Week 36: Atalanta – Milan

Follow the match as it happens, on the forum.

Any lingering doubts that the current Milan squad is not up to par with the top – and bottom, based on recent results! – Serie A teams were erased by the humiliating and embarrassing 1-4 home loss to Roma. Even after the last dismal decade the week 35 loss was hard to take. The loss also came at a time when Montella’s job, if not under threat, was subject to queries. Those questions have now grown louder. Whether the old ‘he doesn’t have the players to win’ argument really applies now or not is perhaps barely and slightly debatable but the exile of Locatelli and somewhat questionable substitutions – various ones involving Ocampos and Vangioni for example –  do not help. It may even be time to wonder if Bacca should be given more minutes to at least perhaps and may be poke in a goal or two. Lapadula has not offered a better glimpse of goal when played in the Colombian’s place.

The predicted line up for the Atalanta match is an eye opener. Several sources claim Milan may switch to a 3-5-2 for this match, with a slight chance of playing without a center forward! It seems that Montella will load the middle of the park and leave two of Suso, Deulofeu, Lapadula and Bacca  as forwards. The latter two starting up front is of course normal and there is nothing new with forward-less line ups either but a major change this late in the season may simply not make a difference.

Romagnoli is healthy and back in the squad, he may start in a back three with Zapata and Gomez and the aforementioned packed midfield will likely feature any five of De Sciglio, Pasalic, Kucka, Sosa, Vangioni, Suso and the returning Montolivo.

Atalanta are six points ahead of Milan and feature two familiar names in Bryan Cristante and Andrea Petagna. The closest rivals have also dropped points with Inter notably firing Stefano Pioli this week. The form of other teams has allowed Milan to remain within touching distance of fifth spot but anything less than three points this week and it is over. Perhaps thankfully for Milan and its fans the Coppa Italia finals features Juventus and Lazio. This means the sixth place does qualify for the Europa League, but with games starting in late July!