Jan 132018

The Serie A break is here and this time the break is January of course, and 20 games of the 2017-2018 season have been played. A lot has been said and written about Milan’s poor form and the team being way off even last season’s pace and all that after spending over €200 million in the summer.

A major talking point this season has been rotation and choice of players, Montella was criticized for not settling on a team, never able or willing to use the same 11.

Gattuso’s start on the bench has been almost as questionable though hints of more stability are emerging as players like Cutrone prove themselves more every time they play.

A more specific question is the minutes Kalinic gets vs those Andre Silva gets. The former was brought into the team primarily on the insistence of Montella and the latter was one of the major purchases of the summer and one thought to be a very bright prospect. €20 million and €38 million respectively were spent on the then 29 and 21 years old players. Soon after the season started the two players took different paths when it came to their place on the team. Andre Silva found himself restricted to European dates and virtually shut out of the Serie A where Kalinic and Cutrone were always preferred. Andre Silva became one of the players of the Europa League group stage with 6 goals but seemed to be always on the bench even when Kalinic who was picked ahead of him struggled to score and finish. When two successive coaches have left the Portuguese on the bench questions about the player himself are normal. Is it a case of easing in a young player into a new league and country or is there more to the story? There is for example video footage of Andre Silva seemingly distant from the team at the end of the week 20 win vs Crotone.

The two forwards are not the only players whose names have stirred debate  when it comes to minutes played. Mateo Musacchio is another. The Argentine defender was the first signing of the summer but is often on the bench especially when a back four is used, he is sometimes even behind Zapata in the pecking order, where Bonucci and Romagnoli are getting the most minutes.

Locatelli is too. The young Italian midfielder has been nowhere near first choice and Montolivo and Biglia both of whom have also struggled are picked ahead of him, so much so that there is talk of Locatelli being loaned out.

Who deserves more playing time?

View Results

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Andre Silva
Games ~ Minutes ~ Goals ~ Assists
Europa League 6 ~ 495 ~ 6 ~ 0
Serie A 4(8) ~ 534 ~ 0 ~ 0
Nikola Kalinic
Games ~ Minutes ~ Goals ~ Assists
Europa League 1(2) ~ 99 ~ 0 ~ 1
Serie A 14(3) ~ 1185 ~ 4 ~ 1
Mateo Musacchio
Games ~ Minutes ~ Goals ~ Assists
Europa League 4(1) ~ 376 ~ 1 ~ 0
Serie A 11 ~ 990 ~ 0 ~ 0
Manuel Locatelli
Games ~ Minutes ~ Goals ~ Assists
Europa League 4(1) ~ 353 ~ 0 ~ 0
Serie A 2(9) ~ 295 ~ 0 ~ 0
Jan 062018

Follow the match as it happens, on the forum.

A relatively positive result, a come from behind 1-1 draw at Fiorentina, ended the first half of a very disappointing season. The draw came after beating Inter in the Coppa Italia following which the expectations were immediately heightened. The draw was not exactly a high quality performance but the result is at least something to build on.

Crotone were beaten 3-0 on match day one in what seems ages ago, Kessie, Cutrone and Suso opened the season in good style back in August, another win is pretty much mandatory against a team that has won only once away from home so far this season.

A lot has changed since August of course and with a team in crisis on and off the pitch and the now traditional poor showing against lowly teams the 11 that start have lots to do. Up front Cutrone, Calhanoglu and Suso are probably the best available though this writer still thinks that if Andre Silva is given more starts will start to deliver. Instead the Portuguese and a few other players are subject to – halfhearted and likely made up – exit rumours. The likes of Gomez and Paletta are primary candidates to leave this January but Silva and Musacchio’s names have been mentioned too. Kalinic’s name has surfaced in relation to the Chinese league as well.

Gigio Donnarumma will start and in front of him the four includes Calabria – while Abate is out injured – Bnucci, Romagnoli and Rodriguez. Kessie and Bonaventura will flank Montolivo in midfield.  Locatelli perhaps deserves more playing time but form, confidence and coach’s trust are perhaps not on his side. Up front the aforementioned front three need to conquer a defense that includes Arlind Ajeti and Federico Ceccherini and one that has conceded 24 goals in 9 away games.

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