Week 29: SPAL – Milan
The 2-0 win vs Roma was an important win, the three points are just as important as the fact that Milan beat a team above them in the standings. Almost as importantly was that the performence improved as the match went on. The first half was lackluster and the team was unable to create much. Paqueta and Saelemaekers came on early in the second and injected some variation and energy and Roma eventually ran out of gas. Milan’s first goal was made possible by a bad Zappacosta back pass. Rebic pounced on the ball and scored after a couple of rebounds. For Milan’s second Theo’s speed forced Chris Smalling to make contact in the box and Calhanoglu converted the penalty.
To be able to finish the season by early August the fixture list is busy and games will be played every three or five days. This and the summer weather will force more than the usual rotation. Playing the bottom placed team is making it easier for Pioli to make some changes in the starting 11. Ibra is back from injury and is available for selection.
Calabria comes in for Conti and Gabbia for Kjaer, further up Paqueta replaces Bonaventura. The rest of the 11 is the same as week 28 but there were some expectations that Saelemaekers would be given a start. Perhaps he and Ibra could get some minutes in the second half.
SPAL are now coached by former Italy U21 coach Luigi di Biagio after firing their long time coach, Leonardo Semplici, in February. Sitting in last place the Emilia-Romagna team are almost certainly going down.
Follow the match as it happens, on the forum.