Serie A Week 10 – Sunday 16 October 2022 – Stadio Bentegodi | Preview by Tlalane Phahla – Follow her on Twitter
The Serie A champions Milan are looking to extend their positive start to the season and keep pace with the likes of Napoli and Atalanta when they face Hellas Verona this evening. A trip away to struggling Verona who are rooted at the bottom of the table, also provides Milan with a chance to bounce back from midweek defeat against Chelsea in the Champions League.
By the time the Rossoneri kick-off, all their rivals would have played already with Atalanta having already beaten Sassuolo 2-1 yesterday, while Napoli welcome Bologna at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in the earlier kick off.
On the home bench it will the former Milan player Salvatore Bocchetti for his first Serie A assignment as a manager. He replaces Gabriele Cioffi, who was shown the door on Tuesday, leaving the club in the relegation zone having recorded four straight defeats in a row. Bocchetti could not have asked a tougher test of his credentials than having to face the champions. So far, Verona have five points from a possible 27 and sit 18th on the table, uncharacteristically poor for the club who not so long ago were dubbed as one the most entertaining sides in the league. A defeat against Salernitana was enough for the club to pull the trigger on Cioffi, who was hired after playing some of the better football in the league when he was at Udinese.
Should Verona do the unthinkable and win, they will have to do it without defender Federico Ceccherini who was sent off in the last game and like their opponents they have lot of players with question marks over their readiness and fitness for the game due to injuries.
Expected XI (3-4-3): Montipo; Hien, Gunter, Cabal; Faraoni, Tameze, Veloso, Doig; Hrustic, Verdi; Henry
- Hellas Verona have lost each of their last four league games; the last time the Veneti lost five consecutive games in Serie A was in May 2018 (seven, when they relegated under Pecchia at the end of that campaign).
- Hellas Verona are one of only three teams – along with Cremonese and Spezia – yet to have scored a single goal by a midfielder in Serie A this season; in the 2021/22 campaign, the Veneti scored 21 goals via midfielders, the fifth-most across last term.
- Milan Djuric – who is yet to score in Serie A this season – found the net in his only home game against the Rossoneri in the Italian top-flight, at Arechi for Salernitana vs AC Milan in February 2022 (a 2-2 draw). The Bosnian forward has not started a single match for Hellas Verona in the current Serie A campaign.
Milan have worked hard during the week in preparation for this game according to the club’s captain Theo Hernandez who spoke to MilanTV ahead of the match:
We are working really well and we have an incredible team. This group is so talented and we’re doing the right things. The focus is back on Serie A and we need to keep going.
Although Stefano Pioli did not have his regular pre-match press conference, Hernandez words provided a bit of an insight into Milan’s preparations: The focus for now of course is in the league where everything is still very much in their hands. The champions maybe wounded coming into this game but they are backed by history as they have won five of their last seven Serie A matches against Verona, drawing two. They have so far won each of their last three and they could make it four matches in a row, a feat they haven’t achieved since 1983. If Milan win tonight, it would mean they have won at least seven of their opening 10 games of a Serie A season in three consecutive campaigns for the first time ever (8 in 2020/21 and 9 in 2021/22). The visitors have not been lucky with injuries but they should welcome back strikers Divock Origi and Ante Rebic back into the team. Junior Messias could also be involved having recovered from his injury.
Expected XI (4-2-3-1): Tatarusanu; Kalulu, Tomori, Gabbia, Hernandez; Tonali, Bennacer; Krunic, Diaz, Leao; Giroud
- Milan are the only unbeaten team away from home in Serie A in 2022 (P13 W9 D4), and one of just three ever-present sides in both the 2021/22 and 2022/23 campaigns to still be unbeaten on the road in the big-five European leagues during this calendar year (along with Barcelona and Manchester City).
- The last Serie A draw between Hellas Verona and Milan at Bentegodi was in December 2000 (a 1-1 draw with goals from Emiliano Bonazzoli and Massimo Ambrosini); in the last eight such meetings at Veneti’s home, Hellas Verona have won three and lost five, including each of the last three.
- Milan’s Sandro Tonali scored his only Serie A brace against Hellas Verona at Bentegodi in May 2022; those strikes are also his last two goals in the competition (six goals in total).
If the reports are to be believed, goalkeeper Mike Maignan will still not be available for the champions but him and Simon Kjaer could return for the Monza game. Davide Calabria is nursing thigh injury, Charles De Ketelaere and Alessandro Florenzi have muscle injuries, Alexis Saelemaekers and Zlatan Ibrahimovic also still nursing their knee injuries.
For Verona, Ferdinando Coppola, Pawel Dawidowicz, Ivan Ilic, Kevin Lasagna and Darko Lazovic could be out with their availability for the game still unclear, all being injury doubts.