Nov 232019
 

The week 12 match at Juventus was a good performance, certainly by recent season standards it was a competitive encounter. Milan even had more shot on goal than the reigning champions. As the game went on a 0-0 tie was very possible, if not a win. Ultimately the game was lost because Juventus can count players of the quality of Douglas Costa and Paulo Dybala from the bench. The latter scored the winner and Milan lost again. In the end Milan went into the international break with an amount of optimism.

During the slow news days of the break most of the talk has concentrated on possible re-enforcements in January. Whether Elliott can spend or not is questionable but the need to generate revenue via Champions League participation remains crucial so a top 4 finish must remain the goal. Ibra may or may not return to Milan. A midfielder such as Luka Modric may too. Realism may ultimately win out and additions may be underwhelming. Time will tell.

Napoli are struggling as well. The players have had a disagreement with the president of the team over training and the team hasn’t won in over a month. Napoli sit in seventh place and need wins almost as much as Milan.

Bennacer and Calhanoglu will miss week 13 because of yellows they received at Juventus so the starting 11 will likely feature Biglia and Rebic or Bonventura. The rest of the 11 should remain the same with Suso and Piatek the other up from three. Piatek showed a few flashes at Juventus and needs to regain his touch quickly. He certainly claims to be ready for it. He was quoted as saying as much. Krunic and Paqueta may start again with Kessie continuing his exile on the bench. Conti and Hernandez look to continue being the full backs. The former actually had a surprisingly good game at Juventus. The middle of the defense will feature Romagnoli with Musacchio as Duarte is apparently carrying a small injury. The central defenders need to be more organized and close down the opposition better than they have done most of the recent weeks.

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 Posted by on November 23, 2019
Nov 102019
 
Milan Juventus

Amid the crisis and midtable position Milan visit Ronaldo and Juventus. Week 11 had a few bright spots but ultimately the loss to Lazio was a poor one and the only goal – which was credited as a Bastos own goal – was one of the very few useful touches by Piatek. The Polish striker was once again the lone center forward and was either isolated or unable to control the balls that came his way. Suso missed the week 11 match due to a knock and his replacement only lasted 35 minutes before leaving due to injury. Castillejo had looked bright and made energetic runs but Ciro Immobile opened the scoring for the visitors. The 2-1 loss was confirmed by a well finished Joaquin Correa shot. In both goals the defensive line was questionable and this included the disappointing Romagnoli and Donnarumma. The loss added more misery and questions and highlighted troubles in even more areas of the pitch.

Milan go into Turin without Kessie. The Ivorian is apparently excluded because of disciplinary issues during training. In any case the midfielder has underperformed and Krunic did better in his spot versus Lazio. Suso is set to return for this week 12 match but the 4-3-3 may be modified. The one centerforward and two wingers formation has failed more often than not and if the new 3-4-2-1 does the same, as it is likely, then Milan will continue having trouble getting Piatek involved and scoring. The three defenders will likely include Rodriguez as a left sided central defender. Closing the attacks in a more organized way is as important as any other versus Juventus. if the formation does change Theo Hernandez and Conti will be de facto wings backs with Krunic and Bennacer down the middle.

There has been talk of experienced transfers in the January transfer window and Ibra’s name has been mentioned. Getting the Swede will represent a change in Elliott’s plans for the team and certainly add a big focal point on the pitch. What such a transfer does to Piatek’s future is unknown. Boban and Maldini claim to want to return to winning ways sooner rather than later and if they manage it within UEFA’s restrictions they will add to their legend. All this while the stadium saga takes some turns and twists and it is far from clear when (and where) the Milan teams can start the new and much needed investment.

Ronaldo was questionable for this week 12 match but has made the Juventus squad and looks to play up front with Higuain.

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 Posted by on November 10, 2019
Nov 032019
 

The first win of Pioli’s era arrived versus SPAL. The coach had mostly resisted adjusting the criticized formation of the previous games but did leave Suso on the bench. For much of the game Milan retained control but barely threatened SPAL’s goal. The overall impression was one of nervousness and hesitancy. This could be seen very clearly in Paqueta’s performance. The Brazilian looks to have regressed and kept missing shots on goal and shooting well off ala Kessie. The so called Castillejo experiment ended early in the second and Suso returned to the pitch. His chance to save the game arrived, Piatek was fouled near the box and the Spaniard converted the freekick in excellent fashion. Milan hung on to win 1-0 without convincing many.

The game versus Lazio comes only three days after the aforementioned win. There is little time to gear up for the stronger opposition but with games against Juventus and Napoli coming up this might be the best chance to get three points before November ends. The CL qualification objective is a still a far off hope but it is all Milan has to play for.

The game winning goal might have earned Suso a few more (mostly undeserved) starts but he may miss this game due to a knock. Castillejo is set to get another if his compatriot is not ready. The midfield might look slightly differently as well with Krunic a possible beneficiary. Right back has become an urgent problem with both Calabria and Conti struggling, so much so that Borini’s name has been whispered again. In all cases a 4-3-3 seems a wrong formation but major deviations from it remain unlikely. Only Pioli can answer why the 4-3-3 keeps surviving despite evidence it is not suited form-wise and leaves the lone center forward isolated.

Follow the match as it happens, on the forum.

 Posted by on November 3, 2019
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