Monthly Archive: January 2016

Week 22 Preview: The Milan Derby

Milan Inter

The second Milan derby of the 2015-2016 season sees two teams in indifferent form meeting. Inter have won only one of last five games and Milan have been inconsistent at best. This game is being played near the end of a disappointing and even disturbing winter transfer window for Milan where the only addition has been that of Kevin Prince Boateng. It has not been so much that the winter transfer window should or could have been a very busy one but that the signals coming from Galliani are that not much can be done and that ‘Milan are competitive’. Add to that Barbara Berlusconi’s statement that Milan are aiming to qualify for the Europa League spots and this season can officially be called a mediocre one.

On the injury front Milan are a healthier team and Menez is back in the squad after a long absence. Balotelli has returned as well of course but will not start, in fact he may not start in a Serie A game at all unless there are injury problems. So up front remains a Bacca and Niang partnership. The defense and goalie positions are set for the time being with Donnarumma in goal and Abate, Alex, Romagnoli and Antonelli set to keep their jobs. The midfield is always more fluid and the indications are that Kucka will get a start and Bertolacci will be benched.

Inter replaced the departing Fredy Guarin with Eder from Sampdoria this week and he is likely to grab a forward spot straight away and play alongside another ex-Sampdoria player Mauro Icardi.

Follow the match on the forum.

Week 21 Preview: Empoli – Milan

Empoli Milan

Week 21 sees Milan travel to visit Riccardo Saponara and Empoli. The Tuscan team lie one point behind Milan, have lost only 2 of their last 10 and have Massimo Maccarone still in good form. Milan’s form remains unpredictable. The week 20 win against Fiorentina was a hopeful one but uncertainty remains, both in the transfer market and team sale and also in the fate of coach Mihajlovic.

Boateng’s form has been hailed as a surprise after good play and the goal against Fiorentina but he will need to show it for longer for it to make a true difference. With only few days remaining in the market there might not be much more activity so all the current players need to perform well into the spring if this team has any chance of finishing 5th or above.

Versus Empoli the defense looks like it is going to be an expected one with Antonelli, Romagnoli, Alex and Abate and Donnarumma in goal. Bonaventura, Bertolacci, Montolivo and Honda will keep their place, as will Niang and Bacca. Adriano has returned from a failed China move and is in the squad, as is Balotelli. Mexes however, doesn’t make the bench.

Follow the match on the forum.

Week 20 Preview: Milan – Fiorentina

Milan Fiorentina

The first half of the season ended with a tie at Roma. The second half of the tie featured an improved Milan that turned the game into a deserving of win one. It is perhaps debatable that much of that improved look was due to Roma’s poor form. The match ended Rudi Garcia’s reign at Roma as the team’s management decided to act on the near collapse of the team. Mihajlovic’s reign at Milan continues with a cloud of uncertainty, the midweek Coppa win supposedly eased the pressure on him but that is not likely to be much use if Fiorentina win.

The Tuscan team come into this game having somewhat surprisingly lost to Lazio at home but have won 6 of last 10 games. Milan sprang a surprise by shipping off Luiz Adriano to China. Though not official it is said that Milan have made a 6 million euros profit, having signed the Brazilian for 8 million euros just last year.

With Adriano not available and Menez and Balotelli still on the sidelines Niang and Bacca will have to start again. The midfield looks to feature Honda, Kucka, Bertolacci and Bonaventura meaning Montolivo remains on the bench again. The defense could feature Antonelli gain but De Sciglio, Romagnoli, Zapata and Abate look more likely. Mexes has been near a Milan exit if recurring rumours are to be believed so that could be one reason Zapata starts. Little is known as to why Zapata would be preferred to Alex though and Mihajlovic is quickly acquiring a tinkerman approach.

Follow the game on the forum.

Also check the winter mercato thread for more rumours including one of the sillier ones suggesting a Ranocchia Jose Mauri swap with Inter!

Week 19 Preview: Roma – Milan

Roma Milan

Yet another defeat filled with missed chances has the team under even more criticism. The 0-1 loss vs Bologna left the team collecting a mere 5 points out of 12 vs Carpi, Verona, Frosinone and Bologna. It even meant Cerci quitting social media after being targeted for a bad miss and general poor play. The coach has insisted he will not resign but Berlusconi has repeated that he is not happy so anything can happen. Another midweek game – Coppa Italia match vs Carpi – coming next Wednesday and consecutive losses may spell the end for Mihajlovic.

Roma have not fared much better recently and have just 1 win in last 5 and have fallen to fifth in the Serie A standings. They will be without Dzeko whose two game suspension was upheld, Salah was a doubt early in the week but looks likely to start.

Latest word on the possible line up is that Alex is out with a knock but Romagnoli returns from suspension and will partner Mexes in defense. Honda may keep his place but Boateng may feature as well or even start in his place. Montolivo could be rested and therefore Kucka looks to get a start in midfield. The front two misfired vs Bologna but the Adriano option is available. However, if Adriano starts, once again this would qualify as too much tinkering.

Follow the match on the forum.

Week 18 Preview: Milan – Bologna

Milan Bologna

The team returns after the the Christmas and new year break to face Roberto Donadoni’s Bologna and five goals scorer Mattia Destro. Milan’s season still has an uncertain feel about it, the summer signings have not provided the hoped improvement and inconsistency has the team hovering in sixth place.

The open secret that was Kevin Price Booteng’s return has been made official and he is included in the squad to face Bologna. He will be wearing number 72. Elsewhere Balotelli, Lopez and Menez are not ready but not far from returning which means the line up will be virtually unchanged.

Romagnoli’s suspension means Mexes is back starting, alongside Alex, Abate and De Sciglio (and not Antonelli). Donnarumma will remain in goal of course. Niang and Bacca are likely to partner up front in the 4-4-2. The middle four includes arguably the star of Milan’s season so far Bonaventura with Bertolacci, Montolivo and the once again outspoken Honda. It remains to be seen if this means Honda will exit Milan or will Zapata, Nocerino rumours materialise. Three points will go a long way and start the calendar year positively, it is also hoped there will be news of the possible 48% sale to Mr.Bee but hopes are fading and with it chances of strengthening the team and midfield options.

Follow the match on the forum and check the mercato thread for more news.