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

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan are back in Serie A action after the international break on Saturday as they welcome Fiorentina to San Siro for a game under the floodlights.

Milan are under pressure to get a result after a four-game winless run in the league prior to the break, one that has seen Inter and Juventus pull ahead at the top of the table, though they do play each other in this round.

Head coach Stefano Pioli said in his pre-match press conference that his focus is not dwelling on failings but looking for ways to be positive and get back to playing the way he knows his side can.

Game date: Saturday, November 25
Kick-off time: 20:45 (CET)
Venue: San Siro
Referee: Marco Di Bello (VAR: Mazzoleni)

Team news 

As mentioned, Milan did not have a great time of things domestically between the October and November break as they went four games without a league win. Their home form has been suspect too, with back-to-back 1-0 defeats against Juventus and Udinese.

Either side of the defeat against Udinese were two 2-2 draws against Napoli and Lecce and in both of those games the Rossoneri were two goals up at the break, so more character is needed from Pioli’s men in a tough moment.

Due to several absences, including the stars Olivier Giroud and Rafael Leao, Pioli will field a makeshift attacking trio tomorrow evening. Noah Okafor was expected to start in the No.9 role, but he sustained an injury while on international duty and this means Luka Jovic will start.

Christian Pulisic will move to the left side to cover for the absences, while Samuel Chukwueze will get a big opportunity on the right flank. The Nigerian was the most expensive signing this summer and he certainly needs to impress more.

The most surprising choice, however, is Tommaso Pobega getting the chance from start again. He will bench Pioli’s favourite Rade Krunic and this likely means we will see a midfield tandem, with Tijjani Reijnders in a more advanced role (as seen against Lecce).

Probable Milan XI (4-3-3): Maignan; Calabria, Thiaw, Tomori, Hernandez; Musah, Reijnders, Pobega; Chukwueze, Jovic, Pulisic.

The opponents

Fiorentina finished eighth in Serie A last season but qualified for the UEFA Conference League by virtue of Juventus’ European exclusion, and this season they are continuing their reputation as a surprise package.

In the summer La Viola signed Lucas Beltran from River Place, M’Bala Nzola from Spezia and Fabiano Parisi from Empoli all for fees of €10m or more.

Arthur Melo and Maxime Lopez joined from Juve and Sassuolo on loan to bolster the midfield, while Yerry Mina came on a free transfer after departing Everton.

Most Fiorentina fans would probably say their season is going well so far as they are just one point off Napoli in fourth and would actually jump above Milan with a win.

They have won six of their 12 games, but their four defeats show a pattern as they lost to Inter, Lazio and Juventus without scoring a goal. Nevertheless, they continue to be entertainers under Italiano with 20 goals scored.

There will be a familiar face in their XI, namely Giacomo Bonaventura, who has started this season in great fashion. The former Milan midfielder has five goals and two assists, earning a return to the Italian national team. And he scored in the comeback game as well.

Probable Fiorentina XI (4-2-3-1): Terracciano; Parisi, Quarta, Milenkovic, Biraghi; Arthur, Duncan; Gonzalez, Bonaventura, Brekalo; Beltran.

Head to head

There are only six teams that Milan have played more than Fiorentina in competitive games. Red and black has met purple 179 times, with 79 wins in the Rossoneri’s favour, 52 for La Viola and 48 draws.

Last season the two sides traded 2-1 wins. At San Siro in November Rafael Leao gave Milan the lead before Antonin Barak equalised, but a 90th minute own-goal from Nikola Milenkovic broke the hearts of Fiorentina.

They would get their revenge back at the Studio Artemio Franchi however. Nicolas Gonzalez scored a penalty to make it 1-0 before Luka Jovic doubled the lead, rendering Theo Hernandez’s late goal a mere consolation.

Match facts…

➤  Milan have won 76 Serie A matches against Fiorentina (D44 L46); the only team to have beaten the Viola more times than Rossoneri in the top-flight is Juventus (81), while the only opponent defeated more times by the Rossoneri in the competition is Roma (79).

➤ Fiorentina have lost each of their last three Serie A away matches against AC Milan; only against three teams have the Viola endured a longer ongoing streak of away defeats: Pro Vercelli, Roma and Venezia.

➤ Milan have lost nine Serie A matches in 2023 – already triple the number of defeats suffered by the Rossoneri in 2022 and, if they lose against Fiorentina, they would reach double figures in defeats in a single calendar year in Serie A for the 23rd time in their history (the most recent time was in 2021, with 10 defeats).

➤ Milan have lost two of their last four Serie A games (D2), as many defeats as those they suffered in the previous 19 matches (W13 D4) in the competition; furthermore, the Rossoneri have failed to score in two of their last four matches in the top-flight, as many times as in their previous 25.

➤ Milan have lost each of their last two home games in Serie A, last losing three such matches in a row back in 2006; while the Rossoneri have suffered three consecutive home defeats without scoring only once in the top-flight, in 1930.

➤ Fiorentina have lost three of their last four Serie A matches without scoring, winning the most recent one (2-1 v Bologna): it is the same number of defeats suffered by the Viola in the previous 24 top-flight matches, and the same number of goalless matches they registered in the previous 27.

➤ Fiorentina have scored six headed goals in Serie A this season – a joint-high with Roma – while Milan are one of only two sides, along with Inter, yet to concede this kind of goal so far.

➤ In 2023, Fiorentina have scored 97 goals across all competitions: more than any other Serie A team and fewer only than Manchester City, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen among teams in the big five European Leagues – the Viola only did better in 2015 in a single calendar year (101 goals).

➤ In the last three Serie A seasons, Milan have played 20 matches without Olivier Giroud or Rafael Leão: in these matches the Rossoneri’s winning percentage was 45%, compared to 65% with at least one of the two on the pitch; in general, in the period only twice AC Milan played in Serie A without both players: 1st December 2021 (3-0 win against Genoa) and 11th December 2021 (1-1 draw against Udinese).

Ones to watch

The weight of the attack rests mainly on Pulisic’s shoulders given he has four goals so far this season, but it is also about time Jovic and Chukwueze started contributing and repaying the faith of the management. The Serbian striker will no doubt be fired up to try hurt his former side, who were keen to offload him in the summer despite the fact he scored 13 times for them in all competitions.

In midfield, there will be a watchful eye on Reijnders after he broke his Milan duck against Lecce in the last round, while Tomori must keep up his high levels and more is needed from Theo down the left without Leao.

There are two Fiorentina players who stand out on the attacking side of things: Nico Gonzalez and Giacomo Bonaventura. The latter obviously knows Milan well and he has seven goal contributions in the league so far (five goals, two assists), while Gonzalez matches that tally with six goals and one assist.

Arthur Melo has taken on a new lease of life after a difficult patch in his career with 10 starts to his name, while Milenkovic and Martinez Quarta – both of whom have been linked with Milan in the past – are the bedrock of the defence.


Predicting a clean sheet for either side seems foolish at the moment, but in times of desperate need Milan have shown an ability to bounce back and we have to hope this is another one of those occasions, even with the selection issues.

Milan 2-1 Fiorentina

Tags AC Milan Milan-Fiorentina


    1. Nah IKWYDLS smells like teen spirit 😛 I wouldn’t actually be too surprised if either jovic or chukwueze grabs a goal today and maybe pulisic and camarda one as well. Either way hopefully we can grab a much needed victory today.

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