Jun 282020
 
Starting Lineup: 4-2-3-1
99
Donnarumma
12
Conti
24
Kjær
13
Romagnoli
19
Hernandez
79
Kessié
4
Bennacer
7
Castillejo
5
Bonaventura
10
Çalhanoğlu
18
Rebić
Substitutes

Serie A restarted and Milan beat Lecce 4-1. The game was not as easy as the score suggests, at least not in the first half where Milan did not make the best use of their chances and often shot straight at Gabriel in Lecce’s goal. Castillejo did open the scoring as Calhanoglu, the man of the match, provided the assist with a low cross. VAR came to Milan’s aid as Biagio Meccariello scored but was ruled offside on review. Lecce did tie the game in the second when Gabbia, on for the injured Kjaer, made the slightest of contacts with Khouma Babacar. But the game opened up soon after with quick goals by Bonaventura and Rebic and later Leao. The 4-1 score provides some optimism for the remaining games.

Roma provide a different opposition than Lecce of course. The game will be another small test for both teams coming back from football’s suspension due to COVID-19. Earlier in the week Roma beat Sampdoria 2-1 with two Edin Dzeko goals and are nine points and three spots above Milan.

Kjaer landed hard on his knee vs Lecce and couldn’t continue and for most of the week it seemed he would be facing a layoff but he is available and starting. His possible absence would have been a big problem as Musacchio is facing a few weeks or even months out after ankle surgery and Duarte has recurring problems and is few days away. Therefore the starting 11 will remain the same. Donnarumma in goal. Conti, Romagnoli and Hernandez with Kjaer in the back four. Bennacer and Kessie behind Calhanoglu, Bonaventura and Castillejo and Rebic as a lone center forward. Ibra is close to a return and could be ready as early as the next match day on July 1st when Milan travel to SPAL.

Follow the match as it happens, on the forum.

 Posted by on June 28, 2020
Jun 222020
 
Starting Lineup: 4-2-3-1
99
Donnarumma
12
Conti
13
Romagnoli
24
Kjær
19
Hernandez
79
Kessié
4
Bennacer
7
Castillejo
5
Bonaventura
10
Çalhanoğlu
18
Rebić
Substitutes

Following in Coppa Italia’s footsteps, with congratulations to Gattuso’s Napoli for beating Juventus and winning the 2019-2020 edition, Serie A is going ahead with its attempt to finish the 2019-2020 season. Left over week 26 games were completed over the weekend and now week 27 begins with the aim to conclude the season by early August.

Ten days after limping out of the Coppa with a 0-0 second leg game versus Juventus the remaining Serie A games can allow Milan to make a push for a respectable end of season. Milan sit in 9th position but only three points behind 6th and an European spot. The upcoming games will set the stage for another managerial change as Ralf Rangnick’s arrival is very much on the cards. Relegation threatened Lecce – featuring three ex- Milan players in Gabriel, Saponara and Lapadula – provide a test for a Milan that started sleepy and rusty vs Juventus on June 12th.

Ibra, Duarte, Musacchio and Krunic are on the injured list but the Swede could return soon. In the meanwhile there are two center forward options and Rebic is preferred to Leao. The 4-2-3-1 formation will likely remain for a while yet with Castillejo, Bonaventura and Calhanoglu the likely three behind the forward. Bennacer and Kessie are also likely to remain. The back four could be more fluid but Pioli has only few options. Both Conti and Calabria have been poor enough to be the subject of exit rumours but for now Conti seems preferred. The summer transfer window, now likely for September, may see big changes for the right back spot. Kjaer and Romagnoli provide a solid center pairing and Theo will hope to continue where he left off before the pandemic enforced suspension.

Follow the match as it happens, on the forum.

 Posted by on June 22, 2020
Jun 122020
 

With the pandemic somewhat, to use the word loosely, under control Italian football has been given the green light to return behind closed doors. Other countries, notably the German Bundesliga, have been well under way with little to no repercussions, so far. Italy has been hard hit with COVID-19 and the resumption of football has been questioned and delayed many times and dangers remain.

The attempt to conclude Coppa Italia 2019-2020 that was at the semi final second leg stage before football was suspended is now on. If all goes well it can conclude on the date that it was originally scheduled with the final to play next week. The Serie A has many more games left of course and will return next weekend with hopes of finishing the season some time in August. The hope is to have a proper and complete league finish and to start the 2020-2021 season in October or November.

The first leg of the Coppa semi final finished 1-1 and had its share of controversy. As any Juventus and Milan encounter the ref did his part and produced cards that rules out Ibra and Theo Hernandez out of this second leg. The former is currently injured and is not due to return before the end of the month. The two absences hhat has left Pioli with some line up choices.

Up front the available options are Rebic and Leao. The former was in form before football was suspended and is getting the start. Paqueta who was certainly not in form may get a chance with Calhanoglu and Bonaventura in front of Bennacer and Kessie. Bonaventura is leaving on a Bosman when the season finally ends as another busy transfer window beckons (more on that coming soon). The back four requires a change with Theo’s absence and both very out of form full backs are headed for starts. Calabria and Conti will play with Romagnoli and Kjaer in between them. Gigi Donnarumma is of course starting in goal.

 Posted by on June 12, 2020
Jun 012020
 

With Serie A still suspended and many plans and ideas discussed Italian football might finally return on June 19th. The Coppa might restart a few days earlier and continue it’s semifinal with Milan still in with a shout vs Juventus.

Bundesliga recently restarted without any in the stands and so far has worked as well as one can expect. A few leagues like the Belgian Jupiler Pro League already cancelled the 2019-2020 season but Italy apparently can not afford to and will press ahead. A medical protocol has been set up and individual and group training will hope to succeed so Calcio can finish the season.

The still not official schedule will hope to finish the season by late August with matches mostly at night to avoid summer heat. After that the teams have envisioned a transfer window that runs through the month of September and early October before the next season can start. A lot is still unknown and Italy is not alone in it pandemic uncertainty.

Stadium plans move ahead as well and so do the daily diet of transfer rumours. How much of it can be believed especially in no physical meeting times is a good question. In Milan’s case the identity of future management is still not certain though this has not stopped many from speculating on Ralf Rangnick’s transfer plans. The German is still on a path to take over – at least in a management capacity – and bring about a real youth movement built for the future in an image that will take Milan in an unfamiliar direction. Many names have been mentioned with a few more notable ones below:

  • Luka Jovic, 22 years old forward, Real Madrid. To replace possible outgoing Ibra.
  • Denzel Dumfries, 24 years old right back, PSV. Finding a solution to Conti and Calabria problem.
  • Dominik Szoboszlai, 19 years old midfielder, Red Bull Salzburg. Rebuild the midfield and replace the outgoing Bonaventura.
  • Florentino Luis, 20 years old midfielder, Benfica. Another piece in the midfield rebuild to complement Bennacer.
 Posted by on June 1, 2020
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