Week 19: Empoli – Milan

Starting Lineup: 4-2-3-1
16
Maignan
25
Florenzi
23
Tomori
13
Romagnoli
19
Hernandez
8
Tonali
79
Kessié
30
Messias
10
Díaz
33
Krunić
9
Giroud
Substitutes

Injury and VAR controversy can now be compared to death and taxes. Inevitable. Milan played poorly versus Napoli and lost by one goal from an early set piece defensive lapse. Late in the game the referees did their part to overshadow the poor play by coming up with a bizarre offside call. Kessie had taken advantage of a panicked defensive scramble and beaten David Ospina but the referee consulted the pitch side monitor and decided that Giroud was offside. The French forward had fallen on the ground behind Juan Jesus and to call him active or influencing the play was absurd and another strike against refereeing.

On the injury front Ibra is yet another addition to the list. His knee is troubling him and he will miss this Empoli game. Leao, Rebic, Calabria, Pellegri and Kjaer remain missing. The calendar year is ending with Milan in danger of losing their once safe top four spot. At least Theo should be back. He, alongside Romagnoli, Tomori and Florenzi, will play in front of Maignan. Choosing two of Kessie, Tonali and Bennacer is probably the only spots that Pioli and the team have a not easy decision to make. Although the three behind the center forward do provide some choice as well. Will it be Messias or Saelemaekers. Will it be Krunic or Diaz or both. Giroud is the only option to play up front.

The last game of the calendar year is also the midpoint of the season. Soon the winter transfer window will open and as usual the team needs help but probably will be limited in options. Help to cover Kjaer, the long term absentee, looks to be first on the agenda.

A young Empoli team led by Inter owned Andrea Pinamonti, Samuele Ricci and the familiar Patrick Cutrone are one of the hottest Serie A teams and haven’t lost in over a month.

Follow the match as it happens, on the forum.

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