Milan threw away the chance to put more than one foot in the Champions League by managing only a draw versus Cagliari. The team lacked intensity and was unable to break down a very well organized Cagliari team and it is now left to the final match of the season to, hopefully, qualify for Europe’s premier competition. As nit happens the week 38 opponent is Atalanta, Milan’s bogey team of recent season.
The approach to this game has seen Milan claiming to be rested and ready but the absence of Ibra will be felt. The Swede has travelled to Bergamo with the players and will be on the sidelines. Late in the week news arrived that Rebic is likely missing the game too due to a calf issue. It is left to Leao to be the player up front. The Portuguese has often looked lackluster if not lazy but has shown some flashes of his talent. He, and all his team mates, can add their name to the history books if a positive result is achieved at Atalanta. Behind the striker the recent Calhanoglu pushed to left by Diaz experiment is set to continue. Saelemaekers will play on the right. Kessie and Bennacer will the midfield pivots. At the back the Calabria, Kjaer, Tomori and Hernandez quartet are set for another start in front of Donnarumma.
Atalanta remain a free scoring team with 90 goals scored in their 37 Serie games. Closing the spaces and being tight at the back will be crucial to stop Duvan Zapata, Ruslan Malinovskyi, Luis Muriel and co. Josip Ilicic looks to start on the bench for Atalanta but his smart attacking play will need to be contained when and if he comes on the pitch. Milan with Hernandez and any left winger have often been exposed on the left and it will be important to be tighter and mark the dynamic opponents well. Unlike most other opponents the chances up front will come and the finishing and opportunism need to be at their peak.
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