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

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan will look to extend their winning run to five games on Saturday night when they take on Fiorentina at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

Milan seem to have put the woes of January firmly behind them as they have not only racked up three Serie A wins in a row plus the success against Spurs in the Champions League, but they did not concede a goal in any of the four games owing to the new three-man defence.

Stefano Pioli stressed in his pre-match press conference that the time has come for consistent performances as well as results, with a litmus test to come in Florence.

Game date: Saturday, 4 Match
Kick-off time: 20:45 (CET)
Venue: Stadio Artemio Franchi
Referee: Marco Di Bello (VAR: Di Paolo)

Team news

Pioli will have to be mindful of the fact that Milan have a trip to London next week for the return leg of the Champions League last 16 tie against Spurs, with a 1-0 lead from the first leg to try and protect.

In terms of selection problems, Rade Krunic and Rafael Leao are missing due to suspension after they each picked up yellow cards in the win over Atalanta on Sunday, thus taking them to the threshold of five for the season.

Earlier on Friday though it looked as though the treatment room would now be empty and the squad in full health ahead of two very important games, but a couple of late blows have arrived.

Sky are reporting that the presence of centre-back Matteo Gabbia for the away game in Florence is in doubt as the Rossoneri defender has a fever and at the moment it is not certain whether he will leave with the team tomorrow.

That news came just a couple of hours after Pioli confirmed that playmaker Brahim Diaz has picked up a knee injury and faces a battle to be fit for the game against Spurs, meaning he will be absent tomorrow.

According to reports from the main sources, Mike Maignan should make his second start since returning from injury with Pierre Kalulu, Malick Thiaw and Fikayo Tomori in the three-man defence ahead of him.

The midfield line should consist of Junior Messias as the right wing-back, with Theo Hernandez on the opposite flank either side of a double pivot that sees Ismael Bennacer return alongside Sandro Tonali after a few weeks out.

Rafael Leao’s suspension gives a chance for Ante Rebic on the left of the attacking trident, with Charles De Ketelaere expected on the other side of Olivier Giroud who will again lead the line.

Probable Milan XI (3-4-2-1): Maignan; Kalulu, Thiaw, Tomori; Messias, Tonali, Bennacer, Hernandez; De Ketelaere, Rebic; Giroud.

The opponents 

It has been a funny old season for Fiorentina under Vincenzo Italiano so far as his side sit in 12th place, well above the drop zone but nowhere near the European spots having won just seven out of 24 league games and having lost 10 of them.

In the summer they made additions such as Rolando Mandragora who came in from Juventus, Dodo who they spent €14.5m on to sign from Shakhtar Donetsk, Luka Jovic who they picked up for free from Real Madrid as well as Antonin Barak on an initial loan from Hellas Verona.

La Viola won just two of their first 11 games and then followed that up with four wins out of six to begin a bit of a climb up the table. However, they have won just once since January 7, which was a 3-0 win over Verona in the last round.

Fiorentina come into the game against the Rossoneri with just one injury problem to report: left-back Aleksa Terzic, who has a tear in his abductor muscle. Centre-back Nikola Milenkovic meanwhile has recovered and is in contention to play.

The victor at the Stadio MarcAntonio Bentegodi in the last round demonstrated that Fiorentina still have plenty of problem-causers on their day, and their line-up is tipped to include Nico Gonzalez, Arthur Cabral and Christian Kouame as the front three with the attack-minded Giacomo Bonaventura and Antonin Barak – an ex-Milan player and an old target – in midfield.

Probable Fiorentina XI (4-3-3): Terracciano; Dodo, Martinez Quarta, Igor, Biraghi; Bonaventura, Amrabat, Barak; Gonzalez, Cabral, Kouame.

Head to head

Fiorentina are the opponent that Milan have faced the seventh-most in the history of the club, with 178 meetings across all competitions. Of those games the Diavolo have won on 79 occasions, with 48 draws and 51 defeats, a win ration of 44.4%.

Milan have won the last two meetings against La Viola but both of those were at San Siro. Earlier this season it was a 2-1 win thanks to Rafael Leao and an own-goal, while the Portuguese winger scored the only goal in the 1-0 win last season.

The same fixture last season served up a cracker as Fiorentina prevailed 4-3. Duncan, Saponara and Vlahovic gave the hosts a 3-0 lead, then a Zlatan Ibrahimovic brace made it 3-2 before Vlahovic put the game to bed late on. A 96th-minute own-goal from Venuti would be a mere consolation.

Milan’s record at the Franchi across all competitions is not great, with 27 wins in 88 matches and 36 defeats. In fact, they have only won away at Fiorentina twice since 2014.

Match facts…

➤ Milan have won their last two Serie A meetings against Fiorentina and could make it a three-game winning streak against La Viola in the competition for the first time since 2008-2011

➤ Milan have scored in eight consecutive matches against Fiorentina in Serie A; only once before have the Rossoneri registered a longer streak against La Viola in the history of the competition: 10 in a row between 1947 and 1951.

➤ Fiorentina have won only three of their last 16 Serie A home games (D6 L7) against Milan, but they did manage a win last season (4-3, including the last brace by Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the competition).

➤ Fiorentina enjoyed a 3-0 win against Hellas Verona last time out; they could achieve back-to-back Serie A wins without conceding a goal for the first time since January 2020, against SPAL and Napoli.

➤ Across all competitions, Milan have won their last four matches without conceding a goal; only four times in their history, have they enjoyed five wins in a row with five clean sheets: in 1964, in 2003, in 2017 and most recently in 2018 with Gennaro Gattuso.

➤ Fiorentina have conceded in eight consecutive matches at Franchi in Serie A; they have not endured a longer run at home without a clean sheet in the competition since 2005 (9).

➤ Fiorentina (387) and Milan (351) are two of the four teams to have attempted the most shots in the current campaign – La Viola are also the team that have conceded the fewest shots (229); however, they have the worst ratio between shots conceded and goals conceded (on average one goal conceded every 7.6 shots).

➤ Riccardo Saponara made his Serie A debut for Milan in October 2013, making eight appearances for the Rossoneri in the competition; they are also the team against which he has scored the most goals in the to-pflight: four, including one in the only match played at Franchi, with Fiorentina.

➤ Fiorentina are, along with Roma, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s favourite opponent in Serie A (11 goals scored against them); with another goal, the Swede would become the oldest scorer in the history of the competition (41 years and 152 days), overtaking Alessandro Costacurta (41 years and 25 days, in May 2007).

➤ Since the start of last season, Rafael Leão (suspended for this match) has missed five Serie A matches, with AC Milan earning 1.4 points per game and a 40% win percentage (with the Portuguese on the pitch the average rises to 2.2 and the win rate is 67%).

Ones to watch

Fiorentina are like Milan in many ways as they do not have a stand-out in attack like they did with Vlahovic. Cabral leads the way with five goals and one assist in the league, with Bonaventura, Jovic and Gonzalez each on three goals.

Koume and Saponara each have four goal contributions (2G, 2A) while Barak and Biraghi both scored in the 3-0 win at Verona last weekend. Amrabat is the midfield anchor, while Dodo and Igor – a Brazilian duo – have been mainstays in the defence.

For Pioli’s men the eyes will be on Rebic and De Ketelaere presuming they get the start, as both have struggled this season and simply must start making contributions to prove they are useful options in the season finale.

Bennacer will be crucial in commandeering the midfield after his return from injury, while there will be some attention on how Calabria does as a wing-back if he does get the start there, and how Maignan does given he didn’t have a shot on target to face against Atalanta.


We would love to predict yet another clean sheet but Fiorentina’s attacking weapons will make it difficult. However, Milan’s forward play was much improved against La Dea and if that continues a win is not unreasonable to expect.

Fiorentina 1-2 Milan


Tags AC Milan Fiorentina Milan

1 Comment

  1. Big game ,great result Milan to win ..Olivier Giroud will do a great job tonight …things are going well for us again ..defensively we look solid ,and we are creating chances which we must start putting away ..
    I also believe we should get a good result again Tottenham in the champions leauge ..

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