Monthly Archive: August 2022

Notes On An Ineffective 0-0 At Sassuolo

A changed line up featured Kjaer, Pobega and Saelemaekers others as starters. The first chance fell to Leao’s leg after a counter but the Portuguese shot wide and high. He would miss again soon after.

Possession was all Milan in first 15 but Sassuolo got their first chance in the 20th minute. Giorgos Kyriakopoulos was brought down in the box sandwiched between Florenzi and Saelemaekers. It looked like a good penalty and VAR confirmed the same. Berardi’s penalty was saved well by Maignan. The keeper guessed right and stopped the ball.

The hosts grew in the game slightly but it was just as Milan were missing shots or not creating at all. The right side remained an obvious weakness. The decision making and execution were certainly missing as the half finished 0-0.

A well worked counter in early second showed promise but Diaz’s final ball/cross was too strong.

In the 57th minutes De Ketelaere came on for Diaz, Tonali for Pobega and Messias for Saelemaekers as the game was still a stalemate. Maignan almost hurt himself while jumping to catch a ball but was able to remain in the game.

With chances few and no end product and after Adli replaced Giroud and then Kalulu replaced Kjaer the game slowly moved to its end but a final drama awaited as Florenzi fell to the ground clutching his left hamstring. In the seven added minutes he was unable to continue and therefore Milan were playing with 10 men. It didn’t make a difference as an ineffective game ended 0-0.

Week 4: Sassuolo – Milan

The busy schedule, partly due to the November to December 2022 World Cup, necessitates this midweek game. Milan shut out Bologna 2-0 in a workman like performance that was neither impressive nor poor. De Ketelaere got his first start and impressed, the defence and in particular Kalulu did as well.

With little time between matches and the aforementioned schedule the starting 11 for this match at Sassuolo looks different. In addition to the required changes Krunic remains out and Origi and Rebic have knocks that will keep them out as well. It is hoped that the latter duo will be ready as early as this weekend, for the week 5 derby.

The 11 for this game features the season’s first starts for Kjaer, Florenzi, Saelemaekers and Pobega. This means Calabria, Kalulu, Tonali and Messias get a rest. Tomori, Theo, Bennacer, Leao and Giroud are the other starters. Diaz returns to the starting line up for an often tricky match vs Sassuolo. This is of course the team Milan beat in the final match of the season to clinch the 19th scudetto. Sassuolo are a much changed side with Gianluca Scamacca and Giacomo Raspadori among those that have left the team. Inter owned Andrea Pinamonti and Domenico Berardi lead the line for the Neroverdi.

There is always more about this match and others on the forums.

Malick Thiaw joins Milan

The U-21 FC Schalke 04 and German defender joins Milan on a 5 year contract. He will be one of the tallest players on the team and Serie A at 194cm.

The unconfirmed transfer fee is around €7 million (including bonuses) with a salary of just under €1 million.

Player Summary
Name:
Malick Thiaw
Date of Birth:
Aug 8, 2001
Age:
21
Height:
1.94 m
Citizenship:
Germany
Position:
Central Defender
Foot:
Right
Agency:
None
Ownership:
AC Milan
Contract Expires:
Jun 30, 2027
Current Club:
AC Milan
Joined:
Aug 29, 2022

Notes On A 2-0 Win Versus Bologna

Milan started with their not exactly appealing olive green third kit. On the pitch however there was more excitement as De Ketelaere got his first start in Diaz’s spot. Giroud started in Rebic’s spot as well.

The first few featured little more than passing and probing by both teams.

De Ketelaere assisted Leao to open the scoring. The Belgian won the ball just inside Bologna’s half then ran centrally and found Leao on the left. The Portuguese’s almost nonchalant shot somehow beat Lukasz Skorupski in Bologna’s goal. Meanwhile Kalulu was showcasing his prowess while Messias was disappointing on the other end.

Giroud came close to doubling Milan’s lead in the final minute of the first but his low shot after a scrambled play was just wide. Leao could have done the same following a counter but the goalkeeper easily blocked his shot.

The early minutes of the second changed little. The action was mostly farther away from the goals with few chances. The second goal came courtesy of a clearance mistake and Giroud’s acrobatics. The Bologna defender’s attempted clearance fell to Leao who shot towards the right of Bologna’s goal and his shot was diverted in by a jumping Giroud.

Perhaps looking forward to the midweek game and busy schedule coming up a triple sub followed the second goal. Pobega, Adli and Saelemaekers for CDK, Bennacer and Messias. Adli was therefore making his Milan debut.

In the 68th Bologna came close to scoring after an unorthodox looking freekick but the ball just missed the post.

Ballo Toure replaced Theo a bit later as the Frenchman was feeling the effects of a rough looking game. Gabbia replaced Tomori in the final minutes as well.

In the 85th minute Adli had a good chance when his close range jumping shot was denied by Skorupski.

Milan recorded the first shut out and seventh point of the season.

Week 3: Milan – Bologna

Week 2’s 1-1 tie at Atalanta was a let down compared to the bright and open 4-2 opening week win versus Udinese. After week one hopes had also grown for Diaz’s season but he was muted versus, an admittedly different, Atalanta. Bennacer’s curled shot gave Milan the solitary point in Bergamo but questions were asked again.

After starting the first two games Diaz is set to cede his spot and allow De Ketelaere to get his Milan starting debut. Rebic is also set for the bench to let Gioud start for the first time this Serie A season. Any changes are also a due the midweek game coming up and with the Champions League fixtures and dates set the team is going to be very busy between now and the World Cup break in November and December.

The attacking line will be complemented with Messias or perhaps Saelemaekers giving the Brazilian a rest. Leao, and his uncertain Milan future, will need to make more of an impact. Bennacer and Tonali are two available pivots with Krunic injured and neither Bakayoko or Pobega convincing options. There have been a few whispers, including by Pioli himself, to try Adli in a more withdrawn role but that is to be seen. Adli has yet to get any minutes.

The back four is somewhat stable with Calabria, Kalulu, Tomori and Theo forming a solid if not spectacular line so far this young season. Maignan is of course the goalkeeper for as long as he is healthy.

Mihajlovic’s men have only one point from the first two games with Marko Arnautovic the only player to have scored so far.

There is always more about this match and others on the forums.

2022-2023 Champions League Group Stage

The draw for the Champions League group stage took place earlier today In Istanbul, the site of the final next June.

Milan drew Chelsea, the team that finished third in the English Premier League last season. Red Bull Salzburg, the current Austrian champions and Dinamo Zagreb who are the current Croatian champions. All in all this is an easy group.

Other Italian teams’ draws were not as favourable with Inter having to face Bayern, Barcelona and Viktoria Plzen. Juventus grouped with PSG, Benfica and Maccabi Haifa and finally Napoli with Ajax, Liverpool and Rangers.

The group stage’s six matches are more condensed with the Qatar World Cup starting on November 21st:

Matchday 1: 6 September @ RB Salzburg 21:00CET
Matchday 2: 14 September vs Dinamo Zagreb 18:45CET
Matchday 3: 5 October @ Chelsea 21:00CET
Matchday 4: 11 October vs Chelsea 21:00CET
Matchday 5: 25 October @ Dinamo Zagreb 21:00CET
Matchday 6: 2 November vs RB Salzburg 21:00CET

The fixture list has been released and the above schedule is now updated. Milan start away at RB Salzburg and then host Dinamo Zagreb before the home and away games against Chelsea.

More on the 2022-2023 Champions League on the forums.

Notes On A Lazy Looking 1-1 Tie At Atalanta

Tonali made a return to the starting line up after missing week 1 with an injury. The rest of the 11 remained unchanged with Rebic up top, Diaz, Messias, Leao behind him.

Leao had an early half chance missing the net. This was a foreboding for the rest of the half as the team struggled to get shots on target or impose themselves against a physical Atalanta team. Messias missed the net on probably the half’s best chance.

The team looked static and unable to free up players centrally into Atalanta’s box. Leao, Theo and wing play was often poor and with no end product. It was in this manner that Atalanta managed to score and opened the scoring. Ruslan Malinovskyi found himself with lots of space at the top of Milan’s box, received Joakim Maehle’s simple cross and shot well to beat Maignan in goal.

A slight improvement opened the second but Diaz looked back to his ineffectiveness. Early on a studs foul on Leao could and should have involved VAR and possibly given a red to Berat Djimsiti but VAR was nowhere to be seen (or heard). De Ketelaere came on for Diaz alongside Giroud for Rebic for a few glimpses but little else. Saelemaekers and Orgig came on for Messias and Leao and soon after a Bennacer curled an innocent looking shot into the far corner to tie the game. The game looked lazy and tired with little pace or action. Origi could have given Milan the lead late but ran into traffic. A few missed targets, by both teams, later and the game ended with a somewhat tame tie.

Week 2: Atalanta – Milan

The season started well enough and lively looking, Milan did concede a very early goal off a corner but did not look fazed. Brahim looked to have gotten the message of competition from De Ketelaere (and possibly Adli) and was very involved with one goal and one assist. Rebic reminded fans of his potential when heathy. At the back Kalulu was a wall with Tomori despite the two goals conceded.

Tonali returns to action after missing week 1 with a preseason injury that for a moment looked worse. His welcome return relegates the not 100% fit Krunic to the bench while Milan’s summer window may or may add another midfielder for depth. Bennacer looked good in the season opener and will get the start in midfield. At the back the four plus Maignan starters are as settled as can be in football. Theo and new full time captain Calabria will start with the usual central defender pairing.

There are more options upfront this season. Brahim is likely to be rewarded for his fast start but De Ketelaere is ready to play and looked very good in the few minutes he did play last week. The right wing remains a mystery, while Messias has looked good the position remains a weak spot with some fans hoping for De Ketelaere, Brahim or even Origi claiming the spot. Officially Pioli is not saying anything but he may thinking of converting one to a right winger. Up front Rebic, Giroud and Origi can all claim to be ready. Rebic remains the favorite. Leao has the left win all to himself of course.

Atalanta started the season by beating Sampdoria away. Ademola Lookman is a new face on the team and he scored on his debut.

There is always more about this and all Milan matches on the forums.

Notes On A Season Opener 4-2 Win vs Udinese

2′ Udinese open the scoring via a corner, Rodrigo Becao heads in with Rebic and Leao defending the same space and missing the ball.

7′ Calabria attempts to shoot from close range but defender makes contact. A lengthy VAR check awards deems the contact strong enough with the defender’s trailing leg doing most of the damage a penalty to Milan. Theo converts the penalty.

15′ Good play by Diaz and good cross cross by Calabria find Rebic in a sea of defenders, the Croatian manages to shoot in and give Milan the lead.

25′ A cooling break, a first for the new season.

33′ Kalulu shines in central defense

45’+4 with the last action of the half a long Roberto Pereyra cross is met with Adam Masina’s head with only Messias close to attempt to cover.

It is 2-2 at the half.

47′ Diaz gives Milan the lead again with close range goal.

68′ Rebic scores again and Diaz has his second assist of the game. Good work in the build up by Messias as well.

71′ Charles De Ketelaere makes his Milan debut coming on for Diaz. Saelemaekers replaces Messias and Giroud comes on Rebic at the same time.

84′ Origi makes his Milan debut as well, coming on for Leao. Popbega comes on for Krunic at the same time.

Game ends 4-2 with pace not much action in the final minutes.

Season Opener: Milan – Udinese

Milan celebrated its 19th Scudetto and the summer started with a big dose of optimism and some questions with an, still in process, ownership change. As always there is lots to be said about how the summer has gone and there is still more than two weeks left in the transfer window but suffice to say not much has happened yet and a chunk of that optimism and celebration has gone.

The season starts with little questions about who will be on the pitch to defend the title. Origi, all but signed before last season concluded, returned to training very recently and is unlikely to be 100 percent. Adli, signed last season and loaned back to Bordeaux, has been one of the best in preseason but may not start. De Ketelaere, signed after one of the longest and almost surreal transfer sagas, will get his chance but it may not be week one either. This all means the starting 11 could be all familiar faces. Maignan in goal, Calabria, Kalulu, Tomori, and Theo at the back. Tonali sustained an injury in preseason and won’t be ready for another week or so. Krunic is likely to claim his spot and start with Bennacer. With Kessie gone the midfield options are Bakayoko and Pobega, for now. Messias, Diaz and Leao look to be starters behind Rebic, with Giroud starting on the bench. Diaz in particular, has more competition in the squad with Adli and De Ketelaere capable of claiming the attacking midfield place. Ibra is of course still out following knee surgery and is not expected to be back until January.

Udinese did not make big news this summer and lost Nahuel Molina Atletico Madrid as the only main departure. The team does have a new coach in Andrea Sottil. The Italian has a decade of Serie B and lower leagues coaching experience and was most recently in charge of Ascoli.

There is always more about this and all Milan matches on the forums.