Week 27: Milan – Napoli
Following the poor showing in the derby and the two games versus Red Star the team responded well to beat Roma, it proved a false dawn of sorts as the team disappointed versus Udinese. Expectations fell but Milan did well to beat Verona and kept it up to tie Manchester United in another VARce (new fully deserved term to describe video assistant refereeing) of a game.
The injury crisis eased earlier in the year but plunged into the deep end into February and March. Calhanoglu, Hernandez and Rebic should be back for this match and perhaps Bennacer, Ibra and Mandzukic could return within the next week or two as well. Romagnoli missed the Europa League game at Manchester and seems to be nursing a bruised leg, he could be back shortly too. A healthy team, if it indeed ever occurs, can finish the season strong and secure the much needed top 4 spot.
For now though important players are missing and Napoli have their own missing players too in Andrea Petagna, Hirving Lozano, Kostas Manolas and Faouzi Ghoulam.
Due to aforementioned absentees Pioli has had to resort to Leao playing as the lone center forward. The oft rightly criticized won the corner that led to Kjaer’s last minute headed goal in Manchester but barring few minutes of good movement has done little in recent weeks. Behind the Portuguese Krunic and Calhanoglu will likely line up with Castillejo. Saelemaekers showed signs of getting back to form however and could start in place of the latter. Meite is another player looking to be improving but may return to the bench to accommodate Tonali. Partnering Tonali will be the player who has fully earned the ‘President’ nickname. Kessie has been an ever present world class midfielder for most the past year and a half. Tomori and Kjaer will start as central defenders with Hernandez on the left and possibly Dalot on the right. Calabria is another not able to take part and although Kalulu seems the more logical choice Dalot is the likelier to be on the team sheet. Donnarumma will add to his number of appearances with another start.
Latest prematch news from Sky is that Kjaer also needs to sit this one out, he will be replaced by Gabbia if needed.
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