A relatively rested team beat last placed Crotone 4-0, the season’s biggest margin, last week. The team has now gotten another relative long rest and is healthier as well. Kjaer – sooner than expected – Bennacer and Tonali are back in the squad this week. The squad is therefore almost at full strength with Diaz the only player missing through injury. Calabria’s yellow on week 21 rules him out of this match as well.
Salary negotiations are dominating the news more than the injury situation which in itself is a positive but more on that later and in another article. One of the talking points of this week 22 match is who starts. As mentioned Kjaer has returned from his leg injury faster than predicted and it seems he will start. Whether that is wise ahead of the midweek match vs Red Star Belgrade and next week’s Milan derby is a good question. It seems that Pioli will start the Danish veteran and Tomori will return to the bench. Dalot will take Calabria’s place with Romagnoli and Theo starting on the left side of the back four. The prospect of Kessie and Bennacer starting together is indeed even better news. The two playing together has been almost a rare occurrence. Leao is more likely to start ahead of Rebic with Calhanoglu and Saelemaekers on his side. The latter has been underperforming and the need for a right wing signing is back on the minds of many. Ibra will start up front. The 39 year old shares an agent with Donnarumma and both – but especially Donnarumma – are subjects of ongoing contract chatter. Raiola, their so called super agent, is not winning any friends but that has always been the case. More on the task that faces management on salary negotiations soon.
M’Bala Nzola remains out for Spezia and his nine goals will be missed but the Liguria team have had mixed fortunes without their top scorer. Vincenzo Italiano will also miss other key players like Diego Farias. Tommaso Pobega, the Milan loanee, will likely start on the bench.
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