Week 23: Udinese – Milan

Follow the match as it happens, on the forum.

The coincidence of playing a team twice within a week seems to happen a few too many times. So it was in this case, a weekend of meeting Lazio in the Serie A and three days later a Coppa Italia semis encounter. The league game was to be Gattuso’s first bigger test. The team (and the coach) passed the test with encouraging signs and a dominant first half that saw the team control territory and cut off most Lazio chances before they reached anywhere near Donnarumma. There was controversy with not even VAR catching Cutrone’s apparent hand goal. The typical referee bias issue overshadowed the win but the performance was one of the best in a while – with Calabria and Romagnoli in particular adding much needed solidity at the back – and the 2-1 win added hope that the coach is starting to make his mark.

The midweek Coppa game again featured Kalinic as a starter, to the disappointment of some, with a few other changes to the starting line up. The most noteworthy of the changes was the use of Borini in the left back position! The game was quiet relative to the one three days earlier. The best chance of the game was Calhanoglu missing an open goal late. The ball came to the player deep in the penalty box and he shot just high. The 0-0 tie left it all for the second leg in Rome.

Udinese are next and the Friulians are doing well being only two points behind Milan’s current 34 points. The team is coached by former Milan player Massimo Oddo and play a 3-5-2 and are very much an offensive team led by Kevin Lasagna and Maxi Lopez up front.

The Milan starting 11 will unsurprisingly feature Kalinic although there is late word of a possible Andre Silva start. That being said the case for Cutrone being a regular starter is very strong but for now it is difficult to know Gattuso’s mindset and how feels he needs to manage the busy schedule to come with Europa League matches coming up in February as well. Calhanoglu and Suso are now the other established members of front three. Kessie and Bonaventura will be in the middle with Biglia a possible starter or ofcourse Montolivo. The back four is also more or less established now however Rodriguez is missing out again. The Swiss international remains absent with illness after he missed last weekend’s game due to suspension. Donnarumma is of course in goal.