Having completed their pre-season tour, AC Milan are now getting ready for the Serie A opener next weekend. For Giampaolo, it will be an important week of training, as he will have to decide on the starting eleven for the Udinese clash.
The Rossoneri played their final pre-season game last night, drawing 0-0 away at Cesena. Despite several chances, Giampaolo’s men lacked composure in the critical moments, squandering most of what came their way. However, even though Milan certainly should have done better, it was not all bad.
At times, we got to see some good link-up play between the attackers, which more often than not resulted in good chances. As mentioned, though, the final touch just wasn’t there last night. With that said, apart from the style of play, the game did leave us with a hint of how the starting eleven will look come next Sunday.
The defence is pretty much set, as Giampaolo has opted to play four players a bit more compared to the others. On the right flank, Calabria is expected to retain his spot, while Rodriguez should slot in on the other side as a result of Hernandez’ injury. In the centre, Romagnoli will most likely pair up with Musacchio, as the Argentine is the only reasonable option available.
So, no surprises there, as Giampaolo has made it pretty clear during the pre-season that those are the players that he wants to bet on. Once Hernandez returns, though, Rodriguez will most likely move to the bench. Furthermore, Musacchio could be replaced by Duarte, should the latter impress the manager.
Further up the pitch, despite the arrival of Bennacer, Biglia is set to start as the regista in the three-man midfield. Now, here is where it gets tricky. During pre-season, Borini and Calhanoglu have started a majority of the games alongside Biglia. However, as Kessie and Paqueta have returned from extended holiday, Giampaolo has a tough decision ahead.
Up front, just like the defence, the roles are pretty much set. Suso, who has become a favourite of the manager, will start behind the strikers in the trequartista role. The Spaniard will have to provide his attacking partners with the right service, as he did so well last season. Piatek is a certainty in the front two, although the same can’t be said for Castillejo. Perhaps, Giampaolo will opt for the new signing, Rafael Leao.
Likely AC Milan XI (4-3-1-2): Donnarumma; Calabria, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Kessie, Biglia, Calhanoglu; Suso; Castillejo, Piatek.
The midfield, as mentioned, is the biggest question mark. Really, it’s an open race between Kessie-Borini and Calhanoglu-Paqueta. Based on the pre-season, the feeling is that Giampaolo will start Calhanoglu, while Borini could be benched as it isn’t his position to begin with. Only one week remains, and then we will know.
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