Monthly Archive: October 2023

Week 10: Napoli – Milan

Napoli – Milan Sunday October 29 2023 20:45CET

A battered Milan on the precipice of a crisis will travel to the Maradona to visit the reigning Serie A champions Napoli. Losing 3-0 to PSG in Paris exposed the team’s limitation and heightened pressure on Pioli especially when it comes to the tactics that allowed the likes of Kylian Mbappe plenty of room to run into. Milan looked second best all over the pitch and have now scored zero goals in three Champions League matches. Giroud looks closer to retirement and Leao huffs and puffs tamely. Injuries limit options even more with Okafor and Jovic unavailable or just simply ineffective.

Napoli will be missing Victor Osimhen and not exactly impressed so far this but Khvicha Kvaratskhelia seems to be regaining form. Facing Rudi Garcia’s men will be Calabria, Kalulu, Tomori and Theo. Thiaw is suspended following a poor red last weekend. Adli is set to keep a starting place as Krunic’s post injury return has been mediocre and worse. Reijnders and Mush should start alongside the Frenchman. With Okafor and Jovic uncertain for the weekend Giroud will likely get another chance to get going. Just weeks ago the French forward was looking ok but has declined and voices for a young forward as early as January are getting louder. Lille’s Canadian Jonathan David is a favoured but expensive option. Pulisic and Leao should play on the wings with little other healthy options available for the team.

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Champions League Matchday 3: PSG – Milan

PSG – Milan Wednesday October 25 2023 21:00CET

An unimpressive Juventus managed to beat Milan 1-0 via a Manuel Locatelli deflected goal. The result was disappointing and while injuries, as is typical for a Milan team, played a part the game was winnable on paper. Maignan and Theo’s suspensions didn’t help wither but Mirante, deputizing for the injured Sportiello, did well when called up on.

Travelling to PSG is not an easy task. The French capital team have not exactly set Europe, of France for that matter, ablaze but in players like Kylian Mbappe have game winners of course.

Milan will be missing Sportiello, Loftus- Cheek and Chukwueze, in addition to Bennacer. Calabria might be on the bench and be spared the duty of defending Mbappe. Krunic, back from injury and often criticized as a Pioli favorite, will likely start ahead of Adli.

The Bosnian did not have good minutes in the sub appearance against Juventus. Giroud and Leao need to get going again in the goal scoring department. Milan’s young, two game Champions League season so far has produced exactly zero goals. Dropping more points will deepen the dent of this European season.

Gianluigi Donnarumma will continue to be the focus of Milan fans’ ire as the goalkeeper’s agent repeated claims that he never wanted to leave Milan. This, more or less, doesn’t match with the reality of the contract offers that were forwarded to the player for more than a year before he left Milan on a free transfer.

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Week 9: Milan – Juventus

Milan – Juventus Sunday October 22 2023 20:45CET

Milan entered the international break after an eventful win in Genoa. The week 8 match ended 1-0 in Milan’s favour via a late Pulisic goal but the much needed win was overshadowed by what happened even later in the match. Maignan was shown a red for a knee to Caleb Ekuban’s head. As Milan had exhausted all subs Giroud put on the goalkeeper’s gloves and proceeded to make a (closed eye) save to rescue the win.

As is now normal the international break has produced new injuries. Chukwueze has returned from international duty with Nigeria with hamstring issues. Late in the week it has been revealed that Sportiello, due to play because of the aforementioned Maignan red, has calf issues and will miss some days. This means Mirante will start in goal versus Juventus. Theo is also missing this match due to yellow cards accumulation. Florenzi and Calabria are going to be the full backs lining up with Thiaw and Tomori in the back. Loftus-Cheeks, Kalulu and Krunic are still unlikely to feature in this game but should all be close to return. The midfield will therefore be Musah, Adli and Reijnders. Up front Pulisic, Giroud and Leo should get another start together.

Juventus are four points and two places behind league leaders Milan. Mattia De Sciglio, Alex Sandro and Danilo are Bianconeri’s missing players.

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Week 8: Genoa – Milan

Genoa – Milan Saturday October 7 2023 20:45CET

Another stalemate with poor finishing being the most talked about aspect left Milan’s Champions League hopes dented. The inability to convert chances in Dortmund increased the pressure on the likes of Giroud and Pioli as well. With no goals scored in the two Champions League games so far Milan will head to PSG later in October in hopes of doing more. Somewhat conversely the Serie A fortunes have improved since the derby drubbing but the busy schedule allows for little recuperation.

The above mentioned whirlwind of games means that Giroud for example is line for another rest. Okafor will deputize. Pulisic could be getting a day off with Chukwueze starting in his place, Leao should retain his spot however. There are little options in midfield with Loftus-Cheek and Krunic out at least until after the upcoming international break. With Pobega, at best, struggling Musah, Adli and Reijnders should be the three starting in the middle. Calabria is not in great form either and Florenzi will be the one taking his place. Thiaw, Tomori and the just turned 26 Theo will complement the back line and start in front of Maignan.

Genoa feature Messias and are now coached by former Milan player Alberto Gilardino. Il Grifone sit in 14th spot as of this weekend but have perhaps looked better than their position indicates.

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Champions League Matchday 2: Borussia Dortmund – Milan

Borussia Dortmund – Milan Wednesday October 4 2023 21:00CET

The derby rout has been followed by mostly positive results. Milan played well and beat Lazio 2-0 in their latest match. Injuries, inevitably, are on the rise however. The good news has been that Maignan was able to return and not remain out long term, even though Sportiello deputized well in the Frenchman’s absence.

The goal now is to reverse the 0-0 stalemate versus Newcastle in the Champions League opener. With two PSG matches ahead Dortmund need to be beaten for Milan to have a chance for the knockout stage of the 2023-2024 Champions League.

The midfield will be missing Krunic, Loftus-Cheek and of course Bennacer. Loftus-Cheek’s limped off on the weekend but his injury is thought to be short term and his presence will be missed. Pioli has only four options with three of them set to start in the 4-3-3. Adli looks to be the odd man out with Musah, Reijnders and Pobega likely starters. Giroud will return to the starting line up and needs to be more effective contributor throughout the whole match. Okafor has done well in relief. Pulisic and Leao are in good form and provide good threat on the wings. Calabria is predicted to start with Florenzi on the bench. Thiaw, Tomori and Theo will complete the back four.

The now Jude Bellingham-less Dortmund feature Marcel Sabitzer, although he is out injured. The perennial second best to Bayern team could opt to play a midfield heavy 3-5-2.

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