Monthly Archive: May 2023

Week 37: Juventus – Milan

Juventus – Milan May 28 2023 20:45CET

Beating the already relegated Sampdoria 5-1 provided some relief and a rare rout for Milan. Combined with Juventus’ now 10 points penalty for false accounting it catapulted Milan to the Champions League spots. On the same day Juventus received news of the new verdict on their 15 points penalty appeal they fell 4-1 to Empoli. Milan now have a chance to confirm a top four spot with one point from this and next week’s final home game versus Verona.

With Bennacer out long term alongside Ibra and Florenzi the line up is somewhat predictable. Maignan will start behind Calabria, Thiaw, Tomori and Theo. Tonali and Krunic will be the midfield pivots behind Diaz, Messias and Leao. Giroud is practically the only option up front. The shift is already focusing to the summer market with Diaz’ fate one of the most talked about. His two year Real Madrid loan is expiring and multiple reports claim Milan will try to buy him for 20 or 30 million. His very inconsistent matches at Milan make that possibility at least a bit questionable. There is lots more on the plate for the summer and some will as always be predicated on Champions League qualification. While we all still wait for Leao’s extension to be confirmed.

Juventus will feature a lot of big names of course with Angel Di Maria, Federico Chiesa and Moise Kean the threats up front. Dusan Vlahovic is out however.

There is always more about this match and others on the forums.

Week 36: Milan – Sampdoria

Milan – Sampdoria May 20 2023 20:45CET

Exit from the Champions League at the hands of a city rival leaves a bitter taste. With top 4 at serious risk this season is on the verge of a big regression. Pioli, but not solely he, must face the consequences and perhaps be let go. The summer may necessitate big changes but will Milan spend or just follow a elongated series of bargain hunts. Leao may, finally, be set for a long stay at Milan but there is plenty more to fix and improve.

Week 36 has Milan hosting Sampdoria, a team already relegated. Will this mean this is an easy match? History says otherwise. Any chance of securing a Champions League spot rests on beating Sampdoria, and Juve and Verona in the coming weeks as well.

Bennacer, post knee surgery, is the only – long term – absentee. Ibra is of course out as well. There is little quality for Pioli to rely on up front. Giroud will get a start as the fate of Origi is almost sealed. He may not be a Milan player come September. He will rank as one of the bigger disappointments. Diaz, Leao and possibly Messias will play behind the Frenchman. Krunic and Tonali are almost certain starting pivots in front of Theo, Thiaw, Tomori and Calabria. Maignan has done extremely well in the midst of this 2023 crisis and should be Milan’s player of season. His long midseason absence is the only thing that could count against him.

Dejan Stankovic’s men are about to conclude a disastrous season which has been tumultuous on and off the pitch. The team’s Serie B future looks bleak and a quick Serie A return is not the most expected outcome. Ownership questions are anything but settled.

There is always more about this match and others on the forums.

Champions League Semifinals Second Leg: Inter – Milan

Inter – Milan
May 16 2023 21:00CET Champions League semifinals second leg

Milan have reached a new crisis point. Losing to two early goals to Inter in the Champions League semifinals first leg pushed Milan deeper into a messy end of season. The team followed it up by losing to Spezia by the same score. The so called necessary rotation in this busy stretch has exposed the team’s weaknesses even more than would be expected. Players like Origi and De Ketelaere have shown next to nothing and continue to rank high on any flops list.

Leao is said to be fine and could return for this second leg and his presence is hoped to be the catalyst for a comeback. Overturning a two goal deficit would be one of the most unexpected outcomes but Champions League in particular can be the stage for a Milan surprise. Having said that the chances of not making the final and finishing outside the top 4 in the Serie A are the likeliest scenarios as of right now. The focus has certainly shifted on management and Pioli’s shortcomings and mistakes. One such issue remains the status of Adli. His solid cameo appearance at Spezia added to the many selection questions being asked in recent weeks and months. All in all the team needs a lot more quality if it expects to compete at a higher level. Talk of signings never go away but will accelerate in the coming weeks. If Milan is to miss Europe’s biggest tournament all of the rumours will come with an asterisk attached.

Inter’s form is of course much better than Milan’s and they could run up the score unless the old Champions League DNA thing rescues Milan. Not many line up changes are expected and Milan should be facing Edin Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez once again. It remains to be seen if Leao vs Matteo Darmian, Denzel Dumfries and co. will end up in Milan’s favour.

There is always more about this match and others on the forums.

Week 35: Spezia – Milan

Spezia – Milan May 13 2023 18:00CET

Most fears came to be realized when a Leao less Milan lost to Inter in the Champions League semifinals first leg. Inter’s two early goals sunk Milan to a 2-0 loss and recovering from the deficit in next week’s return leg will take a monumental effort. In between these games is another meeting with a lowly team. Spezia are in a relegation fight and as is often the case one can expect Milan to struggle to break down such a team. For the same aforementioned reason Pioli will rotate and rest. Recent results when doing so have led to even poorer performances and dropped points. Milan now risk missing out on the much needed top 4 spot and leaving the Champions League tournament empty handed.

Not surprisingly injuries have piled up once again. Bennacer injured his knee during the European derby and will require arthroscopic surgery. The Algerian is therefore out for a few months. Leao will not be risked in the hope that he will be close to 100% next midweek. Now Milan also have to contend with Messias and Krunic carrying knocks. Thiaw has a yellow cards suspension to add to Milan’s selection headaches. All this, ofcourse, leaves Milan with little options. It looks like Kalulu will play in central defense, likely with Tomori as his partner. Pobega might get a start. Vranckx is also a possibility along with Tonali. Up front Giroud is set for rest as the disappointing Origi gets another chance. Speaking of chances and disappointing this looks to be another for De Ketelaere. The Belgian is one of the best definition of ‘not settled’ and this is basically a lost season for the promising attacking player.

The hosts will be without Daniel Maldini who is carrying the muscular injury. Leonardo Semplici’s men have not won a match since they beat Inter in early March.

There is always more about this match and others on the forums.

Champions League Semifinals First Leg: Milan – Inter

Milan – Inter May 10 2023 21:00CET
Champions League semifinals first leg

Against most expectations Milan have made it to the semifinals of the 2022-2023 Champions League. The opponents can claim to have reached the same stage unexpectedly too. Defeating Napoli in the quarterfinals was a victory against form. Milan had started the calendar year in disastrous form but fortunes had improved somewhat by the time the Champoions League quarter finals came around and the “DNA” showed and Milan beat Serie A leaders. Can the same be done against Inter? Both teams are in a tough and tight league fight for the right to be at next year’s European competition. The rivalry will reach another level having to play two matches inside a week.

Leao limped off very early during the weekend match against Lazio. He claimed that he is fine and could be ready for this match but muscle issues demand caution and he is likely to be replaced by Rebic or perhaps by Saelemaekers and therefore start on the bench. The rest of the starting 11 is likely to be very predictable. Maignan will be behind a back four of Calabria, Kjaer, Tomori and Theo. The latter scored another individual highlight goal in the 2-0 win against Lazio. Tonali and Krunic will continue to start as midfield pivots with Bennacer and Diaz further ahead behind Giroud, to be joined by one of the aforementioned wingers. The game is likely to be a tale of fullback against full back – Theo vs Federico Dimarco in particular – and Inter trying to take advantage of Milan’s defensive line by unleashing Edin Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez behind them and onto Milan’s goal. Form, league form especially, is unlikely to matter with a European final at play.

Romelu Lukaku is likely to be on the bench and there is a chance that ex-Milan player Hakan Calhanoglu will be too. Robin Gosens is on the sidelines joining Milan Skriniar on Inter’s injured list.

The game is expected to bring in record revenue for the team and could be a good international showcase for Serie A, something which it has lacked in recent seasons.

There is always more about this match and others on the forums.

Week 34: Milan – Lazio

Milan – Lazio May 6 2023 15:00CET

Milan all but threw away a top four spot by dropping yet more points against a lowly team. The 1-1 home tie versus in Cremonese comes amidst a busy run of games that includes the Champions League semis against Inter. The schedule compels coaches to rotate and rest some players of course but Milan’s bench has been shown to be below sub par and Pioli’s use of the players at his disposal questionable. The alarming ineffectiveness De Ketelaere has reached a new low level with the flop word deservedly being used. The lack of an Adli sighting has yet more observers scratching their heads. Giroud and Diaz are among those who need to do more and take their chances more.

With a relatively healthy team and the need to win few surprises are expected. Some reports claim that Diaz will be benched in favour for midweek goal scorer Messias. Otherwise the starting 11 should feature Maignan, Calabria, Kjaer, Tomori and Theo at the back. Tonali and Krunic should be the midfield anchors with Bennacer in the now settled further forward spot. Messias and Leao behind Giroud are the likely forward line.

Mattia Zaccagni is a question mark for Lazio but Sarri’s men count on Ciro Immobile up front. Alessio Romagnoli is of course at the heart of Lazio’s back line.

Lazio had been riding high and still sit second in the Serie A table. Two losses in their last three games comes after an impressive league run earlier in the year. It is of course a must win for Milan if the fading top four chances are to be preserved. Milan are currently in sixth place tied at 58 points with Atalanta and Roma. Lazio are only six points ahead.

Congratulations go out to Napoli for winning their first Scudetto in 33 years.

Week 33: Milan – Cremonese

Milan – Cremonese May 3 2023 21:00CET

Week 32 match at Roma turned out to be a crucial one. The two teams were tied in the standings and lcked in tight battle for a top 4 spot. The match was Mourinho-esque with Roma creating little and Milan locked into unproductive possession. An added time Tammy Abraham goal looked to have won it for the hosts but Saelemaekers, a sub, tapped in an equalizer even deeper into added time. The point has the top four even more of logjam.

With the Champions League semi derby coming up and of course the final six games of the Serie A season as well Milan will need to use rested players for some matches and this meeting with Cremonese will be one of them. The last times Milan started a “B team” it backfired with points dropped against Bologna and Lecce. Milan can not afford more of those outcomes. De Ketelaere, Origi and Vranckx are the likely starters for this midweek match. The former two have shown little to none when playing but must improve as three points is required versus the 19th placed visitors to the San Siro.

Cremonese feature Frank Tsadjout. The name is of course familiar to Milan fans but he is out injured. Cremonese are led by Davide Ballardini. The coach has never led a team for than a year and he has been at the helm of the Grigiorossi only since January.

There is always more about this match and others on the forums.