Nov 252018
 

 

Before the international break a meeting with Juventus were to provide a confidence boost, even if it was unlikely a positive result were to be had. Injuries had been mounting and the team was without Musacchio, Biglia and Bonaventura. All three are to be out in times measured in months and in Bonaventura’s case, after knee surgery, the player is almost certainly out for the season. The game therefore featured a handicapped Milan and as it transpired the frustration grew within the game. First Higuain missed a VAR awarded penalty and then lost his cool and got himself sent off in what was to be a 0-2 loss. The Argentinian earned himself a two game ban for screaming at the referee, a ban not reduced on appeal. To add to the crisis level injury misery captain and defensive leader left the Azzurri camp and is set to miss a month.

The battle of 4th vs 5th is of course very important and Milan would do well to emerge from this and next weeks relatively unscathed.

All the above leave the team with only Zapata as a recognized central defender – plus Stefan Simic who is officially on the squad. The team is therefore not only short on bodies it is also in search of a formation to fit the available players. It had been suggested that Gattuso will use something resembling a 3-4-3 and make use of wing backs in search of a balance in defense and attack. As it happened Abate, Zapata and Rodriguez started with fears of a defensively porous game seemingly being realized in the first few minutes as Lazio started well.

It might have been expected that the back three will be aided by Laxalt and Calabria acting as full back and wingers in one to not only move up but also to help stop the likes of Senad Lulic and Adam Marusic. However the much maligned Borini started in place of the Uruguayan.  In the middle the only players that are in some form are Bakayoko and Kessie. The likes of Montolivo and Bertolacci do not inspire any confidence at all. Up front Cutrone got the first of his two deserved starts now that Higuian is suspended. Suso and Calhanoglu were, as expected, the first options for the other spots. The game settled as Calhanoglu missed a chance and Lazio had a goal ruled offside. Borini came close in the second. Lazio made two subs as the game reached the last quarter still tied. The expensive but under performing Sergej Milinkovic-Savic was one of the players withdrawn. Donnarumma did well when tested. As the game stalled into a stalemate Suso found Calabria onside in the final third, the Italian ran and pulled back for Kessie whose shot was deflected by Wallace and in. As the game entered added time and the ref had made several perplexing decisions Correa shot through a crowd and tied it for Lazio. Simone Inzaghi still had the time to have himself sent off from the touch line before the final whistle sounded. Gattuso had not used a single sub, not even to kill time in added time. He would invite post match criticism as Milan dropped two points.

Read more about the match on the forum.

 

 

Nov 112018
 

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Without Bonaventura, Biglia and Musacchio and most of the game without Higuain Milan needed another last minute Romagnoli goal to beat Udinese. As the injuries piled up every body involved with Milan feared the worst when in the first half Higuain asked to be subbed after a getting a knock in his back. As it turned out the game became chaotic and back and forth and after a prolonged counter and passing play Romagnoli beat Juan Musso in the Udinese goal right at the end. The defender and captain solidified his reputation in Milan fans’ hearts for doing the same in the second game in a row.

With that feeling Milan traveled to Betis for match day 4 of the Europa League. Without all of the aforementioned player (except Musacchio), a 3-5-2 and with Romagnoli starting on the bench Milan struggled to play a good game, suffered more injury hits and were lucky to escape with a tie.

As it stands the injury list includes Strinic (heart issue, return unknown), Caldara (at least until February), Biglia (at least until March) and Musacchio (at least until January after he was almost knocked unconscious after colliding with Kessie at Betis). The list also includes Calhanoglu and Bonaventura as not 100% match fit.

The formation starting versus the league leaders will very likely be Abate, Zapata, Romagnoli and Rodriguez in front of Donnarumma. Suso, Kessie, Bakayoko and Calhanoglu behind Castillejo and Higuain. The latter is probably also not 100% match fit but will push to play against his old team. Cutrone’s expected omission is not fully explained.

Ronaldo has not scored at the San Siro in the five games he has played at the stadium, three of which have been against Milan. Despite a midweek loss to Manchester United beating Juventus will require a form defying performance. The task is to not only stop the Portuguese but Paulo Dybala, Mario Mandzukic and the whole of Juventus team who only have Emre Can on their injury list.

Nov 042018
 

Follow the match as it happens, on the forum

Two wins vs the Genoa based teams has propelled Milan to the top 4, before week 11 matches start. The 2-1 win vs Genoa midweek and 3-2 win vs Sampdoria last weekend both required winning goals that may have seen unlikely at times during the match. Neither game featured a team impressive in movement, shape or tactics. One featured a departure from Gattuso’s preferred 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2  – with both Cutrone and Higuain starting vs Sampdoria. The other looked more like a 3-5-2 that reverted to a 4-4-2 when Abate replaced the wing back/winger Laxalt. The three at the back is very unfamiliar to the players and it showed.

Biglia’s injury that will keep him out for over a month has added to the injury list with news that Caldara will miss three months with a calf problem. The midfield lacks the most depth and it seems likely that Bakayoko will be getting more minutes . The French midfielder has to cut down on his mistakes, one of which was partially responsible for Genoa’s deflected goal midweek.

Despite question marks a back three could make another appearance with Rodriguez lining up with Musacchio and Romagnoli. The midfield will still miss Bonaventura who is out with a knock therefore Laxalt, Calhanoglu, Bakayoko, Kessie and Suso could feature behind Higuain and Cutrone. The latter scored the opener vs Sampdoria and has one of the best goals to minutes ratios in the top leagues . The 20 years old has scored five goals (in all competitions) so far this season in 327 minutes.

There is also more news of an Ibra return, an 18 months deal starting in January 2019 could be in the works.

Udinese sit just above the relegation zone in 17th place with Rodrigo De Paul having scored fully half of their 10 goals so far this season.

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