Author: Reza

Champions League Matchday 5 Dinamo Zagreb vs Milan

Dinamo Zagreb vs Milan October 25 2022 21:00CET

Milan have climbed to second spot in the 2022-2023 Serie A standings. Wins versus Verona and Monza in a relatively easy stretch of games have allowed Milan the chance to accumulate points. The Champions League fate so far has been somewhat different. Losing twice to Chelsea home and away has meant Milan dropping to third spot in Group E. Beating Dinamo Zagreb away will be needed and crucial in preserving the chance for the Champions League knockout rounds.

Milan travel to Croatia with a whole set on injuries. The long term absences include Calabria, Florenzi, Ibra and Saelemaekers. Maignan was close to a return but a new injury put him on the long term list too. Added to this is Dest who is set to miss this game after a knock versus Monza during the weekend. Diaz is not 100% either but is reportedly travelling with the team.

Tatarusanu will have to continue in goal. Kalulu, Gabbia, Kjaer and Theo will have to start at the back with Tomori suspended with the controversial red versus Chelsea. Bennacer, Tonali and Krunic seem the likely midfielders with Leao, Giroud and either of Rebic or Messias up front. Leao got some much needed rest versus Monza but came on as a substitute and scared many with a wince and delighted many more with another goal.

Dinamo Zagreb continue to lead the way in Croatia and are still undefeated in the HNL. The weekend featured the fierce Hajduk Split rivalry that ended with a 1-1 tie. Bruno Petkovic scored for Zagreb from a penalty.

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Notes On A 4-1 Win Versus Galliani’s Monza

Milan 4-1 Monza
Diaz 16’ 41’ Origi 65’ Leao 84’ ~ F.Ranocchia 70’

Starting 11: Tatarusanu; Dest, Kjaer, Tomori, Theo; Bennacer, Pobega; Messias, Diaz, Rebic; Origi

It was Berlusconi and Galliani’s first encounter with Milan as owner and CEO of Monza, the CEO was in the stands along with others like Capello.

It was a changed team partially influenced by the very heavy schedule facing the team leading up to the Qatar World Cup. Kjaer was back to the starting 11 and Origi got his first Milan start. Rebic, Pobega, Dest also started with Tonali, Giroud and Leao on the bench for badly needed rest. Bennacer had a fever late in the week but had recovered to start. De Ketelaere had returned to the bench as well.

It was a relatively quiet first few minutes until Diaz received a Tatarusanu clearance and ran almost half the pitch and while falling had the strength and awareness to shoot the ball in. Monza woke up and gained some of the possession. Stefano Sensi tested Tatarusanu with a long shot in one of the better chances. Minutes later Tatarusanu made a good reflex save from Monza header. Origi with some good footwork shot just wide in the 33rd minute but it was Monza that had reacted better to the Milan goal.

Diaz doubled Milan’s lead. Origi had been roaming on the right, he beat the defender and crossed to Diaz. The Spanish turned and beat Michele Di Gregorio.

The half time score was therefore 2-0.

The second started with Kalulu replacing Dest. An early Rebic chance was saved. In yet more muscle injuries Diaz was forced off and replaced by De Ketelaere. Leao and Gabbia replaced Rebic and Kjaer too. Origi was showing a few glimpses of promise and he scored a screamer. Messias dribbled and got the ball to him and the Belgian shot empathically.

The shut out was broken when Filippo Ranocchia beat Tatarusanu directly from a very well taken free kick. Leao added to the score from a typical Theo assist soon after Vranckx had provided relief for Origi. Milan had further chances – notably a De Ketelaere miss kick – and Monza threatened on another two occasions.

The game ended with a much needed big score of 4-1.

Week 11: Milan – Monza

Milan vs Monza October 22 2022 18:00CET

Milan struggled to get three points in Verona. Tonali heroics and some luck and hard work (late Thiaw cameo included) helped Milan escape the Marcantonio Bentegodi with full points.

A week without Champions League football was hoped to help some of the injured and provide more rest for all. Some positive news on the injury front has arrived with Kjaer back in the squad and De Ketelaere almost there but Wednesday brought fears that Maignan, said to be almost ready too, has suffered a calf injury. If initial reports hold true the French goalkeeper might miss several more weeks. His spot in France’s World Cup squad could be at risk too.

Tatarusanu, not the most convincing, but doing reasonably well might have to do for a while longer. Kalulu, Gabbia, Tomori and Theo have little relief except Kjaer and the aforementioned Thiaw. Bennacer and Tonali will get the start barring rest or injury requirements. Adli started versus Verona and showed a few glimpses but the Frenchman’s absence so far in the season has been puzzling many commentators and fans. Krunic, Vranxcks and Pobega are available for the middle of the pitch.

Messias, Diaz and Leao will start in the attacking positions but Leao needs rest. Hosting Monza may be the best time for it. Giroud is another that is being overused and in need of rest. Rebic or Origi can deputize. The former has done well in recent substitute appearances.

Monza are of course owned by Silvio Berlusconi and ran by Adriano Galliani. The latter is sure to be in the stands and the self confessed forever Milan fan may be conflicted, at least somewhat. The biancorossi have won three of their last four since replacing Giovanni Stroppa with Raffaele Palladino as their coach.

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Notes On A Struggle For Three Points

Verona 1-2 Milan
Gabbia OG 19’ ~ Veloso OG 9′ Tonali 81′

Perhaps mildly surprising but Adli got his long awaited start for Milan. Krunic and Tonali did as well.

The hosts had a good portion of the ball very early on but a mistake near the middle of the pitch led to Milan opening the scoring. Leao received the ball and his cross. The ball went in off of Miguel Veloso, the Portuguese veteran. Soon after Giroud had one of his worst of his recent misses when he just missed the net one on one with Lorenzo Montipo in Verona’s goal.

Another own goal arrived, this time Koray Gunter’s shot on goal was deviated in by Gabbia. The rest of the first was mostly quiet apart from when Kalulu fell in the Verona box and Verona had a decent chance late.

Rebic and Origi for Diaz and Giroud were the two changes at half time.

With Kalalu way up the pitch and losing the ball Verona had an early counter that ended with a shot just wide. Rebic then had a chance when put through from a Theo pass. The pace had picked up. Substitute Roberto Piccoli nearly gave the hosts the lead but his header hit the crossbar. Gabbia’s marking was near to non existent.

With half hour to go Bennacer and Pobega replaced Adli and Krunic. A flurry of action at the 75th minute had Rebic getting close but otherwise the game was devoid of real quality. A somewhat innocent looking action ended with a Rebic cross/pass to Tonali who was almost alone in front of the Verona goal and he finished easily enough. Thiaw replaced Leao to close the game. Verona’s late push, including several more corners, came to nothing.

It was a bigger struggle for three points than it needed to be.

Week 10: Verona – Milan

Verona vs Milan October 16 2022 20:45CET

The attempt to recover from the European loss to Chelsea was soon doomed. The already injury handicapped team had its chance to reverse the 3-0 home loss to Chelsea severely dented when Tomori was sent off in London. The decision to give a penalty was highly questionable and to add a red ‘in accordance to rules’ made it even worse. The game ended in a 2-0 loss and left Milan third in the Champions League group. It is not all finished though as meetings with Salzburg and Zagreb still provide a good chance to advance into the Champions League knockout rounds.

The league form contrasts with the European form as Juventus were beaten last weekend. A relatively easy stretch leading up to the Qatar World Cup is a good chance to be in good standing when Serie A restarts with the new calendar year. After Verona there are meetings with Monza, Torino, Spezia, Cremonese and Fiorentina.

Milan travels to Verona still hampered in the injury department. Maignan, Kjaer, De Ketelaere are out short term in addition to Calabria, Saelemaekers, Florenzi and Ibra who are out longer. Tatarusanu will start in goal and with practically the only defensive options available there is little choice but to play Kalulu, Gabbia, Tomori and Theo. All three of Krunic, Bennacer and Tonali should also start in the new pseudo 4-3-3. Leao, Giroud and Diaz are most likely forward starters with a small chance to see Messias. Adli, Rebic, Origi remain available and should surely be used more often.

Verona’s injury situation is less problematic but the likes of Kevin Lasagna are not 100%. With four consecutive losses they sit 18th in the Serie A standings.

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AC Milan early season review: what can we expect for the rest of the season?

Being a fan of AC Milan right now has to be a mixed bag. They are a team that have risen from the ashes and orchestrated a rebuild that has delivered them the Serie A title in a very short span of time. As a supporter of the club, you will no doubt be riding high off the back of that success but recent form suggests some reason to harbour worry in their hearts. This sportsbook review offers an in-depth coverage on the Serie A giants and their exploits so far as well as expectations for the 2022/2023 campaign.

Milan fans during Chelsea’s visit to San Siro

A very audible gasp could be heard around San Siro when Fikayo Tomori was shown a red card for a foul on Mason Mount in the 17th minute. The crowd clearly thought it was a harsh decision and BT Sport commentator Robbie Savage shared that sentiment but the decision stood and they were left with a mountain they were unable to climb successfully.

After losing 3-0 to the Blues the previous week, their chances of actually getting a positive result a man light became improbable. It is now three losses in five games for the Rossoneri and they would feel hard done by at this very moment with the way things have gone.

Injuries have not helped

It is only 13 games into the season and Milan have suffered injuries to key players already. Right now, Davide Calabria, excellent first choice keeper Mike Maignan, veteran fullback Alessandro Florenzi, Theo Hernandez, Rade Krunic, Alexis Saelemaekers, Charles De Ketelaere, Divock Origi, Sandro Tonali and Simon Kjaer are either spending or have spent time on the sidelines for AC Milan.

This is never a good sign for a team that plays as many matches as the Rossoneri do and some of those absentees are important starters or rotation options. Stefano Pioli has refused to blame injuries for their recent form and simply suggested that the team could do better and make less mistakes. He is right!

The major issue that sticks out with the club is the inability to keep clean sheets. Their season so far has seen them keep only three clean sheets from 13 matches. A far cry from the 10 clean sheets kept in 13 matches at the back end of last season.

Nine of those 10 shutouts helped Milan reach the pinnacle of Italian football and claim the Scudetto. In Serie A, they are fifth on the table and sit three points behind League Leaders Napoli. They have the lowest non-penalty expected goals conceded (NpxG) number in Serie A with 6.2 NpxG and have conceded only seven goals this season.

However, the fact that they’re unable to consistently shut out their opponents completely means that every time they have faced very good opposition this season, their weaknesses have been exposed.

Their three losses in the last five games have come against Napoli, the current League Leaders and twice against Chelsea. They also conceded more than once in their victory against bitter Rivals Inter Milan.

Their league position suggests they aren’t in a crisis at all and many believe that inconsistency is a part of having a very young team but this team still has the core group of players that were League Champions so that excuse will simply not fly, as Pioli has pointed out.

Their defeats in Europe are obviously disheartening to the players and fans but it is more of an indicator of where Milan are compared to the true European giants. They’re not there yet but they aspire to be and this core may be able to get the Rossoneri there. It’s all about trusting a process which had brought them success.

What to expect from Milan

That being said, the expectation on the shoulders of this very young team is to provide another title charge, one which they are more than capable of doing. They have already scored 18 goals and are the third highest scorers in the league and do not look like slowing down anytime soon.

Between their two losses to Chelsea they were able to secure a dominant victory over a poor Juventus side and will look to get back to winning ways when they face Hellas Verona this weekend in a match they fully expect to win. Napoli might be top of the League but AC Milan aren’t far behind. They’ve done this before and nobody will bet against this group of kids doing it again. As it stands, what we can expect is fireworks from this very exciting team.

Notes On A 0-2 Loss Vs Chelsea A Champions League Debacle

Milan 0-2 Chelsea
Jorginho 21’(P) Aubameyang 34’

All three of Krunic, Bennacer and Tonali started in what looked like a 4-3-3. A similar set up had provided a solid win versus Juventus on the weekend.

The game look anything but secure however. On the 18th minutes the hopes were seriously dented when a poor Tomori gave away a penalty. The penalty may have been harsh but the red accompanying it was even more so. Questionable defending and goalkeeping made any salvage operation harder when Mason Mount found Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who ran into the box and doubled Chelsea’s lead. Dest replaced Diaz to try to limit the damage.

The 0-2 half time deficit at home was a stark reminder of the gulf between the Serie A and the Champions League.

Rebic and Pobega replacing Giroud and Bennacer changed little. Ballo-Toure and Origi came on with 10 minutes remaining as a white flag type substitutions with Theo and Leao getting a small rest. Origi had a tame shot on goal as added time was starting and it was perhaps as good as it got.

The game ended tamely and Champions League progress chances while not dead didn’t look convincing.

Champions League Matchday 4 Milan vs Chelsea

Milan vs Chelsea October 11 2022 21:00CET

The reverse fixture last week in London was a near humiliation. The team was missing important players but losing 3-0 in a mistake filled game requires a response. Milan provided something akin to a reposnse in beating Juventus 2-0 at the San Siro three days before this match but the Champions League has proven to be separate world and a good game and result versus Chelsea will go even further in adding confidence.

Theo returned over the weekend and did well versus Juventus. His return is likely the only injury good news for now. In true Milan fashion a new name has been added to the injured list. De Ketelaere is set to miss this game with a knock, it is hoped that his absence will be very short term. Chelsea are a healthier team although Wesley Fofana will miss a few weeks after injuring his knee versus Milan.

Milan started three midfielders versus Juventus in Pobega, Bennacer and Tonali. A similar more solidified set up is likely. Krunic may get the nod ahead of Pobega however. Up front Diaz scored a good individual goal over the weekend and in De Ketelaere’s absence is even more likely to start. Leao and Giroud will start again too. The back remains a bit inconsistent but Kalulu, Gabbia, Tomori and Theo are the best options and may all start again.

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

Notes On A Response And 2-0 Win Vs Juventus

Milan 2-0 Juventus
Tomori 45’+1 Diaz 54’

A twaeked line up had all three of Bennacer, Tonali and Pobega starting along with Diaz, Leao and Giroud up front. Kalulu, Gabbia, Tomori were at the back and Theo had returned from injury. Juve had Dusan Vlahovic and Arkadiusz Milik up front with absentees including Paul Pogba and the suspended Angel Di Maria.

Early minutes were somewhat muted and Leao Milan’s best first chance when his backheel hit the post. On the half hour mark Vlahovic with his hand tight to his body did divert the ball for a corner. In what is another example of, at best, confusing modern football rule that not a penalty. Leao hit the post again, this time with a low shot to the far corner.

A goal arrived right before half time. After Juan Cuadrado and Juve had complained about a Theo foul the Milan corner was played and a scrambled ball was shot close range in by Tomori.

Juventus made a change at half time bringing in Weston McKennie for Cuadrado. Milan doubled their lead soon after. A poor pass was nonchalantly dealt with therefore Diaz took on the ball and ran almost half the pitch through Juve’s defense and just beat Wojciech Szczesny.

Krunic replaced Pobega. With confidence high and Juve still not able to create the game moved forward. Rebic and De Ketelaere replaced Giroud and Diaz. With Theo way up the pitch a smart De Ketelaere ball came to him, his attempt to beat Szczesny was high when he could have perhaps crossed. Milik had Juventus’ best chance in a while but his header from a Danilo cross was easily handled by Tatarusanu. Milan continued to dominate the ball. Moise Kean replaced Vlahovic for the final 12 minutes as Juventus were still not having the best time on the ball in direct contrast to when the likes of Leao. Vranckx and Origi came on for Bennacer and Leao the final minutes.

A slight Kalulu intervention thwarted a Kean chance to keep the score 2-0 with the game heading into its final five minutes. Kean had another long range goes just high. Origi could have added a goal after he was fed by Rebic. His somewhat poor attempt was punched into a corner by Szczesny. In the ensuing corner tempers flared and three yellows were given out. Tonali, Kean and Leandro Paredes went into the books and the final whistle arrived soon after for an important three weeks at the end of a difficult week.

Week 9: Milan – Juventus

Milan vs Juventus October 8 2022 18:00CET

The team suffered one of its worst losses in recent memory in London at Chelsea. The 3-0 loss featured simple mistakes, alarming defensive lapses and was one to forget. Now Milan welcomes Juventus to the San Siro with one possible but important returnee. Theo is expected to be available to face Juve.

Maignan, Kjaer, Calabria and Saelemaekers will miss the match and the right side remains a problem with Dest not convincing and the use of Krunic on the right side was close to a disaster in London. Calls for using Rebic there may become reality but if Messias passes a fitness test he is almost certain to start.

Juve have a few notable injuries of their own in Paul Pogba and Mattia De Sciglio while Federico Chiesa is getting very close to a return from months long absence due to an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

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