Friday, October 23, 2020

Prediction: AC Milan vs Bologna

Verdict: Zlatan Ibrahimovic to score

Best odds: 8/11

Bookmaker: 888sport

The 2020/21 season in the Italian Serie A is underway, and as  part of the first round, AC Milan will welcome Bologna to the San Siro stadium on Monday evening.

The campaign kicked off on Saturday, when Fiorentina beat Torino 1-0, while AS Roma were held to a goalless draw away to Hellas Verona. Today (Sunday), Parma play host to Napoli, Genoa to Crotone, Sassuolo to Cagliari, and Juventus to Sampdoria.

AC Milan

The Rossoneri finished the 2019/20 in sixth place with 66 points, securing a place in the Europa League qualifiers. It won’t have been a result they had mainly hoped for, but a return to a European competition will be welcome for Stefano Pioli’s team. They’ve already beaten Shamrock Rovers in the second round and will face Norwegian side Bodo/Glimt in the third on Thursday, three  days after this match. The win against Shamrock will have been a nice boost ahead of the Serie A opener.

Milan enter the new campaign in the Italian top flight strengthened by the arrivals of midfielders Sandro Tonali from Brescia and Brahim Diaz on loan from Real Madrid. They’ve also permanently secured the services of winger Ante Rebic who was previously there on loan from Eintracht Frankfurt, just like centre-back Simon Kjaer from Sevilla.

Winger Suso and midfielder Giacomo Bonaventura, who made their way to Sevilla and Fiorentina respectively, were among the more notable departures. Suso was only loaned to the Spanish side for the second half of last season, but now his move has been made permanent.

Team News

Pioli’s defensive options have been severely reduced by the injuries of Mateo Musacchio, Alessio Romagnoli and Andrea Conti. Forward Rafael Leao is also out, though he probably wouldn’t have started anyway.

Veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic will likely lead the line upfront, with Rebic and Hakan Calhanoglu close by. Ismail Bennacer and Franck Kessie are expected to be given a start in midfield ahead of Tonali and Diaz, who might need a bit of time to adjust.

Bologna

As for Bologna, the 12th-place finish they achieved last season with 47 points won’t have been taken too badly. They could hardly hope to get a European spot and avoiding being a part of the relegation battle altogether is a fairly decent outcome for them, one they’ll be looking to repeat this term.

Sinisa Mihajlovic’s team go into this match without too much pressure, even though the former free-kick master is known as a passionate coach who will demand much from his players. Despite his recent battle with Covid-19 on top of a struggle with leukemia, he still won’t see a San Siro trip as a small matter.

Bologna signed defender Lorenzo De Silvestri on a free transfer from Torino this summer, and added 19-year-old striker Edoardo Vergani on loan from Inter Milan’s youth setup. On the other hand, winger Ladislav Krejci and striker Mattia Destro left the club to join Sparta Prague and Genoa, respectively.

Team News

Mihajlovic won’t be able to call upon the experience of Gary Medel at the base of his midfield. The controversial Chilean is both suspended and injured.

Musa Barrow and Roberto Soriano should be selected in the middle of the park. De Silvestri could be handed a competitive debut in the back line.

Conclusion

With all due respect to Mihajlovic and his team, Milan simply are the better team of the two with aspirations for the season set significantly higher. The home side should therefore come out of the clash on top, and the long-enduring quality of Ibrahimovic should play a big role.

Verdict: Zlatan Ibrahimovic to score

Best odds: 8/11

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on four different football blogs.

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