Week 31: Milan-Genoa
A more normal schedule and the shrinking injury list provide hope for the final stretch and the very tight competition for the second to fourth Champions League places in the table. Inter have almost certainly captured the scudetto but Milan in second place is 1 point ahead of Juventus, 2 ahead of Atalanta, 4 ahead of Napoli and 8 ahead of Lazio who have a game in hand. Week 31 matches up Atalanta vs Juventus and Napoli vs Inter. Getting three points versus Genoa adds just a bit of breathing space, however an early afternoon game at the San Siro invokes bad memories.
The relatively healthy squad is only missing Calabria and Maldini. This allows Pioli to field a near optimum starting 11 but of course Ibra’s inexplicable red at Parma has put a damper on the chance to do so. The Swede was given a straight red for what was thought to be an insult directed at the referee – Fabio Maresca – but he apparently did not but the one game suspension was nevertheless confirmed late in the week. This was yet another bizarre refereeing episode that defies logic. Leao is the prime candidate for his spot up front. The three players behind him look to stay as planned with Rebic, Calhanoglu and Saelemaekers hoping to continue the slow march towards the better form seen at Parma.
Kessie and Bennacer are near automatic starters for the remaining games of the season. The defense could see more turnover as there is some indecision between which of Dalot or Kalulu are better choices. Romagnoli is back from both injury and losing his spot to Tomori. The captain will likely remain on the bench for now. Kjaer will partner Tomori and Hernandez will be on their left. The Donnarumma saga is no nearer a conclusion and it is not out of the question that he will be playing one of his final games for Milan.
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