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

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan will be looking to continue what has been a resurgence of late when they host Salernitana at San Siro on Monday night.

Milan will hopefully be buoyed by the result in midweek against Spurs as a goalless draw sealed progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League and there is also the possibility of taking advantage of Lazio and Inter’s dropped points.

Stefano Pioli re-iterated in his pre-match press conference that it is of paramount importance those European nights continue next season and thus that a top four finish is secured in 2022-23.

Game date: Monday 13 Match
Kick-off time: 20:45 (CET)
Venue: San Siro
Referee: Federico La Penna (VAR: Banti)

Team news

Milan have often battled a terrible injury situation this season but the good news to report is that there is only one absentee at present for the game, as Junior Messias limped off during the game against Spurs clutching his hamstring with a further scan to be done in around a week.

There had been speculation in the build-up to the match against Paulo Sousa’s side that Pioli might opt to make a few changes to guarantee fresh legs after a hard-fought draw in London that saw a lot of physical and mental energy used.

As reported by Sky however, the Rossoneri coach instead tried the same team as in London during training on Sunday, with the only difference being Alexis Saelemaekers in place of the injured Messias.

Mike Maignan was therefore in goal, with Malick Thiaw, Fikayo Tomori and Pierre Kalulu as the three-man defence. Sandro Tonali and Rade Krunic were used in midfield with Saelemaekers and Theo Hernandez on the wings.

The forward department was made up of Rafael Leao and Brahim Diaz in support of Olivier Giroud. Milan, therefore, are expected to field an XI without much rotation at all.

Probable Milan XI (3-4-2-1): Maignan; Tomori, Thiaw, Kalulu; Theo Hernandez, Krunic, Tonali, Saelemaekers; Leao, Brahim Diaz, Giroud.

The opponents 

It is a miracle of sorts that Milan are even playing Salernitana this season given their survival heroics last season under Davide Nicola, with the Granata losing all but five of their opening 23 games to leave them rock bottom, but then going unbeaten from round 32 to 37 – winning four games out of seven – to stay up.

Things have been a bit less dramatic which will be a relief for Salernitana as they currently sit six points above the drop zone. However, Nicola was sacked around a month ago after having lost 8-2 to Atalanta, 2-0 to Napoli and 3-0 to Juventus in the weeks prior.

Salernitana have picked up a bit recently under new coach Paulo Sousa having beaten Monza 3-0 on 26 February and securing another clean sheet away at relegation rivals Sampdoria most recently.

In terms of injury news for the away side, William Troost-Ekong will be out after he suffered a knee injury in mid-February that continues to keep him sidelined but there is the possibility that Pasquale Mazzocchi could get back into the starting line-up having recovered from knee surgery.

Sousa has been lining his side up in a similar system to what Pioli is using with Milan currently, with three centre-backs, wing-backs, a midfield double pivot and two playmakers supporting the striker, which is what he’s expected to do again tomorrow.

Probable Salernitana XI (3-4-2-1): Ochoa; Daniliuc, Gyomber, Pirola; Mazzocchi, Coulibaly, Crnigoj, Bradaric; Candreva, Dia; Piatek.

Head to head

Milan and Salernitana have met seven times in their respective histories with the first two meetings coming back in 1948 when the Rossoneri won 2-0 at San Siro and the Granata emerging victorious in a 4-3 thriller at home.

The same fixture last season ended 2-0 to the Diavolo as Franck Kessie and Alexis Saelemaekers got on the scoresheet, but the return fixture was a 2-2 draw where Ante Rebic’s strike from distance was needed to rescue a point.

Earlier this season it was Milan who got all three points at the Arechi with Rafael Leao and Sandro Tonali each scoring. The overall record against the side from Salerno is seven games, five wins, a draw and a defeat.

Match facts…

➤ Milan have won five of their seven matches against Salernitana in Serie A (D1 L1), always scoring at least two goals in each match (16 in total).

➤ Since the start of last season, Salernitana have lost each of their three matches played at the Meazza stadium, with an aggregate score of 9-0; a joint-negative record for them in a single stadium away from home (nine also at the Gewiss Stadium).

➤ Milan have picked up 47 points in Serie A this season, becoming the first reigning champion to not reach 50 points in Serie A after 25 games since Inter in 2010/11 (also 47 for the Nerazzurri in that case).

➤ Salernitana haven’t conceded a goal in their last two games in Serie A, after 12 games in a row with goals conceded; the Granata could register at least three clean sheets in a row in the
top-flight for the first time since May 1999, under Francesco Oddo (streak of five).

➤ Milan haven’t lost in four of their five matches (W3 D1) in Serie A this season against sides starting the matchday in the bottom five of the table; however, in the most recent of these games
they lost 2-5 v Sassuolo.

➤ Milan have conceded the most headed goals in Serie A this season: 10, including Jovic’s goal in the last matchday; however, Salernitana are the only side that haven’t scored a header so far.

➤ Milan have scored 37 of their 42 goals from open play, a record in percentage in Serie A this season (88%); on the other hand, no team has conceded more goals than Salernitana (34) from open play.

➤ Krzysztof Piatek played 36 games, scoring 13 goals for AC Milan in Serie A between January 2019 and January 2020; the Salernitana striker hasn’t scored in his last 12 league games, his longest streak without scoring since he played in the big five European leagues (2018/19).

➤ Theo Hernández has scored 21 goals in Serie A since he joined AC Milan (2019/20): since his first goal for the Rossoneri against Genoa in October 2019, the French full-back is the defender with the most goals in the big five European leagues.

➤ Rafael Leão has scored in two of his nine Serie A appearances in 2023, including a goal against Salernitana (2-1 win on 4th January); the AC Milan forward hasn’t found the net in his last six
league games and could register seven in a row in a single Serie A season for the first time since the end of 2020/21 campaign.

➤ Against Salernitana, Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be chasing several feats: the Granata could become the 38th different side the Swede has faced in Serie A and the 33rd against whom he has found a goal in the competition.

➤ Should he find a goal, Ibra would become the oldest goalscorer in the competition’s history (41 years and 161 days), overtaking Alessandro Costacurta (41 years and 25 days, in May 2007).

➤ Zlatan (155) is also close to equalling Roberto Mancini, Luigi Riva and Filippo Inzaghi (156) in 21st position among players with the most goals scored in Serie A history.

Ones to watch

Leao is undoubtedly still Milan’s main threat but he has not scored since the 2-2 draw against Lecce meaning he has gone six without a goal in the league, though he did net against the same opponent back on January 4.

Another clean sheet would obviously hugely boost Milan’s chances of picking up another win so the performance of the three-man defence will be crucial, as will seeing how Saelemaekers gets on back in his wing-back role.

For Salernitana there is no doubt about who their leading man is as Boulaye Dia has 12 goal contributions, including eight goals and four assists.

Antonio Candreva has three goals and two assists having become a mainstay in the line-up despite being 36, while Krzysztof Piatek has netted three times this season and would love to strike against his old club Milan. Tonny Vilhena also has three goals and is a dynamic midfield presence.


With the other results that have happened over the weekend this is an opportunity to gain ground that Milan simply must take, preferably with an early goal to settle any nerves so the game can be controlled.

Milan 2-0 Salernitana


Tags AC Milan Milan Salernitana


  1. Big opportunity for us, given other results among the champions league contenders this weekend. This type of game is a must win given the remaining head to heads against our competitors.

  2. This is a must win, as Inter will be hosting Juve next week and we also have Derby Della Capitale. Crucial two weeks with rivals potentially dropping points. Hopefully favourable results should give a nice cushion before the Napoli-Milan match on the following week. Failing to covert 6 points vs Salernitana and Udinese, would place us back under immense pressure similar to January situation.

    Furthermore, if Juventus managed to get their -15 points penalty revoked, it would be a massive royal rumble involving Juve/Inter/Milan/Lazio/Roma for the last 3 UCL spots.

    1. If Juve get their 15 points back Serie A is done for good we will have biger issues down the line then..

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