Week 21: Milan – Crotone
Just as it looked like Milan could return to semblance of a full squad the problems have resurfaced. Other than Gabbia, who has now returned to training after 8 weeks away, and Kjaer who is still a week or two away it seemed that the team had gotten everybody back. Late in the week those hopes were shattered. Bennacer and Tonali have been excluded from the call ups. The former, worryingly, is said to be suffering from bronchitis. The latter, much like Diaz, is still struggling with injury and all are out of this week 21 match. Furthermore it is said that while Calhanoglu is included he is not fully fit and looks to start on the bench.
That leaves the squad short again. Meite and Kessie should be the two pivots in front of Calabria, Tomori, Romagnoli and Theo. The latter has been in relative poor form and there was more reason for concern in the week 20 match at Bologna. Donnarumma remains in goal of course but up front will see Leao, Rebic and Saelemaekers play behind Ibra. It would the second game in a row where Leao and Rebic get in the starting 11 at the same time. The match at Bologna wasn’t the most convincing and as exemplified with Theo’s aforementioned form the team was less fluid, less direct and too sloppy. Calhanoglu and Bennacer make a difference in the shape and movement of the game and their once again absence is unfortunate. The two penalties were another reminder that Ibra should let Kessie take the penalties. The Ivorian tank is cool and calm unlike many other spot takers.
Hauge’s controversial exclusion from the Europa League squad might be a good motivating factor for the Norwegian and Pioli would be wise to unleash him as an early sub. The 21 year old was Milan’s top scorer in the Europa League group stage with three well taken goals.
Crotone sit in 20th place with zero away wins, let’s hope Milan have left the days of gifting lowly teams with points in the past. Junior Messias, Crotone’s second top scorer behind Simeon Nwankwo, is suspended due to yellow cards accumulation.
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