Milan face a difficult trip to Verona on Sunday night as Marco Giampaolo and his men go in search of a second win of the Serie A season.
The Rossoneri bounced back from the defeat to Udinese on the opening weekend to secure our first three points of the campaign at home against Brescia, but significant improvement will be needed as the weeks go on.
Verona vs Milan
Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi
KO: Sunday September 15, 19:45 (BST)
Sky Sport Serie A, Sky Sport Uno (Italy), Premier Sports 1 (UK)
History tells us that this will be a tricky encounter, but it’s hoped that we have enough quality and the right tactical ideas this time round to get the job done and return to Milan with all three points.
Of the last five meetings between the two sides, Milan have won just two, with both of those clashes coming at San Siro. In terms of our form in the away fixture, we’ve lost on our last two visits to Verona with a heavy 3-0 defeat in the corresponding game the season before last.
Our last win on the road came in October 2014, with an own goal and a double from Keisuke Honda doing the damage to seal the victory. Historically, we struggle in this fixture, but ultimately that shouldn’t matter for this group of players as we have to beat what’s in front of us on Sunday.
Mattia Caldara and Pepe Reina are the only first-team stars unavailable for selection due to injury, while Giampaolo has no suspensions to be concerned with, as per La Gazzetta dello Sport.
The same applies for Ivan Juric in terms of the latter, although Emmanuel Badu and Alessandro Crescenzi are set to miss out due to injury.
For Milan, it will be a case of whether or not Giampaolo feels certain individuals are fit enough to start, with Theo Hernandez, Lucas Paqueta, Giacomo Bonaventura and Ante Rebic arguably knocking on the door the hardest for a starting berth.
Based on his comments in his pre-match press conference on Saturday though, as per MilanNews, it’s unlikely that he will introduce any of them from the first minute.
We’re back after the break: 24 Rossoneri travel to Verona 🔴⚫️
— AC Milan (@acmilan) September 14, 2019
It’s expected that Giampaolo will make just one change from the win over Brescia, with the recently departed Andre Silva dropping out and Krzysztof Piatek being restored to the starting XI in his place up front.
That aside, it’s a familiar set up and having tweaked his tactics slightly to allow players to play in more natural roles, it’s likely that Milan will adopt more of a 4-3-3 or perhaps with both Suso and Samu Castillejo deployed behind Piatek in a 4-3-2-1.
Image courtesy of La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Sky Sport Italia journalist Manuele Baiocchini has predicted a slightly different XI though, as per his tweet below, with Biglia starting ahead of Bennacer, while Paqueta could come in for Castillejo.
— Manuele Baiocchini (@ManuBaio) September 14, 2019
Player to watch
Ismael Bennacer. Having been the pick last time out, the 21-year-old remains the man to watch given his ability to make us tick in midfield with his passing qualities to set the tempo of our attacks.
It was an impressive full debut from the Algerian international, as he slotted in well in front of the defence to provide defensive coverage while also picking the ball up and getting us moving up the pitch quickly either with sharp, safe passes or ones that broke the lines of the opposition.
Given the lack of changes and the number of summer signings still waiting for an opportunity, Bennacer will likely be a crucial figure in our bid to secure a win on Sunday night, while the more obvious choices of Suso and Piatek will have to be at their creative and clinical best respectively to ensure we get the right result.