Monthly Archive: February 2023

Week 24: Milan – Atalanta

Milan – Atalanta February 26 2023 20:45CET

Milan have returned to winning ways, narrow 1-0 wins and not the most impressive but the shut outs have been encouraging. Even Tatarusanu has shown improved form. Now the injury numbers are easing with most notably Maignan back in the squad and getting the start.

The back three remains with hopes of another shut out. Kalulu, Thiaw, Tomori is youthful and with somewhat different characteristics. It is hoped that they will keep up the recent form. In the middle problems remain as always. Messias is getting the start representing more of a goal scoring threat than Saelemaekers. Bennacer’s continued absence mean Pioli will keep his trust in Krunic besides Tonali and Theo. Up front hold little surprise again with Diaz, Leao with Giroud representing the best Milan can offer for now. None of the three are in sparkling form and Leao’s much needed contract extensions remains in limbo but Pioli has little else to work with. Ibra is an option off the bench however.

Atalanta sit three points behind Milan and with Napoli’s run away form only the top four spots are very much up for grabs in a tight race. The visitors are missing Hans Hateboer, Duvan Zapata and Mario Pasalic and have Merih Demiral suspended.

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

Week 23: Monza – Milan

Monza – Milan February 18 2023 18:00CET

Milan face Berlusconi and Galliani’s Monza with hopes slightly raised. Two 1-0 versus Torino and Tottenham with three at the back has the team looking at being solid again. The very poor 2023 form could be left behind but Monza are defeated in Serie A in this calendar year and are surprisingly middle of the table.

The injury situation is heading in a positive direction with Tomori back and a possible back three starter. Maignan and Bennacer are still missed as are Calabria and Florenzi. Messias and Giroud could provide relief and rest for Saelemaekers and Giroud otherwise the team is somewhat predictable.

Monza feature familiar names on the pitch as well with Matteo Pessina and Andrea Petagna on loan from Atalanta and Napoli respectively plus the likes of Stefano Sensi there as well.

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

Champions League Round Of 16: Milan – Tottenham

Milan – Tottenham February 14 2023 21:00CET

Milan halted or perhaps paused the crisis level form of 2023 with a 1-0 win versus Torino. Concerns remain and weeks and months old questions about the state of the team are still valid. For now however, the team is back in the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time in nearly a decade. Tottenham are the opponents with the first leg at the San Siro.

The injury situation is somewhat alleviated with Tomori back in the squad but Ibra is not registered for the Champions League squad even though he is nearing a return to the pitch. Florenzi, Bennacer and Maignan remain out. The expected lineup will again feature a back three as in the Torino match. Thiaw, Tomori and Kalulu are set to be the starters. Facing Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min their shape and form will go a long way in deciding this tie. In the middle it looks like Saelemaekers will start with Krunic, Tonali and Theo to his left. Tottenham will miss Rodrigo Bentancur through long term injury and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to suspension. Therefore the battle for the middle has both teams missing important players. Upfront Milan will continue to rely on Giroud with Leao and likely Diaz as the support in a predicted 3-4-2-1. The two teams share another commonality as Hugo Lloris is out of action for the visitors and this tie has been dubbed as the battle of the number 2s with Tatarusanu facing another veteran in Fraser Forster.

Both teams sit in 5th place in the Serie A and English Premier League with Tottenham suffering a poor 4-1 loss at Leicester on Friday.

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

Week 22: Milan – Torino

Milan – Torino February 10 2023 20:45CET

Milan limited the damage in the derby against Inter. A questionable lineup that somewhat replicated Simone Inzaghi’s 3-5-2 and featured Kalulu, Kjaer and Gabbia at the back with Theo and Calabria as wingbacks was surprising if not unexpected. The most controversial feature of the lineup was leaving Leao on the bench with Origi and Giroud up front. The latter two’s form has been poor or purely non existent and Giroud was guilty of missing a very easy pass when Leao, on the pitch for the second half, found him very open inside Inter’s box. A very poor first half was followed by a marginally better second but the 1-0 loss further dented Milan’s season.

The good news for this week 22 match is that Ibra is back in the squad. However, the news on Maignan is bad again. His return has been postponed yet again. Tatarusanu does not inspire confidence and is often a liability. The starting line up could feature three at the back again perhaps with Thiaw starting in Gabbia’s place and with some minor changes up front. Diaz could get the start with the Messias in midfield experiment shelved. Leao, whose contract extension seems more out of reach now, will surely get the start. Milan are now out of the top 4 and any more set back and Champions League place could be in danger. Losing out of European revenue will be devastating to the team and will add pressure to the so far disappointing RedBird ownership and indeed the team’s management of Maldini and Massara.

Torino’s injury list is not a short one either with Pietro Pellegri among the missing. Nevertheless Ivan Juric’s team are in good shape, in seventh place and only one place (-8 points) behind Milan in the table.

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

Week 21: Inter – Milan

Inter – Milan February 5 2023 20:45CET

The new calendar year has gone south. Milan are in full crisis allowing goals by the bucket and looking like a dysfunctional team. Lowly Sassuolo were the latest team to highlight this abysmal post World Cup slump. Allowing five goals at home wrote another unwanted chapter in Milan’s history with many questioning every member of Milan family from management to players. Pioli’s insistence on a formation that is failing badly has been the focus but management’s public unwillingness to do anything in the January transfer window and the players themselves are of course all to blame as well.

Inter and others near the top of the table are not exactly flying high but of course Milan have dropped from their long held second place position in the Serie A table. Napoli seem to be running away with the title but Milan can still recover and hold one of the top four places. This needs to start with response and statement in this week 21 derby.

There have been rumblings that Pioli will try a new formation, whether it be 433 or 352 there has to be an effort to solidify the midfield. The usual lineup predictors at Sky and Gazzetta provide different versions of the is possibility with the latter claiming that both Messias and Saelemaekers will start. This possibility will make Milan’s right side look poor and will surely not come to pass. The back four have looked much worse than recent times and need to be more compact and aware of their positioning to return to the days they were praised for holding the fort and providing highlight recoveries. Having Tatarusanu as the goalkeeper is probably not the best confidence boost for any one and it is a mystery as to why Pioli does not even entertain the idea of using Mirante or even new signing Vasquez. Maignan’s return from injury, hoped for later in February, is very anticipated. Ibra trained with the team for the fist time in a long while but his return date is not known. Other absences include Tomori and Bennacer. It will be left to all healthy players to provide a show of strength in this derby.

Unsurprisingly Inter’s injury list is much shorter than Milan’s. They now sit in second place, 13 points behind Napoli (before week 21 matches).

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