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

By Isak Möller -

Following the 7-3 win against Slavia Praha on aggregate, AC Milan will shift focus to the league as Hellas Verona are up next. Having reclaimed second place last weekend, the Rossoneri will be keen to keep it as we head into the international break. 

Milan are currently on a four-game winning run and after leapfrogging Juventus in the standings, there is indeed some momentum. The draw in the Europa League, with Roma up in the quarters, has also allowed the fans to dream about the final.

After the game against Slavia, Stefano Pioli made it clear that Milan must keep this up and secure a nice win ahead of the international break. During the latter, a lot of players will also be able to recover some energy.

Game date: Sunday, March 16
Kick-off time: 15:00 (CET)
Venue: Stadio Bentegodi
Referee: Maurizio Mariani (VAR: Mazzoleni)

Team news

This morning, there were some doubts about Davide Calabria and Mike Maignan who both picked up minor injuries on Thursday evening. However, after testing their condition during today’s training session, it was confirmed that they have recovered and that both will start tomorrow.

Alessandro Florenzi will also be back from his suspension and this means that Pioli has a full squad for the game, excluding Tommaso Pobega. The likes of Theo Hernandez, Yunus Musah and Ruben Loftus-Cheek will have to be careful as they will miss the Fiorentina clash if carded.

As per the latest report by Sky Italia, there are a few battles for the starting XI that Pioli will have to decide between today and tomorrow. In defence, one of Matteo Gabbia and Malick Thiaw will partner up with Fikayo Tomori in the centre, while Theo Hernandez will start on the left as expected.

After starting Yacine Adli and Yunus Musah last time out, the primary midfield tandem will be back in action tomorrow with Ismael Bennacer and Tijjani Reijnders. Especially the latter will be tasked with the decisive passes between midfield and attack.

The attacking trio will be the usual one, but Pioli hasn’t decided the No.9 role yet. Olivier Giroud played the game against Slavia Praha from start to finish and as a result, Luka Jovic remains in the running. The Serbian hasn’t scored in his last three appearances, so now is the time.

Update: Okafor is now set to start, as per Gazzetta dello Sport.

Probable Milan XI (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Calabria/Florenzi, Thiaw/Gabbia/Kalulu, Tomori, Hernandez; Bennacer, Reijnders; Pulisic, Loftus-Cheek, Leao; Okafor.

The opponents 

It has been a very tough season for Hellas Verona and their manager Marco Baroni, but two consecutive wins have given them some breathing room in the relegation fight. Indeed, 18th and 19th place are just two and three points away respectively, so more will be needed.

Those of you who followed last season will know that Verona only managed to avoid relegation thanks to the new play-off rules. They finished on the same points as Spezia and the latter even had the better H2H record, but the Bentegodi side managed to win the play-off game 3-1.

This season hasn’t been much of an improvement despite bringing in Baroni from Lecce, and the upcoming games will be crucial to determine where they stand in the relegation battle. In other words, Milan will not be able to relax in this clash.

The striker Thomas Henry, who has bagged three goals this season, was sent off in the win last time out and will thus miss the game tomorrow. Other than that, though, Baroni will pretty much be able to rely on his best team

However, it should be noted that the star Cyril Ngonge was sold to Napoli in January, after scoring six goals and two assists for Verona. Not having to face him is a huge boost for Milan, especially since the defence hasn’t been the best lately.

Probable Verona XI (4-2-3-1): Montipò; Tchatchoua, Magnani, Dawidowicz, Cabal; Duda, Serdar; Suslov, Folorunsho, Lazovic; Noslin.

Head to head

As you can read more about in the stats section below, Milan have been very successful against Verona in the last few years. With this in mind, and the positions in the standings, the Rossoneri fans have every right to be optimistic for tomorrow.

Having said that, away games at Bentegodi tend to be very tough regardless of the outcome. Milan needed an 81st-minute winner from Sandro Tonali last time out, and Verona actually put the Rossoneri in difficulty during the game.

Milan may be the favourites, which Baroni also made sure to highlight, but Verona are very physical side that won’t go down without a fight.

Match stats and facts…

➤ Hellas Verona have lost their last six games against Milan in Serie A, while they have only lost seven games in a row against two other opponents: Napoli between 1988 and 1996 and an active run against Inter (beginning in 2020).

➤ Milan kept a clean sheet in their last match against Hellas Verona (1-0, 23 September 2023) and have not recorded two clean sheets in a row against the Gialloblù in Serie A since May 1992

➤ Milan have won their last four away matches against Hellas Verona in Serie A, with an aggregate score of 8-2; the last time the Gialloblù picked up points at home against the Rossoneri in the competition dates back to 17 December 2017: 3-0 under Fabio Pecchia.

➤ Hellas Verona have recorded won their last two league games without conceding a goal (1-0 vs Sassuolo and Lecce): they have not achieved three wins in a row in Serie A since October 2013, and have not managed to do so while keeping a clean sheet in each since April 2000 (four with Prandelli).

➤ Along with Hellas Verona, Milan have also won 1-0 in each of their last two Serie A matches (vs Lazio and Empoli); indeed, the Rossoneri are the team with the most 1-0 victories in the competition this term (seven).

➤ Milan have won four of their last five away games in Serie A (L1), scoring an average of 2.4 goals per game. This follows a run of four away games in which they had collected just three points (D3 L1).

➤ Five of Hellas Verona’s last eight Serie A goals have come from outside the box, including the last two (in the 1-0 wins against Sassuolo and Lecce), while Milan have only scored two goals from outside the box this season; more only than Cagliari (one).

➤ Verona’s Michael Folorunsho has been involved in three goals (two goals, one assist) in his last three Serie A appearances, while three of his four goals in the competition this term came from outside the box. Among all midfielders of the Big-5 five European Leagues in 2023/24, only Teddy Teuma and Jan-Niklas Beste (both four) have netted more goals from outside the box.

➤ Milan’s Christian Pulisic has scored eight goals this season, and is just one shy of equalling Weston McKennie as the top American scorer in Serie A (nine goals). Another goal would also see him equal his best scoring season in the Big-5 European leagues: nine goals in 2019/20 with Chelsea.

➤ Milan’s Rafael Leão has been involved in six goals (three goals, three assists) in his last five appearances against Hellas Verona in Serie A, scoring in each of the last two matches; indeed, against no opponent he has been involved in more goals in the competition (six also against Roma).

Ones to watch

With the aforementioned stats in mind, we have to mention Rafael Leao here. He has indeed been very successful against Verona and the screamer against Slavia Praha has surely boosted his confidence. If he wakes up on the right side, Milan are bound to win this.

In addition to the winger, the Rossoneri fans should keep an extra eye on Fiakyo Tomori. The Englishman is still regaining confidence and match fitness, but the initial signs have been positive. His speed is unmatched at the back, not counting Theo Hernandez, and we all know just how good he can be.

For the home side, Darko Lazovic always seems to have a good game when facing Milan and it will be up to Davide Calabria to stop him. This season, however, the Serbian has only managed one assist so it remains to be seen whether he will have his usual ‘Rossoneri form’ or not.

Michael Folorunsho has been a key part of the minor resurgence of Verona in recent weeks and he will be looking to continue his positive form. Bigger sides in Serie A are watching on, so there is more at stake than just avoiding relegation for him.


It will not be an easy game for Milan, or perhaps we should say that it will be a physical battle, but the Rossoneri should still come out on top. The recent form has been positive and Leao’s confidence boost could make all the difference, while the other attackers have been very good too.

Verona 1-3 AC Milan

Tags AC Milan Hellas Verona Serie A
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