Week 19: Empoli – Milan
Milan’s injury crisis continues to handicap the team. January 2024 brings added pressure to the squad options with Chukwueze and Bennacer off to play for their national teams – Nigeria and Algeria respectively – at the Africa Cup Of Nations. Pioli’s (lack of) tactics continue to be a source of problems and criticism with word that the most he will last is until the summer.
In the meanwhile the 2024 January transfer market has opened. Gabbia was immediately recalled from Villarreal loan to cover for missing bodies at the back. Verona’s versatile 20 year old Filippo Terracciano is on the verge of joining as well for around €5 million. The back four will likely remain as it was in last week’s narrow 1-0 win over Sassuolo. Maignan in goal with Calabria, Kjaer, Theo and Florenzi in front of him. Bennacer’s aforementioned absence will give Adli a chance to play with Reijnders and Loftus-Cheek with Pulisic, Giroud and Leao starting up front. Jovic’s five goals in last seven games is not likely to earn him a starting spot ahead of Giroud, to the ire of some.
Milan are hanging on to third spot but any further dip in form will only accelerate Pioli’s exit. Playing 19th placed Empoli is not a guarantee of full points as any Milan observer can testify. Aurelio Andreazzoli’s men have not won since mid November. The coach is once again in charge of Empoli with the very familiar Mattia Destro at his disposal.
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