Europa League Matchday 4: Lille – Milan
Earlier in the month, on Europa League’s matchday 3, Lille inflicted Milan’s first loss since the COVID lock down was lifted in the Spring. The match was to be test against a different type of opposition and its postmortem was to be a test of strength, especially mentally. Milan failed that test but have since tied Verona and after the international break beat Napoli with a solid performance. Optimism remains high but dangers lay ahead.
Pioli and Murelli remain at home and are self isolating while a briefly healthy squad is again carrying injuries. Leao was injured on international duty and missed the Napoli match while Ibra and Saelemaekers picked up injuries in Naples. With three attacking pieces on the sidelines for at least another 10 days or more Bonera, the stand in coach, will have to do improvise with backups.
The greatest concern is that Castillejo remains the only realistic option on the right wing. The Spaniard remains unconvincing but will likely play unless one of Hauge or Diaz can play on the right. A change of formation is unlikely therefore at this point a Hauge, Diaz and Castillejo attacking trio behind Rebic is the possible lineup to face Lille. Of course Calhanoglu may start and forego rest and Colombo may be given a chance up front. Tonali should allow one of Bennacer or Kessie to take a respite.
Romagnoli’s form has raised some concerns and since he is apparently not 100% fit he may be given a day off. On the other hand Kjaer has been in exceptional form but needs a rest. Gabbia could therefore get a start with Duarte and Musacchio probably starting on the bench for the foreseeable future. Dalot and Conti may allow Calabria and Hernandez to get some rest however the latter may also go forego a rest.
As evidence showed three weeks ago the French team should not be taken lightly and as Lille are still flying high in Ligue 1 – standing two points behind PSG and first place – the game presents another test. Lille have a few injury concerns of their own as they will be missing Renato Sanches and Zeki Celik. The former had a starring performance on matchday 3.
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