Jan 062021
 

A game under the shadow of the pandemic with two players missing from each team – Rebic and Krunic for Milan and Juan Cuadrado and Alex Sandro for Juve. Ibra, Gabbia, Bennacer and Saelemaekers still out injured for Milan while Alvaro Morata was out for Juve. Pioil opted to use Calabria as Kessie’s midfield partner and Dalot started at right back.
Early minutes featured missed half chances by Paulo Dybala and Hauge and others in an open game.
Chiesa came closest hitting the post in the 16th minute.
Good movement and pressure paid off for the visitors as an interchange between Chiesa and Dybala ended with the former opening the score. Theo and Romagnoli were outplayed. Juve and Chiesa in particular, were in good form.
Leao came closest on several occasions with Calhanoglu moving wide to provide crosses and chances while Hauge drifting more centrally behind Leao. As Milan seemed to take at least some control the tying goal came. Milan won the ball up the pitch – Juve players felt Calhanoglu had fouled Rabiot and there was a short VAR check – then Leao crossed the ball to Calabria who shot well under the crossbar as Wojciech Szczesny was rooted to his spot.
The second half started more quietly with both teams looking more settled. However Juve took the lead again with a good Chiesa strike. Theo could have done better again, so too Romagnoli. The game went back to a more chaotic up and down state with fouls and non fouls and half chances. Juventus added their third with Weston McKennie finishing Dejan Kulusevski’s short cross in close range. Both Juve subs. Milan’s left sided defenders were once again in the thick of it.
Changes were made as all of Maldini, Colombo and Diaz came on but not a lot was created.
The absentees and defensive lapses caught up to Milan as the unbeaten streak ended.

 Posted by on January 6, 2021
Jan 062021
 
Starting Lineup: 4-2-3-1
99
Donnarumma
2
Calabria
24
Kjær
13
Romagnoli
19
Hernandez
10
Çalhanoğlu
79
Kessié
7
Castillejo
21
Díaz
15
Hauge
17
Leão
Substitutes

Week 15 was hectic and eventful. Playing a Benevento team that has been improving and winning points was to present a challenge. Being without several first team players added to the test. Penalties, non penalties, a penalty miss and red made for an unforgettable game. In the end the 2-0 win extended Milan’s time at the top of the table and extended the record of scoring two goals or more to 17 games.

Playing the defending Serie A champions is another proposition. The Juventus team is a changed one from its previous seasons. With a novice coach at the helm and a somewhat younger team the team hasn’t been the most convincing but seem to be close to finding form. Obviously the team is off the pace in the standings in 5th place and 10 points behind Milan, though with a game in hand.

On the day of the match news arrived that Rebic and Krunic have tested positive for COVID-19 and are self isolating. Milan are still missing Ibra, Bennacer, Gabbia and Saelemaekers. Kjaer made a welcome return at Benevento and was a solid leader. Somewhat foolishly Tonali got himself suspended from this week 16 encounter with a red. The midfield if ofcourse lacking in personnel and the most likely option alongside Kessie is Calhanoglu. There are other options and one is pushing Calabria to that position and letting Conti or Dalot play as right backs. Diaz started as a nominal right winger versus Benevento but wasn’t impressive so it is likely that Castillejo will reclaim his spot. This would be with Rebic and Calhanoglu lining up behind Leao but with the virus affecting the team again Diaz and Hauge are very likely to get starts. Calhanoglu was chosen as the Serie A player for the month for December and in the midst of contract talks could yet receive a big raise from his current €2.5 million per season salary. Leao scored a great goal to give Milan the 2-0 lead but needs to be more present and hard working for the whole 90.

Speaking of contract talks. The Donnarumma situation keeps dragging on and despite numerous reports of an imminent signature his agent keeps pushing things back. The player himself has professed his love for Milan but it hasn’t translated to action off the pitch. Fortunately the love has been very evident on the pitch. In front of the young goalie Theo will make a welcome return from his one game suspension.

On Juventus’ side, on Monday it was revealed that Alex Sandro has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss this game, it was further revealed that Juan Cuadrado has tested positive as well. There are some calls for caution and postponement of this game but it is likely to go on and Juventus will also miss Alvaro Morata with a thigh muscle issue.

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 Posted by on January 6, 2021
Jan 052021
 

With Moncada at the scouting helm Milan are looking at the ever plentiful crop of French prospects and the latest is Kouadio Koné.

Player Summary
Name:
Kouadio Koné
Date of Birth:
May 7, 2001
Age:
19
Height:
1.85 m
Citizenship:
France
Position:
Midfielder
Foot:
Right
Agency:
None
Ownership:
Toulouse
Contract Expires:
Jun 30, 2022
Current Club:
Toulouse
Joined:
Jul 1, 2019

The midfielder is somewhat a regular starter for Toulouse with the team currently in Ligue 2. The 2001 class player has featured for the French U19 and U18 levels as well.

He is an aggressive well built for his age midfielder who covers a lot of space well defensively. He seems to do well in one on one situations and tackles but has a lot of growing to do in learning to avoid mistakes and cards. His stamina is above average.

Various reports suggest his team want upwards of €10 million for him. It is a somewhat questionable amount for a second tier player in general.

 Posted by on January 5, 2021
Jan 032021
 

The teams still missed many important players but Kjaer made a welcome return.
Benevento showed why they are an improving team, Pippo has the team running and working hard.
Benevento had a penalty shout denied and moments later Milan got a penalty for a coming together in the box. Perhaps both cases were debatable.
Kessie converted for an early Milan lead but minutes later a Tonali’s high leg – but no studs – had the ref checking the pitch side monitor and sent the young Italian off.
Diaz was taken off and Krunic came on for a more balanced 10.
The first half criticism remained that Milan were outplayed with Leao in particular not contributing as much as can be expected. To almost everybody’s surprise the Portuguese scored a highlight goal early in the second for a 2-0 lead. A counter was not dealt with properly and Leao just beat the onrushing goalie and shot from a sharp angle into the far corner.
Later Krunic brought down the man in the box but Gianluca Caprari shot the ensuing penalty wide.
Roberto Insigne and Gianluca Lapadula created chances and trouble for Milan but were unable to finish or beat the excellent Donnarumma. Kessie and Calhanoglu hit the Benevento post as well.
In the end Milan escaped with another 2 goals, for 17 matches in a row, and will definitely take the three points and shut out in advance of a midweek game versus Juventus.

 Posted by on January 3, 2021
Jan 032021
 
Starting Lineup: 4-2-3-1
99
Donnarumma
2
Calabria
24
Kjær
13
Romagnoli
5
Dalot
8
Tonali
79
Kessié
21
Díaz
10
Çalhanoğlu
12
Rebić
17
Leão
Substitutes

The week 14 match at Lazio ended with a sensational last second Theo header that allowed Milan to stay on top of Serie A. The mood to end 2020 was in stark contrast to how 2019 ended after the humiliating defeat to Atalanta that December. Milan’s record of scoring more than two goals in a game was therefore extended. Milan enter 2021 with an enviable 2020 calendar year record of played 48, won 32, tied 13 and lost only 3.

The injuries are still a concern but at least another stat is an important indicator of the growth of the team in that Milan have managed to keep winning without Ibra in the line up. The Swede will miss another few days with the calf problem. There is relief in Kjaer’s availability but Bennacer, Saelemaekers, Gabbia remain out. The former two may be ready to return by the second half of January and the fixture list needs all of them. January features seven (or possibly eight including the Coppa Italia quarter finals) matches, again.

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A busy January awaits Milan
@ Benevento 18:00 January 3 2021
vs Juventus 20:45 January 6 2021
vs Torino 20:45 January 9 2021
vs Torino 20:45 January 12 2021 (Coppa Italia round of 16)
@ Cagliari 20:45 January 18 2021
vs Atalanta 18:00 January 23 2021
@ Bologna 15:00 January 2021


The back four will be missing one of the top stars of 2020 as Theo has accumulated yellows and is suspended. Dalot is the back up to play along side Romagnoli, Kjaer and Calabria. Kessie returns from the same yellow suspension to line up with Tonali behind what looks like a Rebic, Calhanoglu and Diaz trio. Castillejo is not 100% and is to start on the bench. Leao will start up front as he did versus Lazio.

Back in 2017-2018 Benevento were making their Serie A debut and had reached December with exactly zero points. While breaking a Serie A record of 14 consecutive losses they managed a last second point courtesy of their goalkeeper and Juventus loanee Alberto Brignoli. Later that season they beat Milan 1-0 while on their way to getting relegated. This earned them a bogey team title. This season, under the guidance of Filippo Inzaghi, the Stregoni are a different team and currently sit midtable.

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 Posted by on January 3, 2021
Dec 282020
 

Mohamed Simakan is a French 2000 born central or right sided defender. He has been often mentioned as a possible first recruit for a Milan team going through an injury crisis. As of the time of writing with the January 2021 window due to open in one week the defensive situation is looking brighter at Milan. Kjaer is closer to a return, perhaps as early as January 3 at Benevento, and Kalulu has shown enough promise to be considered a potential future star. But of course Simakan is one for the future too with Musacchio and Duarte due to leave sooner or later.

Player Summary
Name:
Mohamed Simakan
Date of Birth:
May 3, 2000
Age:
20
Height:
1.87 m
Citizenship:
France
Position:
Central Defender
Foot:
Right
Agency:
None
Ownership:
RC Strasbourg
Contract Expires:
Jun 30, 2023
Current Club:
RC Strasbourg
Joined:
Jul 1, 2019

The Strasbourg defender became a semi regular for his team in the 2019-2020 season in playing over 1500 minutes. He is seen as being strong, physical and determined on the ball, both in retaining and getting back to position to getting it back. His aerial ability is above average and is growing. He is good with both feet but he is primarily right footed however he doesn’t look to have the greatest technical ability nor is he the best at going forward to cross.

The rumoured fee has varied anywhere between €12 to 20 million and we have the usual he has agreed to join Milan line. Strasbourg will try to get the maximum of course and again as always there are rumours of English Premier League interest with anyone from Southampton to Wolves mentioned.

 Posted by on December 28, 2020
Dec 232020
 

A depleted squad lined up versus Lazio without Ibra, Kessie, Bennacer and Kjaer. Rebic and Tonali made the starting lineup.
A bright start resulted in an early goal when Rebic scored his first of the season with a nice finish assisted by Calhangolu.
The lead doubled when a VAR review awarded a penalty that fell to Calhanoglu in the absence of Ibra and Kessie. He shot confidently.
The momentum shifted soon after and Lazio took over the game and got one back. Kalulu was judged to have made contact with Joaquin Correa and incredibly the penalty was awarded after a review. VAR and the refs did not do their jobs any justice. Immobile’s penalty was saved well but Luis Alberto shot past Donnarumma on the hard rebound.
The second half was more of the same and eventually the tying goal arrived. Poor defensive work by the Tonali, Krunic midfield duo looked to be punished as Sergej Milinkovic-Savic made a looping pass to Immobile who beat Donnarumma. Kalulu could have covered the Lazio captain better. Late Milan subs were made amid several scenes of players running out of gas.
Milan managed to make a final push and Rebic had two good chances to get a late 3-2 lead.
As the three added minutes were heading to a conclusion a corner won by Milan was shot into the box by Calhanoglu and headed in emphatically by Theo Hernandez.
Celebrations erupted as Milan won again, scored two or more again and reached Christmas on top of the table.

 Posted by on December 23, 2020
Dec 232020
 
Starting Lineup: 4-2-3-1
99
Donnarumma
2
Calabria
20
Kalulu
13
Romagnoli
19
Hernandez
33
Krunić
8
Tonali
56
Saelemaekers
10
Çalhanoğlu
12
Rebić
17
Leão
Substitutes

Leao was a record breaker at Sassuolo. Right off kickoff Milan players moved forward and Calhanoglu’s assist to Leao was finished off in under seven seconds. The Portuguese, playing as a more central forward, broke the fastest ever goal in the Serie A. Saelemaekers later added a second after a smart interplay counter featuring Diaz, Tonali and Hernandez. The team was missing Rebic, Ibra, Bennacer and Kjaer yet produced a solid performance to allay fears of a loss versus a dynamic high flying Sassuolo. Another Serie A record was extended with Milan scoring twice in a game, again.

Kessie got a somewhat questionable yellow to rule himself out of this week 14 match versus Lazio. Tonali was substituted at half time in the week 13 match and was feared to miss this game. It is now thought that he could be ready, his possible absence would have meant a true rework of the midfield with the possibility of Calhanoglu or even Calabria lining up in front of a four man defense. Rebic is also in line for a possible return but the team is still without the aforementioned spine and stars of the team.

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The defense will continue to feature Calabria, Kalulu, Romagnoli and Hernandez. Kalulu came in line for some praise after being overly criticized for the Genoa game. He is only 20 and has big potential as a left sided defender. Krunic and Tonali should line up behind Saelemaekers, Calhanoglu and Rebic with Leao upfront. If Rebic does not pass the fitness test Diaz is again the likeliest to play. It has seemed that Leao works better as the center forward than a left winger but when both he and Rebic are available Pioli has not really agreed. This may be finally changing.

After this game there is an 11 day holiday break. Milan return to action on January 3rd with a visit to Benevento and the winter transfer market opens the day after. Maldini and the management team will have to address the shortcomings that despite the added depth has the team scrambling, in defense in particular.

Lazio, as always led by Ciro Immobile, sit in eighth place and haven’t had the best start to the season but did beat Napoli 2-0 in week 13.

Follow the match as it happens, on the forum.

 Posted by on December 23, 2020
Dec 202020
 

Right from kickoff Leao ran through the defense assisted by Calhanoglu to score what was to be the fastest goal in Serie A history recorded at 6.2 seconds.
Minutes later Calhanoglu scored from a good Leao cross and cut back but a lengthy VAR interruption ruled that Saelemaekers was marginally offside near the center circle some 10 seconds before in the build up. VAR’s mission to rule on clear and obvious errors looks like a waste of resources.
A counter started by Diaz was cleverly played up the right wing with Tonali looking to avoid an offside call leaving it for Theo, it was then finished by Saelemaekers from Theo’s cross.
Krunic and Hauge made appearances in the second, the former at half time for Tonali, as the game went on without too many clear cut chances for either team for much of the second. Donnarumma and Andrea Consigli each made a good save.
Kessie got a yellow to rule him out of the upcoming midweek match versus Lazio.
The – infamous to Milan fans – Berardi got one back when he scored from a freekick in a good position. Hauge should have done better in the wall and not opened the path for the ball.

 Posted by on December 20, 2020