Milan vs Hellas Verona Preview and Expected Lineups – Serie A Round 8

High-flying Milan and Hellas Verona go head-to-head at San Siro in an exciting Serie A match-up on Saturday evening. Both sides go into this matchday hoping that the international break hasn’t curtailed their momentums.

A well-deserved 3-2 away win over Atalanta last time out has laid the foundations for Milan’s charge of their first Serie A title in over a decade, keeping their unbeaten start to this league campaign going. 

Meanwhile, Verona have picked themselves up from a horrific start to the season and will be keen to prove they are no pushovers against one of the leading title candidates.

Milan vs Hellas Verona Head-to-Head

Hellas Verona’s embarrassing historical Serie A record at San Siro sums up their underdog status in a nutshell here. After going winless in their 29 overall top-flight visits to this venue (D13, L16), the visitors go up against the odds here.

Though you’d have to go back to December 1989 to find Verona’s last Serie A clean sheet at San Siro, the Gialloblu can take confidence from holding Milan to back-to-back league draws in their two most recent match-ups here.

Since falling to a brace of league defeats to Verona between 2016 and 2017, the Rossoneri have gone unbeaten in their subsequent five Serie A encounters against them (W3, D2). But after having to fight back from a 2-0 deficit to hold Hellas to a 2-2 draw in this exact fixture last term, Milan can ill-afford to underestimate their visitors here.

Milan Form Preview

Barring a hard-earned 1-1 away draw with Juventus in mid-September, Milan have won each of their remaining six Serie A matches this season by an aggregate score of 14-4. Another victory here would see the Rossoneri make the club’s best-ever eight-match top-flight start in a three-point-per-win era as they aim to eclipse their 20-point tally at this stage of the season set in 2003/04 and 2020/21, respectively.

Stefano Pioli’s men have turned San Siro into a fortress this season, having won each of their inaugural three Serie A fixtures here by a 2+ goal margin. The last time they started a new top-flight campaign with four consecutive home victories was in 2005/06. 

Pioli has based his side’s impressive home form on a water-tight backline that has conceded a league joint-low one goal on home turf this term. Indeed, the hosts tend to go cagey beyond half-time as they head into proceedings as one of only two Serie A teams yet to let in a second-half goal this season.

It’s worth mentioning that each of Milan’s five league goals conceded this season have come inside either the opening or closing 15 minutes of play. Yet, the Rossoneri have got on the scoresheet on or beyond the 75th minute in 57.14% of their Serie A outings this term, highlighting their ability to shine when it matters the most.

Player to watch: Rafael Leao

Portuguese forward Rafael Leao has already tallied three goals in his first seven Serie A appearances this season, as many strikes as he had at this stage of the campaign across his last two top-flight seasons.

It’s still uncertain whether Milan will be able to rely on Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Saturday. So, it will likely be up to Leao to put his scoring prowess on full display once again.

Hellas Verona Form Preview

Hellas Verona had endured a thoroughly underwhelming start to this Serie A season under Eusebio Di Francesco, losing their opening three league fixtures 7-3 on aggregate. Disappointing early showings have seen the Gialloblu appoint Igor Tudor at the expense of the ex-Sassuolo manager, which has turned their season around in no time.

Verona have gone unbeaten in all four Serie A matches under Tudor (W2, D2) en route to building a comfortable four-point lead over 18th-placed Salernitana. Tudor has turned a blunt instrument into a goalscoring machine, with Hellas netting a staggering 12 league goals under the new manager, more than they managed across their 12 Serie A outings beforehand.

During their overwhelming 4-0 home triumph over Spezia on the eve of the international break, Verona scored 3+ first-half goals for the first time since 2014. Therefore, it’s hard to put it past them to penetrate Milan’s well-organized defense. 

On the downside, though, the visitors have failed to win any of their last seven Serie A games on foreign turf (D3, L4), conceding 2+ goals four times in that spread of matches. By extension, Verona’s defensive woes have seen them keep just three clean sheets across their 16 league travels this calendar year.

Player to watch: Ivan Ilic

Widely regarded as one of the hottest young prospects in Serie A, Serbian starlet Ivan Ilic has already racked up a goal and three assists in Italy’s top-flight this season.

The deep-lying midfielder’s array of magical moments in 2021/22 includes a composed lofted finish against Milan’s fierce rivals Inter on Matchday 2.

Milan vs Hellas Verona Predicted Line-ups

Milan (4-2-3-1): Ciprian Tatarusanu; Pierre Kalulu, Fikayo Tomori, Alessio Romagnoli, Fode Ballo-Toure; Sandro Tonali, Ismael Bennacer; Alexis Saelemaekers, Brahim Diaz, Rafael Leao; Ante Rebic.

Hellas Verona (3-4-2-1): Lorenzo Montipo; Pawel Dawidowicz, Koray Gunter, Giangiacomo Magnani; Davide Faraoni, Ivan Ilic, Miguel Veloso, Darko Lazovic; Antonin Barak, Gianluca Caprari; Giovanni Simeone.