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

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan will bring their 2022-23 campaign to an end tomorrow night as they host Hellas Verona in the final game of the Serie A season at San Siro.

The win against Juventus last weekend means that Milan have already achieved their final remaining objective which is a top four finish, but Hellas Verona are in relegation trouble and need to better the result of Spezia (away at Roma) if they are to stay up.

Stefano Pioli insisted in his pre-match press conference that his side have plenty of motivation to go out and win the final game, and finish the season on 70 points

Game date: Sunday, June 4
Kick-off time: 21:00 (CEST)
Venue: San Siro
Referee: Paolo Valeri (VAR: Mariani)

Team news

The biggest and saddest news for Milan is that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not get a farewell on the field because he is still suffering with a calf injury, however he will get a send-off after the game with a ceremony planned.

The only other known definite absence is midfielder Ismael Bennacer, who is not expected back for another five months after undergoing knee surgery on a cartilage problem he sustained in the first leg against Inter.

According to reports, Mike Maignan should be in goal with an unchanged back four of Davide Calabria, Malick Thiaw, Fikayo Tomori and Theo Hernandez.

Rade Krunic and Sandro Tonali are expected to be the midfield double pivot, with Brahim Diaz ahead of them as the central attacking midfielder in what could be his last game for the club given his loan expires.

Junior Messias is tipped to get the nod on the right side, with Rafael Leao on the left – fresh off the back of a renewal until 2028 – and Olivier Giroud up front.

There are some doubts about the condition of Krunic who is apparently not in the best condition, with two options being considered to replace him. Ante Rebic, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Sergino Dest are not expected to be called up.

Probable Milan XI (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Calabria, Thiaw, Tomori, Hernandez; Krunic, Tonali; Messias, Diaz, Leao; Giroud.

The opponents

Looking at the season as a whole, it would be fair to say that Verona could have no complaints if they were to be relegated, having spent all but seven rounds out of 37 inside the bottom three.

A win against Sampdoria in round five propelled them up to 13th, but then they lost 10 games in a row and changed head coach twice, from Gabriele Cioffi to Salvatore Bocchetti and then Marco Zaffaroni.

A win away at Lecce on match day 34 saw them pop back out of the bottom three, but one point from the last nine available has them inside the relegation zone again and they need to better Spezia’s result against Roma to stay up.

Verona have quite a lot of injury problems to contend with coming into the season finale. Ondrej Duda, Kevin Lasagna, Pawel Dawidowicz and Thomas Henry are all out, while Josh Doig (muscle) and Darko Lazovic (thigh) are also expected not to feature.

This morning’s papers have Zaffaroni playing a 3-4-2-1 formation with Montipo in goal, Magnani, Hien and Ceccherini as the back three, Faraoni and Depaoli as wing-backs, Sulemana and Abildgaard as midfielders then Ngonge and Tameze behind Djuric.

Probable Verona XI (3-4-2-1): Montipo; Magnani, Hien, Ceccherini; Faraoni, Sulemana, Abildgaard, Depaoli; Ngonge, Tameze, Djuric.

Head to head

Milan have played 75 games against Verona in their history across all competitions, winning 33 of them with 28 draws and 14 defeats, with a win rate of 44%.

The Rossoneri are on a four-match winning run against the Gialloblu, having emerged victorious earlier in the season with a late Sandro Tonali goal at the Stadio MarcAntonio Bentegodi.

In the same fixture last season, the Diavolo had to battle back from two goals down and ended up winning 3-2, with Olivier Giroud, Franck Kessie and a Koray Gunter own-goal completing a remarkable comeback.

Milan could also exact some revenge on Verona by relegating them, with the Venetian side having won in 1973 and 1990 to derail their title hopes.

Match facts…

➤ Milan have won the last four league matches against Verona, though they have never achieved five consecutive wins against them in Serie A.

➤ Verona have drawn 13 away matches against Milan in the top-flight, with only Torino having more away draws (15). Furthermore, Verona are winless away to Milan in 30 league visits, only facing Inter and Juventus on more such occasions without winning (both 32).

➤ With 67 points, Milan have secured qualification for next season’s UEFA Champions League. The last time Milan reached this milestone with such a low points total at the end of the season was in 2002-03 (61 points).

➤ Milan have earned 40 points at home this season. If they win this match, they will have the highest difference (16) between points earned at home (43) and away (27). Currently, Juventus and Inter have a larger difference (15), and Empoli also has a difference of 13.

➤ Verona have gained 31 points so far in the season, only three times in the era of three points for a win have they earned so few points – 27 in 1996-97, 28 in 2015-16, and 25 in 2017-18. In all these seasons, Verona were relegated.

➤ Verona have won only one away match this season (1-0 against Lecce in May). Each of the last 11 teams with only one away victory at the end of the Serie A season have been relegated (Cagliari were the last team to avoid relegation in 2013-14).

➤ Milan have conceded 10 headed goals this season. Since the availability of this data (since 2004-05), Milan have only conceded more headed goals in a single Serie A season in 2012-13 (15).

➤ Milan are the team that have scored the most goals in the first 30 minutes of play in this season (21). Conversely, Verona have conceded more goals in the 90th minute or later than any other side in Serie A this season (10).

➤ Olivier Giroud has scored 12 goals in a single season in a big five European league for the first time since 2016-17 (also 12 goals, with Arsenal). The Frenchman has not achieved a better tally since 2015-16 (16 goals).

➤ In 2023, Verona have won 33% of the matches in which Simone Verdi has played (5 out of 15), resulting in an average of 1.3 points per game. On the other hand, they have secured only one victory in seven matches without him (14% win rate, 0.9 average points).

Ones to watch

Giroud and Leao remain the leaders of the attacking department for Milan, but it could be last chance saloon for both Messias and Brahim Diaz. There are rumours of the Brazilian being sold, while the Spaniard’s loan is set to expire and the management will have to be convinced to part with the €20m+ that might be needed to keep him.

If Krunic were fit enough to start it would be another chance to show he can provide cover with Bennacer injured, but if Vranckx were to get the nod it would be an audition for him to prove he deserves to stay given his loan runs out too.

Verona have just three players with five or more goal contributions this season: Lazovic (4G, 4A), Doig (2G, 3A) and Verdi (5G). None of them are expected to start, so Depaoli and Faraoni (four goal contributions each) will be relied upon for creativity.

Ngonge has been impressive since his emergence with three goals in just eight starts, while Gaich should come off the bench and he has two goals in eight starts. Hien will be relied upon at the back to marshal the defence.


We hope to see Milan end a rollercoaster season on a high note with three points against a side that have to attack and therefore should leave space.

AC Milan 2-0 Hellas Verona

Tags AC Milan Milan Hellas Verona

1 Comment

  1. Mr Coach,
    This is a game that you must drop Diaz. Give Adil and CDK a last chance to showcase what they can do for the next season.

    Diaz does not belong to Milan!

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