A slow start to the Serie A campaign almost seems like a tradition for AC Milan, one they're living up to having earned just four points thus far. That's likely due, in part, to their long injury list, which is also becoming something of a tradition. The rossoneri are facing Bologna away without five usual starters and lacking a few players that, while not regulars, were an important part in Massimiliano Allegri's rotation system.
Mario Balotelli's brilliant performance against Napoli on Sunday was overshadowed by his foolishness, with Balo earning a red card after the final whistle for verbal attacks on the referee. He's now serving a three match ban, and with so many other Milan players unavailable, Supermario's suspension will create many problems for a team that is already well behind the top sides on the table.
But Milan's problems go behind the injuries and suspensions. The defense can be blamed for both of the goals the rossoneri conceded against Napoli. The first goal proved that defending set pieces is still an issue, but more importantly, on both goals, it seemed like there was a lack of communication between the experienced defenders. Seasoned players like Alessandro Diamanti and Rolando Bianchi will be able to trouble Milan's defense if there is no improvement.
Bologna isn't without their own problems. Cesare Natali was handed a three game suspension after doing the same thing as Balotelli did, except Natali didn't wait for the match to end, with his verbal attack coming at the half. That, and the suspension of Panagiotis Kone, will create problems for Stefano Pioli, whose team isn't living up to expectations. Bologna is still looking for a win, with it, consistent shape and form. One good half against Torino won't be enough and Pioli knows it. Unless the side shows improvement, the rossoblu might remain just above the drop. Bologna's quality means they deserve to avoid the battle against relegation and remain comfortably mid-table -- Pioli just needs to find a way to ensure that quality translates to results.
Bologna injuries and suspensions
AC Milan injuries and suspensions
Projected line ups
Bologna (4-3-2-1): Curci; Garics, Antonsson, Mantovani, Morleo; Laxalt, Pazienza, Della Rocca; Cristaldo, Diamanti, Bianchi
Milan (4-3-1-2): Abbiati; Abate, Zapata, Mexes, Constant; Poli, De Jong, Nocerino; Birsa; Matri, Robinho
Wednesday, September 25 at 8:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET
Stadio Renato Dall'Ara, Bologna
Sky Calcio 2 (Italy)
beIN Sport Play