22 September 2023


Another match at San Siro: let's see what could decide it

The games keep on coming. AC Milan v Hellas Verona will be our fifth fixture of the league season, and three important points are at stake against a side that have started the campaign well after narrowly avoiding relegation in 2022/23. A victory will need to be earned by the Rossoneri in a match that we're now having a closer look at through our pre-match briefing.

Another San Siro clash awaits Stefano Pioli's men, who will play every three days until the next international break, given that matchday six is scheduled for midweek. The Head Coach made changes for the match against Newcastle and will likely do so again for the team's fifth fixture of the Serie A season. Verona will also be looking at their schedule, fully aware that they have three games in eight days coming up (they'll face Atalanta on Wednesday - the same day AC Milan take on Cagliari - and Torino on Monday 2 October). Both teams will look to make good use of their respective squads in a fixture that is taking place during the first real intense moment of the campaign.

Used to playing possession-based football, AC Milan will be taking on a side that have adopted a direct style of play, taking few touches. It's a clash that pits two different approaches against each other. In the opening four matchdays, Baroni's Hellas have shown themselves to be particularly effective in individual duels (only Roma and Lecce have done better), but the same can't be said for the way they've moved the ball: they're second-to-last in terms of percentage of successful passes. Forcing the Gialloblù to pass it around and play in a way they’re not comfortable with could be key for Pioli's men, especially as they look to find gaps in the Verona backline. This won't necessarily be an easy task: Hellas have kept two clean sheets in their opening four fixtures, during which they've conceded four goals (three in the same match against Sassuolo).

From an attacking perspective, AC Milan and Hellas Verona have had different starts to the season. The Rossoneri have scored nine goals through four different players and have been more effective when attacking through the middle. There's room for improvement for Pioli's team down the wings, and many are curious to see how the players who come into the side will get on in that area of the pitch. The Gialloblù, meanwhile, have picked up seven points despite only scoring four - all from open play. Baroni's team have the third lowest xG (Expected Goals) value in the division (only Empoli and Genoa have done worse than them in this regard) but have shown a clinical edge. As for the Rossoneri, they failed to score for the first time this season against Newcastle, but it was a match where they created plenty of chances. They need to seize the moments if they want to secure their fourth league victory of the campaign.

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