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Milan logo
Serie A | Gameweek 22
Jan 27, 2024 at 7.45pm UK
Stadio Giuseppe Meazza
Bologna logo

AC Milan
2 - 2

Loftus-Cheek (45', 83')
Leao (22'), Calabria (36'), Adli (44'), Loftus-Cheek (45+2'), Terracciano (90+1')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Zirkzee (29'), Orsolini (90+2' pen.)
Calafiori (2'), Ferguson (39'), Urbanski (57')
Motta (41')

Preview: AC Milan vs. Bologna - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Serie A clash between AC Milan and Bologna, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

After fighting back to win 3-2 last weekend, AC Milan seek a fifth straight Serie A success on Saturday evening, when they host Bologna at San Siro.

While Milan's latest victory kept them in touch with Italy's relentless top two, their visitors' hopes of gatecrashing the European places have recently begun to falter.

Match preview

AC Milan's Mike Maignan talks to referee Fabio Maresca after allegedly being racially abused by Udinese fans on January 20, 2024© Reuters

In a game marred by racist chanting, which resulted in proceedings being paused as both teams left the pitch, Milan scored twice in the final 10 minutes to overcome Udinese last time out.

Abuse directed towards goalkeeper Mike Maignan during the first half has subsequently seen four fans of the Udine club served life-time bans, and it was the Frenchman's side that ultimately secured maximum points, thanks to late strikes from Luka Jovic and Noah Okafor.

After a run of nine league matches in which they won only three times, Milan have now prevailed in all of their last four, scoring three goals in each of the last three - against Empoli, Roma and then Udinese.

Sharing the burden around, Stefano Pioli's squad have nine players with more than one goal to their name in Serie A this season - more than any other side - with Okafor and Jovic both backing up evergreen top scorer Olivier Giroud to good effect.

Recent results may have tightened the Rossoneri's grip on third place, but they remain adrift of Juventus and city rivals Inter Milan in the Scudetto race, starting this weekend seven points shy of top spot.

Another win is required, then, to keep pressure on Serie A's leading duo, and precedent certainly suggests they can see off Bologna: including a 2-0 win at Stadio Dall'Ara on the opening day of this season, Milan are unbeaten in 16 league games against the Emilian club, winning on 13 occasions.

Bologna players look dejected after the penalty shootout on January 9, 2024© Reuters

Indeed, Bologna have not scored a single goal in any of their last three away matches against Milan, with their most recent being bagged by Takehiro Tomiyasu back in July 2020.

The Rossoblu have more pleasant memories of visiting San Siro at the end of last year, however, when they stunned Inter with a stirring comeback in the Coppa Italia.

At at time when they were Italy's in-form team, Bologna not only secured a spot in the cup quarter-finals by beating the Nerazzurri but had also crept into Serie A's top four; however, such momentum has since stalled, and they have slipped to eighth place following a run of one point from three games.

Shortly after exiting the Coppa via a penalty shootout, Thiago Motta's men lost 2-1 to lowly Cagliari last time out, when the Sardinian side rallied to overturn Riccardo Orsolini's opening goal.

Now, following a fortnight off - due to Fiorentina's sojourn to Saudi Arabia for the newly expanded Supercoppa Italiana - Bologna return to action seeking a fresh start.

However, having lost their last two away games - after going unbeaten in 10 of the previous 11 - Motta's 100th match as a Serie A manager presents a particularly tough test.

AC Milan Serie A form:

AC Milan form (all competitions):

Bologna Serie A form:

Bologna form (all competitions):

Team News

AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli reacts on January 7, 2024© Reuters

As Malick Thiaw, Fikayo Tomori and Pierre Kalulu all remain sidelined by injury, Milan are likely to name the same back four that started in Udine last week, with Matteo Gabbia partnering Simon Kjaer at the heart of the hosts' defence.

Although Ismael Bennacer has returned from Algeria's doomed Africa Cup of Nations campaign, Stefano Pioli is also set to retain his central-midfield pairing of Yacine Adli and Tijani Reijnders.

Olivier Giroud should spearhead the Rossoneri's attack, but back-up strikers Noah Okafor and Luka Jovic boast the best goals-to-minutes ratios in Serie A, with one every 103 minutes and one every 118 minutes respectively. Over a far longer period, club legend Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored every 123 minutes on average.

Meanwhile, Thiago Motta - who returns to the scene of several triumphs as an Inter player - has Milan loanee Alexis Saelemaekers back at his disposal this weekend, and leading scorer Joshua Zirkzee returns following suspension.

Stefan Posch must serve a one-match ban, though, so veteran defender Lorenzo De Silvestri should step in at right-back; Adama Soumaoro and Dan Ndoye - the latter of whom scored Bologna's extra-time winner in December's cup win at San Siro - are both absent through injury.

AC Milan possible starting lineup:
Maignan; Calabria, Kjaer, Gabbia, Hernandez; Reijnders, Adli; Pulisic, Loftus-Cheek, Leao; Giroud

Bologna possible starting lineup:
Skorupski; De Silvestri, Beukema, Calafiori, Kristiansen; Freuler, Aebischer; Orsolini, Ferguson, Saelemaekers; Zirkzee

SM words green background

We say: AC Milan 2-1 Bologna

Milan have won eight of 10 home games in Serie A so far, conceding just five goals in the process, and they should overcome a Bologna side that have started to stutter. The Rossoblu may be a little rusty, too, having had an unexpected two-week hiatus, so their former boss Stefano Pioli is set to see off the challenge of Thiago Motta.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli reacts on January 7, 2024
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