Having drawn their last three games in the league, facing Cagliari, Atalanta and Empoli, Milan will certainly look to get back to winning ways this evening, with the pressure mounting on the squad as well as head coach Gennaro Gattuso.
The Rossoneri’s start to the season has been anything but enjoyable, much like the past seasons, failing to live up to the hype that was created during the summer. With most of the players’ confidence hitting rock bottom, Gattuso’s men will have to put the past behind in order to regain positions in the standings.
Tonight, they will take on Sassuolo away from home. Even though the Neroverdi have been considered as the ‘boogie team’ for Milan in recent years, Gattuso’s men have defeated them in the last two games at the Mapei Stadium. However, knowing Milan’s form, nothing should be taken for granted.
For Milan fans, the start has been a frustrating one. Even though the team has at times shown great heights, often during the first halves, the last 45 have then been a period of great anxiety for the Rossoneri. In fact, 88% of the goals conceded by Milan in this campaign have been in the second half – the highest ratio in 2018-19.
With that said, the players must overcome the mental barrier that seems to be holding them back each and every game. In addition to this, opportunities must be converted in order to close the games before things go south. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much you dominate the games, all that counts is the points you take away from them.
The belief in Gattuso is decreasing week after week, but should his side manage to put in a convincing performance later tonight, then that would certainly ease some pressure. A win would see them go up to nine points, most likely meaning 8-10th place in the standings, depending on how the rest of the games finish today. However, it should also be mentioned that the Rossoneri have a game in hand (against Genoa), which with a win would see them go within a point of Sassuolo in third, should they win tonight.
As Borini, Cutrone and Higuain are all struggling with injuries, it is believed that the summer purchase Castillejo will start as the striker tonight. On the flanks, Suso and Calhanoglu will keep their spots, though the latter will really have to improve. Taking this into account, Gattuso will have to find some new ideas as he doesn’t have an out-and-out striker, though Castillejo will certainly be able to offer great pace.
Perhaps more importantly, though, the defence will have to look more secure than what has been displayed as of late. Unlike last season, now there seems to be an overhanging worry once the opponents get close to Milan’s penalty area. Obviously, it is something you would have to expect after Bonucci’s departure, as his replacement Musacchio really didn’t play much last season.
Tonight’s test certainly won’t be easy, as De Zerbi’s men are loving life thus far, though it will certainly be decisive.
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