Week 30: Parma – Milan
The busy run of games has settled into an almost once a week match, of course after exiting Coppa Italia and European competition. This is allowing for some healing on the injury front and more time to duel on the upcoming summer transfer window. Contract negotiations and extensions remain the main point of interest outside of the pitch but with nine matches left and a tight race for the Champions League places each match remain the most important.
Pioli surprised some by fielding Saelemaekers as a right back versus Sampdoria. The Belgian had played that role back in his native land but this was nevertheless an odd decision considering Kalulu and Dalot’s availability. The match ended a poor 1-1 with the rarely seen Hauge scoring late. It was perhaps a lesson for the manager.
The starters for this match at Parma will likely remain more or less the same as week 29, although the aforementioned right back gamble is likely dead. More players are available, to make it to the bench at least. Leao, Diaz and Mandzukic return to the squad and provide depth at least. Kalulu or Dalot will start with Kjaer, Tomori and Hernandez. The latter was responsible for the goal conceded last weekend and needs to return to his 2020 form. Kessie and Bennacer should start in midfield. The latter seemed rusty but will hopefully regain his form as well. Saelemaekers looks to return to his more familiar right wing role with Calhanoglu and Rebic behind Ibra.
Parma are 19th in the Serie A standings. They have a won a league worst 3 games so far. The team features Conti who seems likely to return to Milan from his loan spell unless Parma stave off relegation somehow.
Follow the match as it happens, on the forum.