Monthly Archive: February 2019

Week 25: Milan – Empoli

Week 24 was all about opportunism and form. Three shots on target got Milan three goals. The form and skills of Piatek earned him two of those. The Polish striker got his and Milan’s first at the very end of the first half with the team trailing 0-1 to Remo Freuler’s good finish. Rodriguez’s cross was side legged into the far corner ala Ibra. The new striker’s second – after a much needed Calhanoglu hard and long shot goal – was a header from a corner. The latter two goals were of the rare variety firstly because Calhanoglu’s near abysmal form has produced very little of note and Milan had forgotten how to score from a corner. It was the first headed goal from set piece this season!

Being mostly outplayed, especially in the first half, but getting three points away at Atalanta has lifted the mood of the team considerably and there is much talk of growth and confidence. Empoli, a lowly team, will test the new found optimism as best as they can and Milan will need all the points possible to remain in the top 4.

Suso got a yellow and has accumulated enough to be suspended for week 25. It is thought that Castillejo will fill at right wing. With a Coppa semifinal at Lazio four days away and Sassuolo traveling to Milan next weekend some rest and change is probably in order, and on that note, late in the week news emerged that Conti is due for a start in Calabria’s spot. The other nine players are expected to be the same as the Atalanta week 24 3-1 win.

Empoli feature Francesco Caputo, the scorer of 11 2018-2019 goals. Luca Antonelli, the former Milan left back, is out injured. They have yet to win away this season.

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Krzysztof Piątek

Name: Krzysztof Piątek
Number: 19
Birthplace: Dzierżoniów, Poland
Position: Center Forward
Nickname: Pistolero
Date of birth: July 1st 1995
Contract: Signed January 23rd 2019, till June 30th 2023. Transfer fee paid to Genoa 35 million Euros. Salary approximately 2 million Euros per season.

Needed 310 minutes to score 6 goals (4 in Serie A and 2 in Coppa Italia) to start his Milan career, fastest ever start in Milan’s history. Beating Nordahl, Balotelli, Ostromann and Bierhoff.

Week 24: Atalanta – Milan

Milan retained the 4th spot in the Serie A table after a relatively comfortable 3-0 win vs Cagliari. The week 23 match up had gotten into gear courtesy of an own goal by Cagliari’s Luca Ceppitelli. The two January newcomers, Paqueta and Piatek, scored the other two goals later in the game. The Brazilian scored his first Milan goal and continues to get deserved starts. The Polish striker has now started his Milan career by scoring 4 in 4 matches.

A game at Bergamo is a home coming of sorts for Conti and Kessie. The former, however is unlikely to get a start with Calabria somewhat secure in the right back role. Milan feature two other ex Atalanta players in Caldara and Bonaventura but both are absent through injury with only Caldara close to a return.

Every game continues to be very important because clinching the last Champions League spot is important, if not crucial. Paolo Scaroni has claimed that participation in next season’s Champions League is not a must but the season after that and later it becomes a requirement.

The lineup is expected to be stable with all of Donnarumma, Calabria, Musacchio, Romagnoli and Rodriguez starting at the back with Kessie, Bakayoko, Paqueta behind Suso, Piatek and Calhanoglu. The injury list has eased with Biglia back on the bench and others including Caldara and Zapata close to returning. Strinic and Reina should be available very soon too.

Atalanta have only lost twice in the last 11 matches they have played, with a relatively healthy squad sit a single point behind Milan and are very much in the running for European places and in the Coppa semifinals too.

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Week 23: Milan – Cagliari

Milan scraped a 1-1 draw at crisis team Roma on week 22. Having taken the lead courtesy of Piatek the team lost the advantage right the break with Nicolo Zaniolo finishing well. Milan struggled most of the second half and came off with some questions regarding the form of Suso and Calhanoglu, the latter still supported by his coach all the while evidence pointing to struggles. Gattuso further made his point in the lead up to this week 23 match at the San Siro. He claims that no player is given a free ride and those starting are doing the job and those not – perhaps most notably Conti – need to show more and be given more time.

Biglia is back from injury and will start on the bench. Bakayoko’s recent form entitles him to another start and Paqueta has done enough to remain a starter. Kessie, on the other hand, keeps getting start despite many questions, particularly in the attacking and counter attacking phase. The back four is more or less certain with Calabria, Musacchio, Romagnoli and Rodriguez in front of the Roma match star Donnarumma. Zapata is still on the injured list and will likely need another week or two. The front three is very predictable as well with Suso, Piatek and Calhanoglu now preferred in almost every game.

The fight for the final Champions League spot is definitely on with Roma, Lazio the prime opponents, the table is tight and the remaining matches will see many shifts in the standings.

Cagliari sit in 15th spot and carry a relatively long injury list with the likes of Valter Birsa and Cyril Thereau out of action, they are however led by Leonardo Pavoletti and Joao Pedro.

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Week 22: Roma – Milan

The January transfer window ended with money spent bringing in Piatek from Genoa. The Polish striker was to replace Higuian. Of course Paqueta had arrived much earlier. However the search for other positions – in particular a natural left winger – failed. The team is handcuffed by UEFA’s financial fair play and this made players like Yannick Carrasco out of reach. Minus Higuain’s departure to Chelsea – his loan from Juve was dissolved and he was loaned to Chelsea – there was only one outgoing transfer when Halilovic left on an 18 month loan to Standard Liege. More departures were rumoured but the likes of Borini, Calhanoglu, Montolivo and Bertolacci will remain, at least until the summer.

It is of course up to the existing and two new comers to make the push for fourth spot and Champions League football. Piatek did his part in great style by scoring two Coppa goals versus Napoli on his starting debut. Days after tying Napoli 0-0 in the league the team moved on to the Coppa Italia semi finals and a meeting with Lazio. The Coppa win came after recovering some league form in beating Genoa 2-0 but losing to Juventus in the Supercoppa. In part due to others’ poor form Milan still sits in 4th spot so the fight for the final Champions League spot is very much alive.

Piatek is expected to retain his center forward spot with Cutrone on the bench. Suso returns to the front three that continues to feature Calhanoglu. Midfield will feature the much improved Bakayoko with the impressive Paqueta but the disappointing Kessie is not expected to be dropped. Calabria and Rodriguez have shown good form and so have Romagnoli and Musacchio. The defensive line including Donnarumma have been in good form and deserve credit for keeping six clean sheets since mid December.

Roma are days away from losing 7-1 to Fiorentina in the Coppa and are amidst their own crisis. Eusebio Di Francesco is in danger of losing his job if Milan win. The team are also missing Nzonzi and Cristante due to suspension and will be short in midfield.

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