Monthly Archive: February 2024

Week 25: Monza – Milan

Monza – Milan Sunday February 18 2024 20:45CET

Fifty two points after 24 rounds is a very good return yet Milan sit in third place with a poor defensive record and questionable tactics from a coach who might not survive beyond the summer. Beating Napoli 1-0 propelled Milan to within striking distance of second place, and with Juventus’ week 25 tie versus Verona a chance to jump one place higher. A convincing European win albeit in the less respected and not as highly viewed Europa League also highlighted the week before travelling to Monza.

Thiaw returned from injury versus Rennes and is a candidate to start. Kjaer had stepped in the last few week but the aging Dane should not be risked with too many games and had momentarily lapses in his recent starts. There are some indications that with another European night coming four days after meeting Monza there might be a small rotation in the squad with Okafor and Jovic getting starts. The latter certainly deserves the chance as the unofficial Giroud backup has done well. Bennacer could hop back to a starting position as well. Gabbia has impressed since his loan return and will keep playing while Tomori (and Kalulu) are out. Calabria came off with a knock versus Napoli with Florenzi ready to step in.

Monza have hovered midtable and have just one win in last five.

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Week 24: Milan – Napoli

Milan – Napoli Sunday February 11 2024 20:45CET

Milan fell behind but with Jovic’s help won at Frosinone. The hold on the top three spot is stronger and with it assurances of Champions League money, with a new expended and confusing format and all. Milan continue to not struggle in the goal scoring aspect despite the need for offence being on top of most minds and rumours. The summer will bring more changes in that and other departments and hopefully a more solid defensive record for next season. Rumours of ownership, management and a coaching change swirl around too.

Napoli are not the Napoli of last season and on their second coach of the season are closer to midtable than the top of the Serie A standing. Walter Mazzarri didn’t start well after Rudy Garcia’s brief time at the helm but more recent results might be promising. Milan host Gli Azzurri on an undefeated run and along with the injury absences this has pushed Pioli to use the same line up. One forced change will see Bennacer start in place of Reijnders because of the latter’s yellow cards suspension. Thiaw, Tomori and Kalulu are getting closer to returns but remain out and this means Kjaer and Gabbia will be the starting central defenders. Calabria and Theo are the full backs. Adli will line up beside the aforementioned Algerian. Pulisic, Loftus-Cheek and Leao will try to keep the run going with Giroud in front of them.

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Week 23: Frosinone – Milan

Frosinone – Milan Saturday February 3 2024 18:00CET

Two missed penalties by Giroud and Theo threw away two points versus Bologna. Joshua Zirkzee’s almost audition like setting was deemed a success but it is not going to be easy to get the striker in the summer as Bayern Munich have some (buy back) control over the Bologna player.

The January window highlighted Milan’s limited hand in transfers. Whether it be a pure money issue or otherwise the window was very quiet and it also hinted that Pioli might be gone in the summer. The coach got very little in reinforcements with Filippo Terracciano the sole arrival. Rumours of Ibra contact with Antonio Conte may or may not be true or based in reality but the team seems to be gearing up with another summer of change that may include changes at management and even ownership level as well. More on this later.

Milan hold on to a relatively comfortable third spot in the Serie A and can solidify it even further. The recent undefeated streak is helping Pioli keep a constant starting 11. Maignan will line up behind Calabria, Kjaer, Gabbia and Theo. Adli and Reijnders have managed to make the pivot positions work for now. Pulisic, Loftus-Cheek and Leao have formed a solid line behind Giroud. Each of the aforementioned can and should contribute more offense and goal with only Loftus-Cheek able to claim to be doing enough. Any possible summer change could mean the 4-2-3-1 is either gone or drastically different next season. Leao has to be more involved and it is not impossible that he is sold to a PSG for example.

Eusebio Di Francesco’s Frosinone attempting to save their season and distance themselves from the relegation zone will provide another test for a Milan that can slip up at the wrong time and against the wrong teams.

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