Feb 072016

Milan Udinese

A second clean sheet in a row vs Palermo in midweek, a derby win before it and a five game Serie A unbeaten run have made the season slightly more interesting. The manner of the last two wins have been relatively impressive to make room for cautious optimism for a top 5 place at least. The future remains uncertain at best however with the ownership situation questioned once more during the week. It is not impossible to envision a summer that will see more cuts instead of what was hoped to be further investment.

Heading to face Cyril Thereau and Udinese  – who are in the midst of a 5 game winless streak – comes news that Bonaventura will miss this game due to a combination of fatigue and hip problem. It is thought that Kucka and Bertolacci will both start along side Montolivo and Honda to complete the 4 man midfield. The options up front are limited therefore Niang and Bacca will be allowed to continue to provide the offence. The defense will welcome Alex’s return after being rested for the Palermo game.

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Feb 032016

Palermo Milan

With the resounding 3-0 derby win resurrecting the lost season it is time to set a consistency mark and win again. At least this is the hope, a hope to climb the standings and remain competitive, the anti climactic transfer window aside. With no significant arrivals and a few departures the team remains reliant on what is available and has actually lost some depth. It should be hoped that midfield and defense, with no less than 3 expiring contracts, shortcomings will be addressed in the summer.

Palemro are up next and feature Gilardino and recently signed Cristante as former Milan players. Coming off a tie vs Carpi and sitting in the bottom half of the table the ever changing Sicilian team can nevertheless trouble Milan.

If this game wasn’t a midweek one would fully expect no line up changes, the derby win provides a platform to pick an unchanged team and go for it. It is still possible that the line up will remain unchanged however it won’t be too surprising if Zapata starts in Alex’s place. The Brazilian’s good performance vs Inter notwithstanding.

Bacca and Niang are virtually no choice starting forwards until Menez is fully fit. Honda, Montolivo and especially Kucka and Bonaventura deserve to retain their midfield spots.

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Jan 312016

Milan Inter

The second Milan derby of the 2015-2016 season sees two teams in indifferent form meeting. Inter have won only one of last five games and Milan have been inconsistent at best. This game is being played near the end of a disappointing and even disturbing winter transfer window for Milan where the only addition has been that of Kevin Prince Boateng. It has not been so much that the winter transfer window should or could have been a very busy one but that the signals coming from Galliani are that not much can be done and that ‘Milan are competitive’. Add to that Barbara Berlusconi’s statement that Milan are aiming to qualify for the Europa League spots and this season can officially be called a mediocre one.

On the injury front Milan are a healthier team and Menez is back in the squad after a long absence. Balotelli has returned as well of course but will not start, in fact he may not start in a Serie A game at all unless there are injury problems. So up front remains a Bacca and Niang partnership. The defense and goalie positions are set for the time being with Donnarumma in goal and Abate, Alex, Romagnoli and Antonelli set to keep their jobs. The midfield is always more fluid and the indications are that Kucka will get a start and Bertolacci will be benched.

Inter replaced the departing Fredy Guarin with Eder from Sampdoria this week and he is likely to grab a forward spot straight away and play alongside another ex-Sampdoria player Mauro Icardi.

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Jan 232016

Empoli Milan

Week 21 sees Milan travel to visit Riccardo Saponara and Empoli. The Tuscan team lie one point behind Milan, have lost only 2 of their last 10 and have Massimo Maccarone still in good form. Milan’s form remains unpredictable. The week 20 win against Fiorentina was a hopeful one but uncertainty remains, both in the transfer market and team sale and also in the fate of coach Mihajlovic.

Boateng’s form has been hailed as a surprise after good play and the goal against Fiorentina but he will need to show it for longer for it to make a true difference. With only few days remaining in the market there might not be much more activity so all the current players need to perform well into the spring if this team has any chance of finishing 5th or above.

Versus Empoli the defense looks like it is going to be an expected one with Antonelli, Romagnoli, Alex and Abate and Donnarumma in goal. Bonaventura, Bertolacci, Montolivo and Honda will keep their place, as will Niang and Bacca. Adriano has returned from a failed China move and is in the squad, as is Balotelli. Mexes however, doesn’t make the bench.

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Jan 172016

Milan Fiorentina

The first half of the season ended with a tie at Roma. The second half of the tie featured an improved Milan that turned the game into a deserving of win one. It is perhaps debatable that much of that improved look was due to Roma’s poor form. The match ended Rudi Garcia’s reign at Roma as the team’s management decided to act on the near collapse of the team. Mihajlovic’s reign at Milan continues with a cloud of uncertainty, the midweek Coppa win supposedly eased the pressure on him but that is not likely to be much use if Fiorentina win.

The Tuscan team come into this game having somewhat surprisingly lost to Lazio at home but have won 6 of last 10 games. Milan sprang a surprise by shipping off Luiz Adriano to China. Though not official it is said that Milan have made a 6 million euros profit, having signed the Brazilian for 8 million euros just last year.

With Adriano not available and Menez and Balotelli still on the sidelines Niang and Bacca will have to start again. The midfield looks to feature Honda, Kucka, Bertolacci and Bonaventura meaning Montolivo remains on the bench again. The defense could feature Antonelli gain but De Sciglio, Romagnoli, Zapata and Abate look more likely. Mexes has been near a Milan exit if recurring rumours are to be believed so that could be one reason Zapata starts. Little is known as to why Zapata would be preferred to Alex though and Mihajlovic is quickly acquiring a tinkerman approach.

Follow the game on the forum.

Also check the winter mercato thread for more rumours including one of the sillier ones suggesting a Ranocchia Jose Mauri swap with Inter!

Jan 092016

Roma Milan

Yet another defeat filled with missed chances has the team under even more criticism. The 0-1 loss vs Bologna left the team collecting a mere 5 points out of 12 vs Carpi, Verona, Frosinone and Bologna. It even meant Cerci quitting social media after being targeted for a bad miss and general poor play. The coach has insisted he will not resign but Berlusconi has repeated that he is not happy so anything can happen. Another midweek game – Coppa Italia match vs Carpi – coming next Wednesday and consecutive losses may spell the end for Mihajlovic.

Roma have not fared much better recently and have just 1 win in last 5 and have fallen to fifth in the Serie A standings. They will be without Dzeko whose two game suspension was upheld, Salah was a doubt early in the week but looks likely to start.

Latest word on the possible line up is that Alex is out with a knock but Romagnoli returns from suspension and will partner Mexes in defense. Honda may keep his place but Boateng may feature as well or even start in his place. Montolivo could be rested and therefore Kucka looks to get a start in midfield. The front two misfired vs Bologna but the Adriano option is available. However, if Adriano starts, once again this would qualify as too much tinkering.

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Jan 052016

Milan Bologna

The team returns after the the Christmas and new year break to face Roberto Donadoni’s Bologna and five goals scorer Mattia Destro. Milan’s season still has an uncertain feel about it, the summer signings have not provided the hoped improvement and inconsistency has the team hovering in sixth place.

The open secret that was Kevin Price Booteng’s return has been made official and he is included in the squad to face Bologna. He will be wearing number 72. Elsewhere Balotelli, Lopez and Menez are not ready but not far from returning which means the line up will be virtually unchanged.

Romagnoli’s suspension means Mexes is back starting, alongside Alex, Abate and De Sciglio (and not Antonelli). Donnarumma will remain in goal of course. Niang and Bacca are likely to partner up front in the 4-4-2. The middle four includes arguably the star of Milan’s season so far Bonaventura with Bertolacci, Montolivo and the once again outspoken Honda. It remains to be seen if this means Honda will exit Milan or will Zapata, Nocerino rumours materialise. Three points will go a long way and start the calendar year positively, it is also hoped there will be news of the possible 48% sale to Mr.Bee but hopes are fading and with it chances of strengthening the team and midfield options.

Follow the match on the forum and check the mercato thread for more news.

Dec 202015

Frosinone Milan

The supposed easy stretch of games that featured near bottom teams – namely Carpi and Verona – enters its third with complete disappointment. Having managed two of six points from the aforementioned teams now it is time to play  another relegation threatened team, Frosinone. The Serie A newcomers have two wins so far in the season but as seen this season nothing is given with the current Milan side.

Mihajlovic’s changes or tweaks in recent weeks, especially alternating forwards and midfielders have been partly dictated by injuries however moves like pushing Niang back and adding de Jong to the midfield after not using him for weeks has been odd and most of what he has done has not really paid off.

All signs point to yet more tinkering for this match, it has been reported that Niang will start on the bench and Honda will start in midfield with Adriano and Bacca up front. Bertolacci’s full return should help the midfield become more of a help to the forwards but Montolivo’s form is likely to keep disappointing and give the opposition time to organize and defend. The defense will remain the same with De Sciglio starting on the left but Antonelli is ready if needed.

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Dec 132015

Milan Verona

After the disappointing draw vs Carpi it was fully expected to get a positive result against the team that had zero wins so far. Late in the week brought news that Mihajlovic was tinkering with the lineup and reintroducing Nigel de Jong and moving Niang back to include both Bacca and Adriano in a 4-4-2 – that would change to 4-2-4.

The game was marred by the referee when Nigel de Jong was given a red in addition to a penalty when Leandro Greco was brought down. However Milan hadn’t played all that well and Bacca had provided the lead a bit earlier without any of the players being exceptional.

Being down to ten men added some urgency however once again not enough was done and two points were eventually dropped at home when it was inexcusable to do so.

Players like Montolivo and de Jong are proving that they do not belong and if the former is given a long extension – as some reports indicate – in such an environment then Galliani and management will prove themselves unfit once again.

Read more about the game on the forum.


Dec 062015

Carpi Milan

With the biggest win of the season behind the team it is time to meet Cristian Zaccardo and Carpi. The 4-1 win against Sampdoria was as much convincing as was Sampdoria’s poor performance was surprising. Niang and Bonaventura’s form and goals created good attacking potential but there are slight concerns with Bacca’s recent (lack of) contribution.

The so called 4-4-2 is likely to remain the same against Carpi as Bertolacci is still not available. Another player was added to the injury list with Antonelli picking up a left thigh injury in training. His absence is hoped to be short term. De Sciglio is expected to get the start at left back instead. The rest of the team is settled for now. Alex, Romagnoli and Abate complete the defense as the best available with Bonaventura, Montolivo, Kucka and Cerci in the middle. Bacca’s aforementioned loss of form may provide a start for Adriano but the likelihood remains that Mihajlovic will stick with the Colombian.

Carpi sit in the relegation zone but are coming off a win at Genoa. With other week 15 results including Napoli’s loss to Bologna three points gets Milan a bit closer to the top.

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