Preview: Milan vs Bologna – Team News, Lineups & Prediction

Saturday’s Serie A action closes out at the San Siro with a handsomely-looking encounter between Milan and Bologna. Despite the visitors commencing this round in seventh, this contest has all the makings of a top-four six-pointer.

In a match marred by racial abuse of French goalkeeper Mike Maignan, Milan fought back late to beat Udinese 3-2 at the Bluenergy Stadium last Saturday. Goals from Luka Jovic and Noah Okafor beyond the 80th minute inspired Stefano Pioli’s high-flying side to a fourth consecutive league victory.

However, there’s no room for complacency. Rossoneri still trail pacesetters Juventus by seven points, so any potential slip-up could prove detrimental to their faint Scudetto hopes. As for their ambition to secure a fourth straight top-four finish, they’re in a position of relative comfort, boasting a 12-point lead on 5th-placed Atalanta.

Speaking of top-four aspirations, Bologna could do the unthinkable this season and secure their first top-four finish in Serie A since 1966/67. Despite losing twice in their last three league outings (D1), Thiago Motta’s men lag only two points behind fourth-placed Fiorentina at the start of this round. 

But the highly-rated manager must stem the bleeding, especially after his team’s woeful performance in a 2-1 defeat at relegation-battling Cagliari last weekend. Bologna’s profligacy in Sardinia condemned them to their joint-longest three-game winless streak in Serie A this season. It hardly makes for good reading ahead of this daunting-looking trip.

Match Preview

Milan 

Milan’s gut-wrenching 2-1 home defeat to Atalanta in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals earlier this month remains the only blemish on an otherwise telling six-game form in all competitions (W5, L1). As aforementioned, Pioli’s charges have reigned supreme in Serie A lately, especially in front of their home support.

A 3-1 demolition of Roma, which fastened Jose Mourinho’s dismissal, bookended their outstanding five-game winning league streak at the San Siro. Milan netted an eye-catching ten goals during that run while only conceding twice in return. Based on their recent home record against Bologna, another win should be a mere formality.

Since a 1-0 loss in January 2016, Milan have racked up six victories in seven home clashes against Rossoblu in Serie A, including a comfortable 2-0 win in this corresponding fixture last term.

Bologna

Last season’s disheartening defeat forms part of Bologna’s three-game scoring drought in Serie A matches at the San Siro (D1, L2). But getting on the scoresheet in an away league game against Milan for the first time since July 2020 could stir painful memories, with Rossoblu slumping to a 5-1 loss in their last scoring outing at this stadium.

Bologna’s scoring woes against Milan continued earlier this season as they lost 2-0 in the reverse fixture on the opening weekend. Repaying Rossoneri the favor could be a huge ask, given the visitors’ long-standing struggles on hostile turf. Motta’s lads have sealed just one win on ten Serie A travels in 2023/24 (D6, L3).

Their abysmal away form stems from a lack of efficiency in the front third, with Bologna averaging just 0.9 goals per away league match this term.

Team News

With Algeria shockingly bowing out of the Africa Cup of Nations group stages, Ismael Bennacer returns home earlier, unlike Samuel Chukwueze, whose Nigeria side remains in contention for the title. However, the midfielder is not fit anyway, as are Pierre Kalulu, Malick Thiaw, Tommaso Pobega, and Fikayo Tomori.

Like Milan, Bologna can’t call upon several first-team stars. Oussama El Azzouzi is on international duty with Morocco, while Stefan Posch serves a one-game ban for accumulating yellow cards. Adama Soumaoro and Dan Ndoye are on the sidelines due to injuries, with Milan loanee Alexis Saelemaekers back to the squad in time to meet his parent club.

Milan vs Bologna Potential Lineups

Milan (4-2-3-1): Mike Maignan; Davide Calabria, Simon Kjaer, Matteo Gabbia, Theo Hernandez; Tijjani Reijnders, Yacine Adli; Christian Pulisic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Rafael Leao; Olivier Giroud. 

Bologna (4-2-3-1): Lukasz Skorupski; Lorenzo De Silvestri, Sam Beukema, Riccardo Calafiori, Victor Kristiansen; Remo Freuler, Michel Aebischer; Riccardo Orsolini, Lewis Ferguson, Alexis Saelemaekers; Joshua Zirkzee.

Milan vs Bologna Prediction

Bologna’s perennial struggles at the San Siro paint a bleak picture for Motta’s out-of-form side and instill further confidence around the Milan camp. Pioli’s men are in a seemingly favorable position to maintain momentum as we back them to put Rossoblu to the sword.

Prediction: Milan Win

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