Week 29: Sampdoria – Milan

The international break following the 2-3 derby loss was dominated by stadium talk and the Kessie – Biglia incident on the bench during the derby. The two players had to be held apart for something that is not fully explained. Gattuso talked of it as a second defeat – besides the derby loss itself of course.  Squad unity and discipline is highly regarded by Gattuso, perhaps even too much, and he has since talked to the players and the team has fined Kessie for the incident. The team needs to move forward, improve and fight the “10 finals” to the end of the season.

The stadium issue seems to have shifted focus to a shared solution, a new shared stadium and not the San Siro itself. A fully and solely owned stadium is likely beyond the financial means of most owners but it is surely a better solution if the team is to maximize its value and revenue. Elliott and future owners must attempt to build and not share. However, there are still many (municipal) hurdles to jump over before a final decision.

The derby itself was disappointing. Inter broke out of their recent woes and were far more dynamic and quick in possession. Perisic and co still without Icardi attacked Milan on numerous occasions, Matias Vecino attacked between the lines while Paqueta, Kessie and the whole defense looked on and soon Milan buckled. Bakayoko scored his first Milan goal and gave hope in the second half. Later a handful of close chances were missed and near the final whistle an unlikely tie was one or two yards away.

Sampdoria, five places behind Milan, host this week 29 encounter. The Liguria team has scored and conceded many goals this season. Fabio Quagliarella is leading the Serie A top scorers list and at 36 earned a return to the Azzurri line up.

Milan are expected to use a somewhat predictable starting 11 but Kessie is likely to give way to Biglia. Bakayoko’s much improved form has made the calls for a permanent transfer from Chelsea louder and lining up with Biglia and Paqueta has the makings of a more solid middle three. The latter scored his debut selecao goal during the international break, vs Panama and may be rested for this match. Suso will need to break out of his slump as he is retaining his up front spot alongside Piatek and either of Calhanoglu or Castillejo despite a very poor run of form, but then again Gattuso is a loyal to a fault kind of coach.

Follow the match as it happens, on the forum.