Week 18: Milan – Napoli

Starting Lineup: 4-2-3-1
16
Maignan
25
Florenzi
23
Tomori
13
Romagnoli
5
Ballo-Touré
79
Kessié
8
Tonali
30
Messias
10
Díaz
33
Krunić
11
Ibrahimović
Substitutes

Milan have managed to hang around the top of the table both in the standings and in terms of goals scored. Considering the number of injuries and matches missed by basically every team member this is an achievement in itself and Pioli deserves a great deal of credit. Milan Lab however needs to be questioned more. The busy schedule has certainly not helped either. Now Milan got a rare eight days between matches – since the 1-1 tie at Udinese – and will face a Napoli team that have fallen to fourth place after a blistering and undefeated start. Luciano Spalletti’s men have now only won one Serie A match since Halloween and have reached the end of the year with an almost as bad injury situation as Milan. Napoli are likely to be without all of Mario Rui, Lorenzo Insigne, Fabian Ruiz, Victor Osimhen and Kalidou Koulibaly. Milan meanwhile remain without Rebic, Leao, Kjaer, Calabria and Pellegri. Hernandez and Romagnoli are not 100% and may miss the game while battling the flu.

As has been the case it is difficult to pick a starting 11 as injuries have come regularly. Giroud returns to ease the pressure on Ibra but the French striker will almost certainly start on the bench. Three of Messias, Diaz, Krunic, Saelemaekers and possibly Castillejo will start behind the certainly exhausted 40 years old Ibra. Kessie and Tonali are the best candidates for the midfield pivot two. Bakayoko and Bennacer have struggled when getting minutes. Florenzi will start in Calabria’s spot and if Hernandez is still ill Ballo-Toure is likely to get the nod. Romagnoli and Tomori will be the center backs unless the former is not fully ready. Maignan will of course be the goalkeeper.

Empoli comes next in midweek but Milan’s fixture list will be lighter in the new year. The fast spreading Omicron variant is affecting many sports leagues around the world, most notably England, and if the situation worsens it is anybody’s guess if the schedule will remain as is.

Follow the match as it happens, on the forum.

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