AC Milan kick off their Serie A campaign with a tough trip to Sampdoria on Monday evening. The Rossoneri lost Gianluigi Donnarumma and Hakan Calhanoglu this summer, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic will miss the start of the season due to an injury.
Where and when: Luigi Ferraris – 23 August, kick-off 19:45
Where you can see Sampdoria vs. Milan: BT Sport
Last time: The last time Milan and Sampdoria met was back in April, with the game ending in a 1-1 draw at San Siro. Fabio Quagliarella had given the Blucerchiati the lead, but a late Jens Peter Hauge equaliser earned a point for the Rossoneri.
Sampdoria v Milan Predictions and Preview
Despite finishing 12 points off arch rivals Inter last term, AC Milan still managed to get second place. However, the Rossoneri’s spot in the top four was under question right until the final moments of the campaign.
Stefano Pioli’s men had a sensational unbeaten streak of 15 games at the start of last term, but some poor displays in January and February almost cost them a Champions League spot.
The Rossoneri have suffered a major loss, as Euro 2020’s Player of the Tournament Gianluigi Donnarumma left for PSG on a free transfer, while another key player Hakan Calhanoglu joined Inter, once again for free.
Mike Maignan arrived from Lille as a replacement for Donnarumma, while Olivier Giroud joined for Chelsea in order to compliment Zlatan Ibrahimovic up front. Fikayo Tomori’s move from Chelsea was also made permanent, after the defender had spent last season on loan at Milan.
AC Milan did well in pre-season, as their only defeat in the six friendlies they played was on penalties against Valencia after the game finished 0-0 in regular time. The Rossoneri kept Real Madrid at bay for another goalless draw, while they also beat Panathinaikos, Modena and Pro Sesto, with Giroud scoring three goals during that stretch.
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Milan to win
Both teams to score
Milan to win 2-1
Sampdoria, meanwhile, replaced Claudio Ranieri with Roberto D’Aversa, as the ex-Leicester City tactician decided to leave after spending two years at the club. The Blucerchiati finished in a respectable 9th place last term, thanks to the enigmatic Fabio Quagliarella who was once again their top scorer with 13 strikes.
Sampdoria played only two friendlies in pre-season, winning both, as D’Aversa’s men beat Verona 1-0 before defeating Piacenza 2-0. The Genovese side also played one official game, as they started with a 3-2 victory against Allesandria in the Coppa Italia, with Quagliarella, Manolo Gabbiadini and Morten Thorsby finding the back of the net.
Despite drawing 1-1 against Milan in their last game, Samp have had a tough time against the Rossoneri of late, winning only one of their last eight games. The Blucerchiati have managed two draws and five defeats, including two losses in their last two encounters against Milan at the Luigi Ferraris.
Unsurprisingly, Milan enter the clash as 10/11 favourites with William Hill to start off their campaign with a win. The draw is priced at 5/2, while a victory for the hosts is available at 16/5.
One to watch for Sampdoria: Fabio Quagliarella might be turning 39 in January, but despite this he still netted 13 Serie A strikes last term, one of which broke the deadlock against Milan at San Siro. The Sampdoria talisman will once again be a key figure for his side this term and is 11/2 to score the opener on Monday.
One to watch for Milan: With Zlatan Ibrahimovic still recovering from a knee injury, Olivier Giroud will have to step in for the big Swede at the start of the season. The Frenchman, who joined from Chelsea this summer, seems to be settling in well and is a 4/1 favourite to break the deadlock at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.
Long shot: Milan have won three of their last four visits to Sampdoria, winning the last one 2-1. A repeat of that scenario is priced at 8/1, rising to 44/1 if you pair this with Olivier Giroud scoring the opener.