A changed team faced Sheva and Genoa. Within the first 2 minutes another Milan player got injured. Kjaer fell and spent a good 2 minutes before being stretchered off in favour of Gabbia.
A free kick followed minutes later and Ibra took it. He rooted Salvatore Sirigu to his spot and surprised the whole Genoa team to give Milan the lead. Milan continued to retain most of the ball as Genoa grew slowly into the game.
Diaz’s speedy and tricky runs were causing Genoa the most headaches but the end product was out or reach. The second goal arrived in the lengthy added time. A high rebound rebound found its way to Messias whose cushioned and simple header header looped over Sirigu’s hand and into the net.
Florenzi came on for Gabbia – himself a sub, on a yellow – to start the second. A Genoa freekick had Maignan providing a highlight save which was then cleared via a Tomori bicycle kick.
A tired Ibra came off for Pellegri and soon after Milan made it 3-0 with another Messias goal. The Brazilian shot low and beat Sirigu in the far corner from a Diaz pass. The game settled into a slower pattern and later Bakayoko and Saelemaekers came on for Tonali and Diaz. Maignan made another impressive and acrobatic save from a long range shot that was going under the cross bar. The ball was diverted for a Genoa corner by the French goalkeeper.
The result was reassuring but marred by Kjaer’s early injury.
Two games a week and a long ever changing injury list have combined to make it hard for Milan. Two Serie A losses in a row and seven goals allowed have the fans and the team concerned. A Champions League win in between versus Atletico was a welcome and needed three points however.
It is not easy to keep track of the team injury news and possible line up changes they bring. The probable line up for this week 15 match has been already much debated even though the week 14 match came just three days before it.
Maignan’s speedy recovery has him in goal of course. Calabria’s injury forced a change in the weekend, it came to be Florenzi but Kalulu has shown more and should start this time. Tomori makes a welcome return from injury and regains his spot from Romagnoli. The latter had at best a mixed performance versus Sassuolo. The captain scored Milan’s lone goal but struggled defensively. Kjaer and Hernandez round off the back four.
Bennacer hasn’t looked his best and seems to have a knock now as well. Kessie and Tonali will get the call. The front four is shaping up to be even less predictable. Diaz might be on the bench in favour of Krunic or Messias. This means that the under performing Saelemaekers might sit too with both the aforementioned starting. There is also some thought that Leao will be given a day off. He, much like the rest of team, is certainly feeling the burden of the fixture list. Giroud is also injured. Ibra has played many minutes in the last days and weeks but may need to start again. Pellegri hasn’t been really used and is unlikely to be tried from the start. The loanee may not even stay at Milan beyond January if reports are to be believed.
Sheva is now in charge of Genoa and it will be odd to see the Milan legend in the Serie A but not associated with Milan. The Ukrainian took charge of Genoa after an ownership change and will be coaching his third match after a home loss to Roma and a tie away to Udinese.
Follow the match as it happens, on the forum.
Maignan was back starting way ahead of schedule. The line up was also changed elsewhere, at least partially due to the extremely busy fixture list. Bakayoko and Bennacer started as pivots and Florenzi at right back.
The early minutes were dominated by Milan and resulted in three Ibra offsides and one Theo offside. Chances were squandered until a well worked corner kick had Romagnoli head in at the near post. Andrea Consigli was unable to keep the captain’s header out.
The game turned after that. Bakayoko didn’t control the ball well. Ginaluca Scamacca picked up the ball and with lots of space shot hard into the top corner of the goal. Maignan barely moved. Sassuolo scored again. An unnecessary corner given away by Bennacer was not cleared. The same Scamacca, free again, shot at Maignan and the rebound rebounded back into goal off of Kjaer’s back. The visitors were controlling the game and half ended with Milan’s game plan in limbo.
Messias and Kessie came on for Diaz and Bakayoko to start the second. Little looked changed – with one notable difference that Saelemaekers would pop up in a left midfield position. The team looked wasteful and clumsy. Tonali came on for Bennacer a bit later.
Ibra had a shot miss the far side in the 63rd minute. But it was Sassuolo that scored next. Kessie cleared poorly then gave away the ball seconds later. Romagnoli fell on himself trying to defend Berardi and the latter beat Maignan. Another Milan shot barely missed. Pellegri came on for Florenzi in search for offense.
The collapse was made official when Romagnoli was unable to deal with Gregoire Defrel in a 1v1 situation and brought the attacker down. He was sent off and his well documented weakness was in plain view. The midfield was of no help to the defenders. Kalulu replaced Saelemaekers to finish the game.
The manner of the 1-3 home loss had many justifiably worried. The busy schedule would provide little time for recovery.
Milan have retained their second spot tied with Napoli. The form has held up for the most part despite an ugly perpetual and revolving injury list. Pioli has gotten a deserved contract extension that still would be preferably dealt with in the offseason but it is norm as it is. Milan also got a deserved win over Atletico in the Champions League. The win gives the team a small chance to qualify for the knockout rounds. Liverpool and indeed Porto and Atletico stand in way.
The aforementioned revolving and extensive injury list now includes Calabria, Rebic, Giroud and Castillejo. The former three will be out well into December if not January. Miraculously Maignan has rejoined the team and his mentioned January return is well ahead of schedule. Tomori is struggling with injury and tiredness and may not feature at all. Romagnoli and Kjear will be the central defenders with Hernandez on the left and Florenzi on the right. There are calls for the improving Kalulu to be give the right back spot but Pioli may have other thoughts. The historically busy fixture list may have something to do with the coach’s choices as the midfield could feature Bakayoko but will likely remain Kessie and Bannacer. Leao, much like the rest of his team mates, must be exhausted but there are little other options and he is set to start with Diaz and Saelemaekers behind Ibra. Junior Messias chose the big stage – A Champions League night at the San Siro vs Atletico – to score his first Milan goal and may earn the right to start in the Belgian’s place.
The struggling Sassuolo are led by Domenico Berardi, once again. The team has not fared poorly against Milan but that has shifted in recent meetings.
Follow the match as it happens, on the forums.
Milan started with Diaz as a nominal right winger and Krunic as an attacking midfielder. It was to be seen if the line up choice was to work. A somewhat fast paced start had both teams roaming the pitch.
A first goal came for Inter. A clumsy Kessie tried to elude two Inter markers and moved towards Milan’s goal. Calhanoglu’s leg got tangled with Kessie and the referee pointed towards the penalty spot. VAR confirmed it. It was yet another bizarre exhibition in refereeing as a player in control of the ball was judged to have committed a foul. Few unbiased observers would be explain that. The replay showed that Calhanoglu’s leg was the first to move in between Kessie’s. The former Milan player converted the penalty.
The equalizer arrived soon after. A Tonali freekick was met with Tomori whose header glanced off Stefan De Vrij’s head and went in.
Further action followed. Ballo-Toure misjudged a ball and missed the Inter player. Scrambling back his foot made contact with the Inter player a second before the ball. Lautaro took on the penalty this time but his shot was saved by Tatarusanu. So it remained 1-1 and the game remained tense and on the edge of more controversy. In the dying minutes Ballo-Toure made a goal line clearance off the line to keep the score 1-1 at half time.
Kalulu came on for Ballo-Toure at half time. To Put the former in as left back was risky. Inter were the more dangerous team early on. Tonali was putting in the effort that his growing stardom shows. Saelemaekers and Rebic came on for Diaz and Leao in the 59th minute as Inter were getting corner after corner and each were being taken by Calhanoglu. Bennacer later replaced Tonali as Inter were having the better chances and Kalulu made a crucial block to save a possible Arturo Vidal, an Inter sub, goal. A freekick in the 82nd minute had Ibra force a Samir Handanovic near side low save. Bakayoko then replaced Krunic. Milan showed more urgency in the final minutes and there were several scrambling plays in the Inter box. Saelemaekers hit the post late, with Handanovic nowhere near the ball, and the rebound was wasted by Kessie.
Amid more questionable calls the derby ended 1-1.
The first Milan derby of the 2021-2022 season features Milan seven points and one place ahead of Inter in the standings. The Serie A form that has Milan a team record unbeaten in 11 to start the season will be tested against Inter. Unlike the city rivals Milan has managed the form with an all too big injury list. As of today the injury list is easing with Florenzi, Rebic and Diaz back in the squad. However, Maignan remains a key long term absentee.
A double yellow at Roma has another key piece missing. Theo’s clumsiness will mean that either Ballo-Toure or Kalulu will start. The latter has seemed very uncomfortable as a left back and if he is to start it is probably a wise move to let Calabria be the left back. Tomori and Kjaer have been mostly excellent and are the most likely starters in front of Tatarusanu. The Romanian keeper is not exactly the best or safest ball handler but has done as well as to be expected.
Partly due to the seemingly never ending injury situation the double pivots in front of the back four have rarely been a constant this season. Kessie and Tonali are the more likely starters for this Derby della Madonnina. With Castillejo out with an injury the only alternative for the right wing position remains Saelemaekers. The Belgian has been sub par and right wing remains the team’s weak point. Krunic looks to be favoured to Diaz for the middle attacking spot. Only Pioli is confident of this choice. Leao will play the left wing position. The Portuguese has shown flashes of talent but one feels he can do a lot more. When actually playing – and perhaps even as a motivational force on the bench – Ibra has been more convincing than Giroud and will want to start against Inter. If healthy and in shape he will.
Inter feature former Milan player in Hakan Calhanoglu. The Turkish international hasn’t impressed too many people and has been in and out of the Inter lineup. His form against Milan would be interesting to see, if he takes on a free kick even more so. Inter feature far more solid players than the Milan’s former midfielder though. The likes of Nicolo Barella, with a newly extended contract, and Marcelo Brozovic can hurt most teams and so can Lautaro Martinez, another who extended his contract recently with a relatively team friendly salary of €6 million.
Simone Inzaghi is still getting settled at Inter, the opportunity to extend the distance to third place and reverse the course of recent derbies should be taken. Forza Milan.
Follow the match as it happens, on the forum.
The return leg and match day four versus Porto represents a chance for Milan to get something out of this Champions League season. Milan played poorly two weeks ago in Porto and lost by one goal. Refereeing errors have not helped Milan in any of the these matches so far but Milan didn’t exactly excel vs Atletico or Liverpool. In any event Milan needs the three points here.
The injury list is still long and Maignan is missed in goal. Kessie returns from Champions League suspension for this one. Theo who got a red in the weekend and is to miss the derby next weekend needs to have good game for Milan to have a better chance for the points.
While Kjaer and Tomori seem to be the preferred Serie A starters these Champions League games offer a chance for Romagnoli as the more likely partner for Tomori. He will give Kjaer a chance to rest. The same could be said about Tonali. The young Italian was on the bench on the weekend but could start versus Porto. It is also very important that Diaz is available. The attacking department is somewhat handicapped even with all players healthy so he was missed when out in COVID-19 isolation.
Porto are doing well in the their domestic league and have a star in the making in Luis Diaz. The 24 years old Colombian was man of the match two weeks ago.
Follow the match as it happens, on the forum.
The match started openly. Roma had a couple of half chances on a counter, on one occasion Abraham out-dueled Tomori and then another using their right Roma beat Theo and Leao rather easily. Milan had even more with Ibra, Leao and Calabria all with decent chances to open the scoring early. Saelemaekers looked more active and involved than recent matches.
Milan opened the scoring. A free kick just outside the box was converted by Ibra, his low shot beat Rui Patricio in the far corner despite a Roma player lying on the pitch behind the wall.
Roma were struggling and seemed beatable. Leao controlled an Ibra header very well and headed the ball in but the goal was called back because Ibra had been offside. he match remained open and Milan had another good position free kick chance with again a Roma player lying on the pitch behind the wall, this time Rui Patricio stopped the dangerous wall.
The second half started with more of the same and it looked like Ibra had doubled the lead but VAR judged him offside. Moments later Ibra was offside again. Only moments later Tammy Abraham had a lot of room in the Milan box but his shot was blocked. The fast action continued with a counter where Ibra was brought down in the Roma box, the ref pointed to the penalty spot but decided to check the pitch side monitor. The penalty was awarded and then converted by Kessie.
Giroud came on for Ibra. Things continued to go well but Theo got a second yellow for a clumsy challenge, the first yellow earlier in the match was somewhat questionable but this second one was less so. Theo would therefore miss the derby next week, a big loss of course. Ballo-Toure came on for Saelemaekers as a forced sub. Sensing danger and perhaps one eye on the midweek Champions League match to come Pioli followed this up by a triple sub. Tonali, Romagnoli and Bakayoko came on for Bennacer, Leao and Krunic.
Roma came closest in the 82nd minute but Kjear headed the Roma header into corner with Tatarusanu not always looking the safest. Kjaer continued to be a rock. That didn’t prevemt a goal though. In added time, with Roma pressing and complaining at every action, El Shaarawy found lots of room in the middle of the box and made it 1-2.
The game ended with three points ahead of an important week.
Two wins without playing well but with an astronomical injury list are good testament to the team’s growth and mental strength. Beating Bologna and Torino in less than ideal circumstances have Milan riding high in the Serie A standings. The injury list is in constant flux and is still big.
Roma offer a different threat than the recent wins. with Maignan, Rebic, Florenzi, Messias and Castillejo still out the team is still limited. Diaz’s return, at least, provides a real attacking threat not always present with either Krunic or Maldini in the central attacking midfield spot. The Spaniard has recovered from the positive coronavirus test and will join Leao and Saelemaekers in the 3 behind what is likely to be an Ibra start. Saelemaekers has been struggling and the much maligned right wing spot remains a weak point. Leao has done better this season, mostly. Kessie and Bennacer are likely going to start as pivots but Tonali is easily the most improved player this season and will be used here and as often as possible considering the over congested fixture list. A crucial Porto match is coming in the middle of the week.
Calabria, Tomori, Kjaer and Hernandez are the first choice back four and having them all available is important. The team needs to cut down on goals allowed and having a healthy defense should help. Of course Maignan remains absent and likely won’t be back until 2022. The French keeper’s number two hasn’t done poorly but Tatarusanu is a big drop in quality. He has managed well but doesn’t inspire the most confidence. Mirante signed earlier this month as an emergency back up most recently played for Roma but it doesn’t look like that he is going to be in line for a league (or Champions League) start.
Roma are missing Chris Smalling and Leonardo Spinazzola remains a long term absentee. The Mourinho led Roma sit in 4th spot and it is an almost guarantee that the Portuguese and former Inter coach will be an important part of this week 11 match.
Follow the match as it happens, on the forum.
Ballo-Toure’s injury, after being stamped on by Roberto Soriano during the weekend, was bad enough to have him miss this midweek week 10 match versus Torino. Kalulu replaced him as the left back. Theo was back from COVID isolation but too late to be a starter. Diaz had tested negative the day of the match and of course not ready to be in the squad. Pellegri returned to the squad.
Andrea Belotti, subject of perpetual Milan rumours, started for Torino.
The first goal arrived in the 14th minute. A well taken Tonali corner was headed on by Krunic and Giroud lurked behind the defenders to divert it in. The early minutes were mainly advantage Milan in possession and movement. The defense doing well in tracking Belotti and other Torino attackers. Klaulu could perhaps do better when receiving and having the ball. Tonali continuing to show growth but still sometimes not there yet.
Neither team threatened much or did much with the ball the rest of the half, Milan came a bit closer to Torino’s goal than the visitors.
Kjaer and Theo replaced Romagnoli and Kalulu to start the second. Theo could force Torino’s Wilfried Singo back a bit as he was giving Kalulu a hard time.
Torino had a better start in the second and maintained possession well. Not long into the second Belotti came off for Antonio Sanabria. The Paraguay international has been solid in his short time in Turin.
Bakayoko and Bennacer came on for Tonali and Krunic in a bid to control the midfield and match better. Torino came close in the 75th minute on a counter that was poorly lost in midfield. Tatarusanu barely kept the ball out. Torino came cloe again in the 85th minute when a ball deflected and grazed the top of the bar. Milan players protested that a foul had to be called just before it. In between Milan struggled to bother Vanja Milinkovic-Savic in Torino’s goal. On the other side of the pitch Tomori continued to stop attackers and be a wall.
Ibra replaced Giroud in the final minutes. Fresh legs and impetus were helpful. Tatarusanu made a good punching stop in the final minute, the ball might have been going out but it was Torino who were threatening.
A 1-0 win was welcome three points, of course. For now Milan were alone atop of the Serie A standings.