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Jan 30, 2021 at 2pm UK at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara
BolognaBologna
1-2
AC MilanAC Milan
Poli (81')
Dijks (24'), Soriano (56')
Mihajlovic (55')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Rebic (26'), Kessie (55' pen.)
Rebic (51')

Preview: Bologna vs. AC Milan - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Serie A clash between Bologna and AC Milan, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

After the worst week of an otherwise successful season, Serie A leaders AC Milan visit mid-table Bologna on Saturday, needing to avoid a third straight defeat to keep ahead of the chasing pack.

Losses against local rivals Atalanta and Inter Milan in both league and cup have unsettled Stefano Pioli's side ahead of their trip to Emilia-Romagna to face the underwhelming Rossoblu.


Match preview

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is sent off for AC Milan against Inter Milan in the Coppa Italia on January 26, 2021© Reuters

Dominating the sports news headlines on Tuesday night, Milan's exit from the Coppa Italia to their Nerazzurri counterparts was overshadowed by the dismissal of and subsequent racism row involving star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Scorer of a fine first goal at San Siro, the influential forward was booked twice and sent off, but not before butting heads - both physically and verbally - with former Manchester United colleague Romelu Lukaku. Ultimately, the Belgian forward had the last laugh, with Inter progressing to the semi-finals at the Rossoneri's expense.

That defeat came just days after a comprehensive 3-0 loss at the same venue to close challengers Atalanta - marking a definite full stop on Milan's ongoing ascendancy since Calcio returned from lockdown.

Having also been beaten by Juventus in recent weeks, some of the limitations of Pioli's young unit are now being exposed against the league's big guns, but a talented squad should still have more than enough gas in the tank to roll over Serie A also-rans - such as this week's hosts Bologna - on a regular basis.

Though still burdened by several injuries, Milan can approach their latest assignment in the knowledge that they have only lost one of their last 22 top-flight meetings with the Rossoblu - winning 16 of those encounters. Furthermore, the Diavolo are also unbeaten in their last 14 league games at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara.

Bologna coach Sinisa Mihajlovic looks dejected after the match on January 24, 2021© Reuters

Defensively suspect Bologna finally kept a clean sheet in their last home match against Verona, but have failed to put together back-to-back blanks since April 2019.

The size of their task in doing so this weekend is highlighted by the fact that their visitors are looking to score in a 20th successive Serie A fixture for the first time in their long history. Milan have also scored two or more goals in their last 15 league games on the road - only Barcelona (20 games in 2012-13) have ever enjoyed a longer such run in the top five European leagues.

Following their much-needed win versus Verona, 13th-placed Bologna were beaten 2-0 by Juventus last weekend - leaving them just six points above the dreaded drop zone.

The most pressing problem for the Felsinei remains in attack, with their top scorer still being midfielder Roberto Soriano. Recalled to the Azzurri squad before Christmas, Soriano's six goals and two assists so far have left his attacking colleagues in the shade and has had fans calling for a greater physical presence up front.

Nonetheless, Sinisa Mihajlovic's defence is now shipping significantly fewer goals than at the start of the season and his side have fared relatively well at Dall'Ara this term - with 14 of their 20 points taken on home turf. Adding to that tally against wounded Milan though, could prove a bridge too far.

Bologna Serie A form: DDDLWL

AC Milan Serie A form: WWLWWL
AC Milan form (all competitions): LWDWLL


Team News

Gianluigi Donnarumma warms up for Milan on November 1, 2020© Reuters

Milan's first-choice goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma comes back into the XI after being suspended in the cup, as Ciprian Tatarusanu - who deputised impressively against Inter - returns to the bench. Stefano Pioli will also restore Davide Calabria at the expense of Diogo Dalot and he should start alongside skipper Alessio Romagnoli and on-loan Fikayo Tomori in the back four.

However, Matteo Gabbia, Ismael Bennacer and Simon Kjaer are all expected to miss out through injury, while Pierre Kalulu, Sandro Tonali, new signing Mario Mandzukic and Brahim Diaz are all struggling to be fit.

Hakan Calhanoglu still requires a negative COVID-19 test before he can return to the squad, so Samu Castillejo, Ante Rebic and Rafael Leao would form the supporting trio behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic (whose suspension only applies to next year's Coppa Italia) in the Turkish playmaker's absence.

Only long-term absentee Federico Santander is set to be unavailable for Bologna, who should line up in their familiar 4-2-3-1 formation on Saturday.

Three players continue to contest two spots in the Rossoblu engine room, with Sinisa Mihajlovic deciding between Jerdy Schouten and Mattias Svanberg to partner Argentina international Nicolas Dominguez.

Up front, tireless veteran Rodrigo Palacio is once more expected to plough a lone furrow, with support coming from Roberto Soriano, Musa Barrow and Riccardo Orsolini.

Bologna possible starting lineup:
Skorupski; De Silvestri, Danilo, Tomiyasu, Dijks; Dominguez, Schouten; Orsolini, Soriano, Barrow; Palacio

AC Milan possible starting lineup:
Donnarumma; Calabria, Tomori, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Kessie, Meite; Rebic, Castillejo, Leao; Ibrahimovic


SM words green background

We say: Bologna 1-2 AC Milan

As the impact of injuries and fatigue set in for the visitors following a hitherto sparkling campaign, this could be a rare opportune moment for Bologna to take on one of their most feared opponents.

Under Stefano Pioli so far though, Milan have proved to be made of sterner stuff and can edge past their Emilian hosts on Saturday, with several squad players coming to the fore.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data


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Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori pictured in September 2020
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Inter Milan29225268274171
2AC Milan30196557352263
3Juventus29178458263259
4Atalanta BCAtalanta29177568363258
5Napoli29182963342956
6Lazio2816484538752
7Roma2915685344951
8Hellas VeronaHellas Verona29118103834441
9SassuoloSassuolo29101094848040
10Sampdoria29106133943-436
11Bologna2997133945-634
12Udinese3089133240-833
13Genoa29711113141-1032
14SpeziaSpezia3088144055-1532
15Fiorentina2979133646-1030
16BeneventoBenevento2979133054-2430
17Torino29512124252-1027
18CagliariCagliari2957173150-1922
19Parma30311162959-3020
20Crotone3043233777-4015

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