The 27 match league unbeaten streak dating back to Spring 2020 is over. An injury and COVID-19 affected team couldn’t contain Federico Chiesa and Juventus and succumbed 3-1. The make shift team included Calabria as a midfielder fought well at times but Juventus were too good and took advantage of some questionable defending as well. The referee’s influence was apparent of course and both teams’ fans had a lot to say about calls and non-calls.
How the team rebounds will give further indications on the state of team that surprised and surpassed all expectations in 2020. The injury issue is still very much in effect. Although Ibra is back in the squad it is perhaps not wise to count on him for this week 17 match. Calhanoglu developed an ankle problem after the Juve match and while he is also in the squad his status is not certain in the hours leading up to the match. The rest of the absentees are either few days or in Gabbia’s case weeks away.
Donnarumma, Calabria, Kjaer, Romagnoli and Theo will be starters of course. The latter two were caught out by Chiesa, Paulo Dybala and Juve and need to get back to form. Tonali returns from his one game suspension and allows Calabria to move back to his usual spot. Kessie will partner the young Italian. Diaz, Hauge, Castillejo will start behind Leao. If Calhanoglu is somehow ready he will be in this spot. The Turkish international had good moments versus Juventus drifting left and exchanging positions with Hauge. The Norwegian hasn’t shone whenever he has gotten minutes in recent weeks but like most young players new to Serie A that is not unexpected. Leao had a good week 16 first half but faded in the second.
This will be Marco Giampaolo’s first meeting with Milan since his departure in the fall of 2019. His team is relatively healthy and while Torino remain relegation threatened (17th and only three points ahead of 20th placed Crotone) they haven’t lost in their last four Serie A games (1 win, 3 times).
The two teams will meet again in three days for the Coppa Italia round of 16 matchup.
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