 4-3-3 to a 3-4-3 due to injuries paid dividends against Verona, at least defensively. 

Offensive-wise, Milan looked toothless for most of that match. However, Pioli would appreciate another shutout, especially considering his side last won two Serie A fixtures ‘to nil’ in succession in February. Based on their recent H2H record against Cagliari, Rossoneri would be forgiven for expecting nothing less. 

Player to Watch: Rafael Leao

After marking his first Serie A appearance as a stand-in captain with a match-winner, Leao will be looking to get on the scoresheet for the fourth consecutive league game. Achieving that feat would see him set his personal record in Eruope’s top-five divisions.

Team News

Former Milan forward Gianluca Lapadula won’t be at Ranieri’s disposal due to a long-term ankle problem. Midfielder Marko Rog is the only other name on the home side’s injury list. But Cagliari may be without Leonardo Pavoletti and Jakub Jankto as they’ve struggled with minor fitness problems these past few days.

On the other hand, Milan will make this trip without first-choice stopper Mike Maignan, Pierre Kalulu, Rade Krunic, Ismael Bennacer, and Davide Calabria. After missing the weekend game against Verona, Theo Hernandez should regain his place in the starting lineup.

Cagliari vs Milan Potential Lineups

Cagliari (3-5-2): Boris Radunovic; Pantelis Chatzidiakos, Alberto Dossena, Adam Obert; Nahitan Nandez, Ibrahim Sulemana, Antoine Makoumbou, Alessandro Deiola, Paulo Azzi; Eldor Shomurodov, Zito Luvumbo. 

Milan (3-4-3): Marco Sportiello; Malick Thiaw, Simon Kjaer, Fikayo Tomori; Theo Hernandez, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Tijjani Reijnders; Yunus Musah; Christian Pulisic, Rafael Leao, Olivier Giroud.

Cagliari vs Milan Prediction

Cagliari can already see the writings on the wall as we back Milan to pour more misery on the devastated Unipol Domus faithful. 

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