Week 29: Milan – Chievo
Follow the match as it happens, on the forum.
The week 28 match at Genoa following the disappointing Europa League round of 16 first leg loss to Arsenal at home was somewhat underwhelming. The game was often played at a pace that made it seem the team was showing the effects of the home loss to the London team. The start given to Kalinic up front didn’t inspire much confidence, for the fans at least. Borini got a start at right back with Calabria not fully fit and Abate out injured. His presence there created some problems and Genoa saw more space down their left side. Calabria eventually came on and his introduction coincided with more freedom for Suso. In the very last action of the game the Spaniard crossed and it was headed in smartly by Andre Silva – who had come on as a sub. The players rushed to the Portuguese to congratulate him on his first Serie A goal and celebrate what looked an unlikely three points.
The focus shifted to trying to reverse 0-2 scoreline in London. The Arsenal match would be a big test for the young Milan. Refereeing decisions – a Danny Welbeck dive after Rodriguez barely made contact and a ball hitting Calum Chambers’ arm in the box but not seen or judged to be a penalty, just to name two – and generally poor or bad luck play combined for a 3-1 loss (5-1 aggregate). Calhanoglu had opened the scoring with an excellent long ball but it was not meant to be and the loss is to, hopefully, be proven a learning experience. The team fought well but it was not a great performance. The referees only highlighted the need for improvement in their line of work.
Chievo, led by Roberto Inglese and his eight Serie A goals, come to the San Siro and Milan ‘s recent Serie A record has put the team to within touch of a top four finish. That a Champions League place is at all possible serves to show how the team has improved in 2018 but many more points are needed to achieve that. Nine games and 27 points are available till the end of the season and most of them are required. The line up looked likely to revert back to one where Kalinic starts but on Saturday the Croat was sent home after what was reported to be a training ground issue, one which made Gattuso unhappy. Silva and Cutrone got a chance in a 4-4-2 in London but it is unlikely that a similar formation will be used this weekend. Cutrone will replace Kalinic in the often used 4-3-3. Calhanoglu and Suso will start as will Kessie, Biglia and Bonaventura. It is thought that Calabria may not recover from his muscle fatigue and therefore Borini is to start along Bonucci, Romagnoli and Rodriguez again. However late in the week Romagnoli was ruled out with a knock so Zapata or Musacchio will start in his place. Donnarumma was at fault for Arsenal’s second goal (scored by Granit Xhaka) but will of course start when available.