Week 13: Sassuolo – Milan

Starting Lineup: 4-2-3-1

An injury crisis has arrived. Ibra initially set to return developed a separate calf problem and will miss at least another 2 weeks, probably more. Bennacer remains out for a while as does Gabbia. Kjaer is not ready and Rebic developed a foot problem and is out as well. The team has struggled in recent matches but managed to gain points in recent come from behind ties against Genoa and Parma. Now it is set for bigger tests against better opponents with matches continuing to come soon after another.

In the midst of this Milan have now scored multiple goals in 14 consecutive matches, a new Serie A record. Some of that record has been achieved without Ibra and that is the good news but the bad news is that the early season Serie A lead has now evaporated.

Kalulu came under a lot of criticism for the two Genoa goals scored by Mattia Destro. A lot of fans are already dismissing his chances of being a solid center back. Time will tell but for now he remains a primary candidate for a start along side Romagnoli. Musacchio is almost certainly set for an (January) exit and Duarte is not very trusted. It is hoped Kjaer can return very soon and reclaim his spot. Calabria and Theo will start as full backs with Tonali and Kessie the only viable options in front of the defence.

Arguably the greater controversy is the four front runners. Each of the available players can be summarized as follows.
Leao was poor and lazy looking in the past two games, it might have to do with his earlier injury or not. Hauge has shown excellent flashes but not over full 90 minutes. Diaz is very skilled but not the strongest on the ball. Calhanoglu leads the Serie A and indeed the top 5 European leagues in such important stats such as chances created per 90 minutes and despite some exit talk and presumed excessive salary demands has been a major part of the recent success. Castillejo doesn’t do enough in a full 90 and is limited in skills. Saelemaekers is solid and has become a reliable part of the squad. Maldini seems inexperienced and not ready for a front line attack. Colombo falls in the same category as Maldini. Pioli must choose among those options and keep the goal scoring streak going while hoping for a good defensive performance and continued great Donnarumma saves when needed.

Sassuolo and Roberto De Zerbi are flying high with only one loss (0-3 vs Inter) so far this season.The coach’s tactics have earned him and his team rave reviews and Sassuolo can always surprise. Ex-Milan midfielder Manuel Locatelli will miss this match due to yellow cards accumulation. Francesco Caputo is another veteran who has bloomed after the age of 30 and Domenico Berardi is of course very familiar to Milan fans.

Follow the match as it happens, on the forum.