Season Opener: Sampdoria – Milan
Another season is here. The 2021-2022 Serie A season kicks off with a Monday evening visit to the Luigi Ferraris to play against the team that finished ninth last season. Claudio Ranieri stepped aside at the end of last season and now Sampdoria are led by ex Parma coach Roberto D’Aversa. Milan finished second last season and now face a barrage of fixtures that includes Champions League football for the first time in seven years.
The summer transfer window has been a busy one with a relatively high amount spent but with more to do with just over a week left before it shuts. A couple of spots remain unconvincing or at least ‘un-upgraded’. The right wing is the most glaring weakness and it remains a source of criticism and weakness. Saelemaekers provides commitment and usefulness but Castillejo not so much. Whether the latter leaves and is replaced with a higher class player will go a long way in painting a better picture for the season. The central attacking spot is entrusted to Brahim Diaz and his number 10 jersey, for now. Giroud was added and will provide know how and experience and judging by his recent and preseason form perhaps even more. Leao should be the semi regular left wing starter but Rebic lurks and ready to get the nod. Kessie and Bennacer will continue to provide the solidity and talent on the pitch but both look to be missing for week 1. The former played for his country at the postponed Tokyo Olympics and got injured on upon his return, he is likely out another 2 or 3 weeks. The latter was stricken by COVID and has returned to the squad but is probably not fully fit. That leaves Tonali and … Krunic. Pobega is still in the squad, although likely leaving on loan. Nevertheless Krunic is the probable starter here. The back four is largely unchanged with Calabria, Kjaer, Tomori and Theo hoping to continue where the team left off last season. Florenzi’s recent signature provides a solid option for right back or perhaps a bit further up. Maignan was one of the fastest Milan signings in memory, arriving right after last season ended. The French international looks to help fans forget the Donnarumma saga.
Sampdoria’s squad has not changed much during the summer and will be led by the 38 years old Fabio Quagliarella. Mikkel Damsgaard’s stock rose during the Euros and the winger will be a danger man for Sampdoria’s opposition this season.
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