Milan have surpassed expectations and despite a long absentee list have won games and gained crucial points. The team made relative easy work of fashionable Venezia and in the process kept up with cross city rivals. Captaincy has sparked Theo Hernandez and he along with Leao have formed an ever impressive left side for Milan. The right side is at best questionable but first due to Kjaer’s long term absence and more recently yet another injured player the transfer window focus has shifted to central defense. Tomori returned from COVID isolation and given the start against Genoa in Coppa Italia action. The idea proved as dangerous as some expected and he injured his left knee. It is hoped his absence will last ‘only’ 30 days. Romagnoli is not yet back from the isolation list and the team has no choice but to revert to the Kalulu and Gabbia set up. The two have looked in 2022 but it is hoped a proven defender will arrive as early as next week.
Calabria – along with Tatarusanu – has returned to action but the Tomori lesson may let Florenzi get the start versus Spezia. Keeping in my mind that a very important match against Juve is coming up next. With Bennacer and Kessie away – though the former may return sooner than any body predicted – in Africa Cup of Nations duty it falls to Bakayoko and Krunic to man the midfield. Tonali is suspended for this one having received a yellow at Venezia. The front will consist of Diaz, Leao, Ibra and possibly Saelemaekers. Maldini got the Coppa Italia start midweek and was not exactly convincing. Not that Diaz has fared that much better and on the right Saelemaekers has struggled as well. Messias could be in the starting 11 as a result.
It is not surprising that Spezia are a healthier team. The Ligurian team have shown signs of improvement and beat Napoli at the end of December.
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