Serie A preview: AC Milan vs. Fiorentina – Team news, opposition insight, stats and more

By Isak Möller -

AC Milan are once again in charge of the Scudetto race and will be looking to add another win to their tally on Sunday afternoon, taking on Fiorentina. As San Siro is sold out, it should be a great game. 

The Rossoneri claimed three important points away at Lazio thanks to an injury-time winner by Sandro Tonali. And as Inter lost their match in hand against Bologna, the advantage was once again given to Stefano Pioli’s men.

The manager stated in his pre-match press conference that Milan need to remain focused on tomorrow’s clash, without thinking too much about the others. He also shared his thoughts on facing Vincezo Italiano again.

Game date: Sunday, 1 May
Kick-off time: 15:00 (CEST)
Venue: San Siro
Referee: Valeri (VAR: Irrati)

Team news

For every single game this season, we have started this section with Milan’s injury situation, which has been far from positive most of the time. For this clash, however, just three players are missing: Simon Kjaer, Alessandro Florenzi and Daniel Maldini.

The rest are at Pioli’s disposal and that is indeed a boost for the manager, who needs all the resources he can get for this season finale. Ismael Bennacer missed out last time but has recovered from his ankle injury, available for tomorrow.

The manager is expected to confirm the starting XI we saw against Lazio last week. Bennacer might start, but the latest reports suggest Brahim Diaz will get the chance at that Franck Kessie will play alongside Tonali.

It’s also worth noting that Junior Messias is set to get the chance from start again after impressing against Lazio. Alexis Saelemaekers came off the bench and it was hard to rate his performance, given that it was so late in the game.

In any case, Messias did impress and he deserved the chance again. Further up the pitch, Olivier Giroud will be the starting striker after finding the back of the net vs. Lazio, but it’s almost certain that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will replace him in the second half.

Probable Milan XI (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Calabria, Kalulu, Tomori, Theo; Tonali, Kessie (Bennacer); Messias, Diaz, Leao; Giroud.

The opponents

Fiorentina have had a successful season overall, currently sitting in 7th place, but the last few weeks have been very tough for them. They lost 2-1 against Salernitana last weekend and then 4-0 at home against Udinese mid-week (game from round 20).

Before these two games, they hadn’t lost in six games (4W, 2D) which shows they are certainly capable of playing good football. Pressure will be on them to find that form again tomorrow, therefore, with a Europa League spot still at stake.

Vincenzo Italiano is the manager of La Viola and as we know from his time at Spezia, he likes his team to play with the ball at their feet. They aren’t afraid to sometimes dangerously play out of press and they also apply a lot of press themselves.

Team-news wise, they will be without Gaetano Castrovilli who’s out for the rest of the season, but there are no other absences. Former Milan player Giacomo Bonaventura is expected to play from start and we all know what he’s capable of on a good day.

Another former Milan man, namely Krzysztof Piatek will be on the bench and he’s certainly one to watch out for, having started his Fiorentina spell in a positive fashion.

Probable Fiorentina XI (4-3-3): Terracciano; Ordriozola, Milenkovic, Igor, Biraghi; Bonaventura, Torreira, Duncan; Gonzalez, Cabral, Saponara.

Head to head

Milan’s record against Fiorentina is quite mixed in recent history, with the last five games producing two wins each and a draw. It will be important, therefore, for the Rossoneri to assert their home advantage tomorrow afternoon.

The reverse fixture, which Fiorentina won 4-3, was filled with defensive errors from Milan and they really ruined that game for themselves. Ibrahimovic got a brace but a comeback was never really that close for the Rossoneri.

Match facts…

➤ After a 4-3 win in the reverse fixture, Fiorentina could win both Serie A games against AC Milan in a single season for the first time since 2000-01 – 4-0 with Fatih Terim and 2-1 with Roberto Mancini.

➤ AC Milan have scored at least two goals in each of their last three Serie A games against Fiorentina and have not recorded a longer streak against the Viola in the competition since a run of six between 1992 and 1996.

➤ Milan and Fiorentina have not drawn at the Meazza in Serie A since a 1-1 draw in October 2014, with goals from Nigel de Jong and Josip Ilicic – since then there’s been four home and two away wins.

➤ Since the beginning of 2022, AC Milan have conceded eight goals in 15 Serie A games, only Liverpool (6) have conceded fewer goals in the big five European league during that time.

➤ AC Milan have kept clean sheets in their last three home league games and have not reached four in a row in the competition since March 2019, when Gennaro Gattuso was in charge.

➤ Fiorentina have conceded in each of their last 13 Serie A away matches under Vincenzo Italiano, in the three points for a win era, they have done that for 14 successive such games under the same manager only twice – under Cesare Prandelli in December 2020 (15) and Roberto Mancini in December 2001 (14).

➤ Fiorentina have lost their last two Serie A matches and they could lose three in a row for the first time since December 2019 – a run of four defeats under Vincenzo Montella.

➤ Against no other side in Serie A has Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored more goals than against Fiorentina (11 – also against Roma), while he also has 15 goal involvements against them, more than against any other side in the competition (4 assists also). Indeed, the only brace for the Swede in Serie A this season was in the reverse fixture against the Viola.

➤ On the day of this match, Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be 40 years and 210 days old, should he score he would become the second-oldest scorer in Serie A history, beating Silvio Piola in 1954 (40 years and 131 days) and would be behind only Alessandro Costacurta (41 years and 25 days in 2007).

➤ Riccardo Saponara, who scored in the last away match against Salernitana, has scored four goals against Milan in Serie A, his former team, including one in the reverse fixture. AC Milan are the only side against which the Fiorentina midfielder has scored more than two goals in the Italian top-flight.

Ones to watch

Just based on the reverse fixture, it’s clear that Milan must eliminate the defensive mistakes we saw in that game. The backline is very different compared to then, but it’s still worth mentioning.

Both Sandro Tonali and whoever will start alongside him will be key for the balance of the game, as Fiorentina can easily take over if they get into their stride too much passing-wise. The midfield tandem of Milan, therefore, will be important both in terms of playing out of press and applying it themselves.

As for Fiorentina, Ricky Saponara must be kept under close observation as he can find the back of the net when given too much space. He always seems to do well against Milan, as well, perhaps because he never got a real chance with the Rossoneri.

Then, of course, they will rely on Nikola Milenkovic a lot in the defensive phase and Olivier Giroud will be a handful for him. It won’t be easy for the Frenchman either, but he’s very experienced when it comes to battles like these.


Any game is tough to predict at this stage of the season but the feeling is that Milan will come out on top in front of a full San Siro tomorrow. As a Milan fan, though, you could argue that this is the perfect timing for something to go wrong, as we have seen so many times before. There is no room for negative energy, though.

Milan 2-0 Fiorentina

Tags AC Milan Fiorentina Serie A

1 Comment

  1. Play together Tonali-Kessie and Bennacer (as the AM). Play Leao-Giroud/Ibra-Rebic upfront together. Try 4312 with Leao as the second striker like Kaka on the old days

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