Week 22: Borini’s New Team
Milan are suddenly on an unbeaten run. The team hasn’t lost in the 2020 calendar year. This includes three wins and one tie in the Serie A and two Coppa wins. Is this turn around a sign of things to come or not? The tools given – or not given – to the team during the now concluded January transfer window may have some bearing on that. Beating Udinese 3-2 and beating Brescia 1-0 with a resurrected Rebic have revived hopes. A convincing win vs SPAL in the Coppa Italia followed by a come from behind last minute tie and extra time win vs Torino have added further optimism.
Sitting in sixth place and eight points behind Roma for fourth spot Milan host Verona. The Serie A odds of a top 4 finish can still be considered a long shot but with Ibra’s arrival and a new two striker formation the outlook is at least different.
Some fans and commentators expected star signings in the winter transfer window. Many felt that Ibra would be one of two or three bigger signings. This did not materialize. Perhaps summer will be busier or perhaps the much rumoured and subsequently denied change of ownership means an asset stripping is in progress. Early January saw a few loans which meant players like Reina and Caladara were replaced like for like. The last days of the transfer window saw increased activity and Rodriguez and Suso left on loans. The former with only an option to PSV and the latter with a somewhat easy to achieve condition for an obligation to Sevilla. A buyer was found for Piatek and his once promising Milan career fizzled into a trip to Berlin. A young Belgian arrived and young American almost did. Alexis Saelemaekers arrived as a right sided player on loan from Anderlecht. Antonee Robinson even flew to Milan but a medical issue had the Wigan full back return to his team. The team has shed some salary and made some money too but is now smaller and lacks depth.
Week 22 features Verona, Borini’s new home after he terminated his Milan contract, visiting the San Siro. Milan look to continue the unbeaten run before the week 23 Milan derby. The 4-4-2 with Leao and Ibra should survive but Bennacer will miss the game due to accumulated yellows. The focus will be on the front two gelling more and the middle two – now possibly Krunic and Kessie – doing more to provide and defend too. Castillejo and Calhanoglu have been hard working and both have contributed from the wing and more centrally in the case of the latter. Donnarumma has been impressive recently and will play behind the now seemingly regular Kjaer and Romagnoli partnership. Conti may get the nod ahead of Calabria and Theo aka the star of the season will look to impress again.
Late in the week word arrived that Krunic, Kjaer and Ibra have knocks or in the case of latter are ill and will be replaced in the starting lineup. Musacchio and Rebic will fill their spots.
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