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

By Isak Möller -

Following the draw against Atalanta, which left the fans with a bitter-sweet taste, AC Milan will be looking to get back to winning ways tomorrow. They will face Bologna in front of a sold-out San Siro. 

Milan were held to a 1-1 draw by Atalanta last weekend and the feeling was that they could have got the win. They lacked the final touch, though, and were saved by a wonderful strike from Ismael Bennacer.

Stefano Pioli revealed during his press conference that the Rossoneri’s shape will be different for tomorrow’s clash, which perhaps will be the change needed to get back to winning ways.

Game date: Saturday, August 27
Kick-off time: 20:45 (CEST)
Venue: San Siro
Referee: Gianluca Manganiello (VAR: Nasca)

Team news

There are two injuries that Pioli must take into consideration: Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Rade Krunic. The latter occurred just before the game against Atalanta and the Rossoneri fear that he could be out for quite some time (a month or so).

Other than that, the manager will have a full squad at his disposal and there are many good players to choose between. Compared to the game against Atalanta, there should be a couple of changes to the starting XI, as you would expect.

The defence will remain unchanged and the same can be said for the midfield. It makes a lot of sense, given that Milan didn’t exactly struggle in these departments in the first two games. Up front, however, there were a few doubts last time out.

Charles De Ketelaere is expected to get the chance from start for the first time, replacing Brahim Diaz. The latter failed to replicate the positive performance in the opener and it’s not exactly surprising that he will be benched for this one.

Ante Rebic also had a positive opener, but a not-so-positive second game, and will thus be benched. Olivier Giroud or Divock Origi will start up front, as was confirmed by Pioli during the presser. Origi has impressed in training and could get the chance, but Giroud’s quality is undeniable.

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

The opponents 

In spite of battling cancer for the second time, Sinisa Mihajlovic is still in charge of Bologna and continues to be an important figure for the club. He has been the manager since 2019 and guided them to a 13th-place finish last season.

Truth be told, the Rossoblu struggled quite a lot and they are hoping for a better season this time out. The start hasn’t been much better, though, with just one point collected in the first two games (they also have two red cards already).

Important players such as Arthur Theate, Aaron Hickey and Mattias Svanberg have all left the club this summer and the replacements are not as well known. But after just two games, it’s hard to make a judgement on where they stand.

Riccardo Orsolino was sent off last time out and will miss out on the clash tomorrow, which is a blow for Bologna. Marko Arnautovic and Nicola Sansone should form the duo up front and it could be an interesting one.

Probable Bologna XI (3-5-2): Skorupski: Soumoaro, Medel, Lucumi; De Silvestri; Aebischer, Dominguez, Schouten, Lykogiannis; Sansone, Arnautovic.

Head to head

Milan have thrived against Bologna over the last few years and really since the sides first met each other back in 2008. The Rossoblu have only won two games against the Rossoneri and the latter have won 11 of the last 13 encounters.

The last clash between the sides was an anomaly as Milan were held to a 0-0 draw. It was the first time they dropped points to Bologna since 2018, when it also finished 0-0. The Rossoneri had their fair share of chances but ultimately didn’t create enough danger.

Match facts…

➤ AC Milan have lost only one of their last 25 Serie A meetings against Bologna (W18 D6), losing in January 2016, when the current Rossoblu coach Sinisa Mihajlovic was on the Rossoneri’s bench (0-1, Giaccherini).

➤ AC Milan have kept a clean sheet in their last two Serie A matches at San Siro against Bologna (W1 D1) and could keep a clean sheet for three home games in a row against them for the first time since 1999 (six).

➤ Bologna are unbeaten in three Serie A matches against Juventus, Inter and Milan; excluding the same three teams, the last team to have recorded a longer unbeaten streak against these opponents was Roma (five, between 2020 and 2021), while the last time the Rossoblu did better was in 2012, with Stefano Pioli in charge (four).

➤ AC Milan have won their first home league game this season; both in 2020/21 and 2021/22 did the Rossoneri manage to win both their first two home games of the season but have not been able to do so for three seasons in a row since 2003/04.

➤ AC Milan’s streak of 18 consecutive unbeaten league games (W12 D6) is the longest unbeaten run currently ongoing in the Big-5 European Leagues.

➤ Bologna have scored in each of their last three away league games after failing to score in four of their previous six, including one against Milan in April.

➤ Having achieved a comeback win and draw in the league so far this season, AC Milan can gain points from losing positions in three consecutive Serie A games for the first time since July 2020, when they achieved two wins (against Juventus and Parma) and a draw (against Napoli), with Stefano Pioli in charge.

➤ Two of the six red cards in Serie A this season have been for Bologna’s players (Adama Soumaoro vs Lazio and Riccardo Orsolini vs Verona): no team in the 3 pts/ win era (since 1994/95) has received a red card in each of the first three games matches in a single Serie A season.

➤ Ismael Bennacer – who scored against Atalanta – is both the AC Milan player who has created the most chances (nine) and completed the most dribbles (four) in Serie A this season.

➤ Against Verona, Marko Arnautovic became the first player to score in both of Bologna’s first two games in a Serie A season since Roberto Baggio, who did so in 1997/98; only two players in Bologna’s history have scored in each of the first three matchdays: Ezio Pascutti (in 1962/63) and Giuseppe Savoldi (in 1979/80).

Ones to watch

For Milan, the answer is quite obvious: Charles De Ketelaere. The playmaker has done well off the bench and it will be very interesting to see him from the first minute. There’s no doubt that he has great quality, but he also needs to adapt to the league.

Against Atalanta, we saw positive intentions but he also got a bit lost as the game neared the end. In addition to CDK, the centre-forward role will have to be monitored closely, regardless if it’s Giroud or Origi from the first minute.

As for Bologna, Arnautovic undoubtedly is their biggest threat as far as attacking power goes. He can create something out of nowhere, but he can also have really bad days (which will make it interesting to see him tomorrow).

Skorupski is also known for putting in some of his best performances against Milan and it will be up to the Rossoneri attackers to beat him tomorrow.


Bologna struggled towards the end of last season and they have struggled at the start of this one. Furthermore, they have lost a few important players and there’s no doubt that Milan are the favourites. It will most likely not be as even as it was back in April.

AC Milan 3-0 Bologna 

Tags AC Milan Bologna Serie A Stefano Pioli
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