Milan v Verona – San Siro Stadium at 14:00 GMT Live at Premier Sports
Milan head coach Stefano Pioli confessed that the Rossoneri have improved in their attitude, but it was “not a good performance” against Brescia last weekend as the fallen Italian giants squeezed past the basement boys 1-0.
Ante Rebic came off the bench yet again to make the difference, as his third goal in four games secured victory at the Stadio Rigamonti. The triumph marked the first time all season that Milan had tabled four consecutive wins between Serie A and the Coppa Italia, lifting the mood around Milanello.
However, Pioli was quick to dampen spirits, saying, “This was not a great Milan. We can play much better, show more quality, but we do know how to hang in there now and believe the moment will come eventually.”
The Rossoneri supremo added, “I think we need to improve. The last few results are satisfying, this is the right determination and attitude, but we have to do better on a technical and tactical level if we want to aim higher.”
Is it a coincidence that the upturn in fortunes came at the same time as Zlatan Ibrahimovic joined? Potentially. The Swede had a penalty appeal in the second minute at Brescia and saw a looping header fingertipped out from under the bar, whilst Ismael Bennacer’s control and volley shook the side-netting.
Milan had made the trip without Lucas Paqueta – who asked not to be included – Lucas Biglia, Davide Calabria and Leo Duarte, but Hakan Calhanoglu returned on the wing to aid the team’s attacking output, although, not for the first time this season, the Rossoneri failed to inspire or convince in the final-third.
Verona capable of frustrating
Verona made short work of Lecce with a comfortable 3-0 victory and their success never seemed in danger. These teams were promoted together from Serie B last summer, but have had very different seasons; Hellas were unbeaten in four and continue to hover inside of the top-flight’s top-half.
Ivan Juric’s charges have built their successful campaign upon a well-drilled and tight-knit defensive unit. The Gialloblu are giving away just 0.62 Expected Goals (xG) from open play per-game – only Inter and Juventus boast better returns – with matches often tight, tactical affairs.
I fully expect something similar on Sunday with Milan potentially lacking the tools to prise open Verona’s watertight backline. With that in mind, I’m happy taking the bulbous quotes of 1.94 on Under 2.5 Goals for the San Siro showdown; it’s a selection that’s won in 12 of the duos 19 collective home/away contests.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Under 2.50 at 1.940
Preview by: @MarkOHaire