SPAL vs. AC Milan: Previewing the Champions League decider

Milan vs Frosinone - Serie A TIM 2018/2019

This evening, AC Milan will take on SPAL away from home, in what will be their final game of the season. As expected, it will also be a very important one, as the Rossoneri are in need of a win in order to keep their Champions League dream alive. 

Since Juventus failed to beat Atalanta last weekend, the Bergamo side still have the upper hand against Milan, currently sitting one point ahead of Gattuso’s men with 66 points in third place. Inter, meanwhile, are in fourth with the same amount of points. In other words, it’s not only in the Rossoneri’s hand this evening, as they will need help from either Sassuolo or Empoli. Continue reading

Champions League Race: A Comprehensive Breakdown

With the Champions League race going down to the wire in Serie A, the final match-day promises to make for exciting viewing. Atalanta, Inter and Milan are separated by a mere point, while the possibility of Roma sneaking in can’t be discounted either.

At the moment, it is Gasperini’s men, and Spalletti’s nerazzurri that control their own fate, while the other two sides are on the outside looking in – albeit a little too close for comfort. As entry to Europe’s elite competition promises a pitfall of cash and prestige, achieving Champions League football is of the utmost importance, and could have serious repercussions on any of these sides’ transfer windows.

Let’s being with Gasperini’s Atalanta. Against all odds, gli Orobici find themselves in third, and control their own destiny in their final game. Win, and they qualify for the Champions League. After an impressive season that saw them play high-flying football, and reach the Coppa Italia final, Atalanta could cap it off with a berth in next season’s Champions League.

While technically they are the home side for this clash, Atalanta have recently been remodelling their stadium, conveniently relocated all their remaining home games to Sassuolo. As luck would have it, Atalanta’s last game is, of course, against Sassuolo.

The neroverdi have nothing to play for, but have always proven to be a difficult opposition. However, in their first game, Gasperini’s men dispatched them rather easily, pumping six past Sassuolo. With Duvan Zapata, Alejandro Gomez, and Josip Ilicic firing on all cylinders, they should have enough to beat the “visitors”.

Inter, on the other hand, take on Empoli at the San Siro. With Empoli languishing in and around the relegation zone, the Tuscan-based outfit will be fighting for their life, and won’t be easy to overcome. In fact, Aurelio Andreazzoli’s men have been one of the league’s most in-form sides, winning their last three games. As a result, this clash won’t be as straightforward as the table suggests, and the nerazzurri will need to be at their best.

Inter’s cross-town rivals, Milan, will be travelling to the Stadio Paolo Mazza to take on SPAL 2013. After months of being in the top four, the rossoneri now find themselves in fifth, however, just one point back of Atalanta and Inter. Should Gattuso’s men claim the victory, and either of their competitors drops points, Milan will be making their long-awaited return to Champions League football. If they don’t, however, they will be kicking themselves, as they were in the driver’s seat for the most part of the season.

While Milan will need some help to qualify, at the very least, their odds are better than Roma’s. Ranieri’s men will need a small miracle to qualify on the final match-day. They’ll need to beat Parma by five clear goals, while Milan and Inter lose, and Atalanta avoid defeat. Unlikely.

Otherwise, they’ll need to win, while all of their other competitors lose their games. Another unlikely scenario. Much like Milan, Roma have themselves to blame for this, and have been dropping points to the league’s provinciali all season.

In any case, whichever way this race ends, there will be fireworks. Either Gasperini’s Atalanta cap off their phenomenal cinderella season in impressive fashion, or both Milan giants will be returning to Europe’s elite competition together. And Roma, well, best of luck. You’ll need it.

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Fiorentina 0-1 AC Milan: Calhanoglu header keeps Rossoneri in Champions League race

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AC Milan were under pressure this evening against Fiorentina, as Atalanta won their game earlier today, forcing the Rossoneri to grab all three points in order to stay within reach of a top-four finish. 

Fortunately for Gattuso’s men, they managed to snatch a victory at Artemio Franchi, which is their first at that stadium since 2014. In other words, a very important signal to send as the Champions League race is coming to an end. However, despite the win, they will have to depend on other teams to slip up in order to get what they want.  Continue reading

Is sending Bakayoko back to Chelsea the right choice for AC Milan?

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Just a few weeks ago, the redemption of Bakayoko seemed like a must for AC Milan ahead of next season. However, in recent days, new reports suggest the opposite, with the Rossoneri reportedly re-evaluating the situation. 

The claims came about as it was revealed that Bakayoko had arrived an hour late for training this week, which subsequently led to the squad being sent into a training retreat ahead of Monday’s clash with Bologna. Gattuso was upset with the behaviour of the players, and the Frenchman’s actions was the final straw. Continue reading

Torino 2-0 AC Milan: Champions League looking tough for the Rossoneri

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AC Milan are on thin ice in the race for a spot in next year’s Champions League, following a terrible display away at Torino this evening, resulting in a 2-0 loss and a red card for their captain Alessio Romagnoli. 

The Rossoneri looked very scrappy from the start, failing to get their play up and running against a hard-working Torino side, who were energized by the home crowd. In fact, within the first 16 minutes, Milan had accumulated three yellow cards as Torino made the most out of a sluggish opposition. Continue reading

Parma 1-1 AC Milan: Scrappy performance results in useless draw for the Rossoneri

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AC Milan failed to do what was needed, as Parma managed to find an equaliser at the death. However, one could argue that the home side deserved the point, as Gattuso’s men looked uninspired for the entire game. 

The Rossoneri had a chance to make a leap in fourth place, increasing the distance between themselves and Roma as well as Atalanta, who will face Inter and Napoli respectively this round. However, in classic Milan fashion, they failed to do so, putting in a terrible display overall.  Continue reading

AC Milan vs. Lazio: Pressure mounts ahead of Champions League clash

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AC Milan are faced with a big test this evening, taking on Lazio who are right behind them in the race for a Champions League spot, with one game in hand to add some extra pressure on Gattuso’s men.

Therefore, tonight’s clash between the two will be very decisive in many ways. It’s safe to say that the winner will hold an advantage for the remainder of the season when it comes to finishing top four. Not only because of the points at stake, but also because of the confidence boost that one of the sides will get in case of a win.

The Rossoneri, who performed really well against Juventus despite losing 2-1, will be looking to replicate the performance last time out in order to properly challenge and in-form Lazio, even though the latter drew their last game (2-2 against Sassuolo at home). In these games, however, the previous form never seems to matter.

Historically, Milan hold an advantage against Lazio, especially when it comes to playing at the San Siro. In fact, the Rossoneri are unbeaten since 1989 against Lazio at home in Serie A (P28 W17 D11), while they have never previously had an unbeaten home streak of 29 games against a single opponent in the competition.

TEAM NEWS

As previously mentioned, Gattuso’s men performed really well against Juventus, and really deserved to get away with at least a draw. Therefore, the manager is expected to continue with the same starting eleven.

Donnarumma and Paqueta will miss out on the game due to injury, but are expected the return very soon. In fact, the goalkeeper could reportedly be ready for the Parma game next week, while the Brazilian might need a little more time still.

There had also been talks of Zapata possibly replace Musacchio in the line-up, as the latter hasn’t exactly impressed in the last few weeks. Against Juventus, he was responsible for a very clumsy challenge on Dybala, which allowed the Bianconeri to level the scores. However, the latest reports all suggest that he will get a new chance.

Borini will play from start once again up front, evidently impressing the manager during the Juventus game. This will allow Calhanoglu to stay in the midfield, now that Paqueta is injured. Despite him not being a fan favourite, many would agree that Borini puts in the effort required, although some would like to see Castillejo in his place.

Likely AC Milan XI (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Calabria, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Kessie, Bakayoko, Calhanoglu; Suso, Piatek, Borini.

PREDICTION

Just like any Milan game nowadays, it’s hard to call. It all comes down to consistency, which the Rossoneri haven’t exactly displayed as of late. Should they replicate the performance they had against Juventus, then they should get all three points this evening. However, they might as well fall back into their slump again, and then it will be very difficult against a persistent Lazio side.

AC Milan 2-1 Lazio

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AC Milan 1-1 Udinese: A must-win ends in misery for Gattuso’s men

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AC Milan failed to bounce back from two consecutive losses in the league, facing Udinese in front of a big crowd at the San Siro. The away side managed to snatch a point, while the Rossoneri’s fourth place is now at risk.

For their manager, Gennaro Gattuso, a storm of criticism awaits. In addition to this, the pressure is certainly piling up, as his side managed to take only one point from their last three games. Considering the opponents were Inter, Sampdoria and Udinese, this is unacceptable.

Now, their spot in the top four is in serious doubt, as Lazio only are four points behind with two games in hand. In other words, given the form Inzaghi’s men are in, the Champions League spot could soon be long gone for the San Siro side.

After the fiasco last weekend against Sampdoria, many had hoped to see some improvement this evening. However, instead we got to see something similar, with Milan once again failing to deliver enough quality at the back and up front.

Gattuso switched things up with a 4-3-1-2 formation but that plan went out the window already in the first half as Paqueta came off injured. Castillejo was brought on to replace him, but we all know that the Spaniard isn’t a trequartista. Therefore, the formation change ended up being more of a problem for the Rossoneri players.

Furthermore, as the players failed to perform at the highest of their standards, Udinese grew in confidence as the game progressed, while Milan evidently struggled. The goal conceded, however, was a bit unfortunate for Gattuso’s men, as it came after a great chance for Piatek which was squandered.

On the other hand, Milan’s goal also came out of the blue, more or less. However, Cutrone and Piatek showed why they should continue to play together up front, linking up really well throughout the game and especially on the goal. Tonight, that wasn’t enough though, as strikers can only do so much without proper service.

All in all, two points dropped, which could turn out to be decisive at the end of the season. Next weekend a big clash against Juventus awaits, and after that the Rossoneri will take on Lazio at the San Siro, which will be crucial for both sides with regards to fourth place.

With Paqueta potentially missing the game against Juventus, Gattuso should switch back to the 4-3-3 formation, alternatively use a 4-4-2 formation with Piatek and Cutrone up front. However, when the confidence is this low, it’s hard to see Milan getting anything out of that clash anyway.

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Sampdoria vs. AC Milan: The Rossoneri’s chance to bounce back from derby loss

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This evening, AC Milan will take on Sampdoria away from home, looking to bounce back from the disappointing derby loss two weeks ago. However, it will be far from easy for Gattuso’s men, even though they are favourites heading into the game. 

Giampaolo’s men have caused Milan problems before, especially in the first tie between the two sides this season. Eventually, the Rossoneri came away with the victory at San Siro (3-2), but the away side certainly proved how lethal they can be up front. Gattuso was keen to point this out during the press conference, stating that his side will need a great performance.

“We have to be aware of the fact that this team has already put us in difficulty this year. They have incredible players up front, and the concede little at the back. We will need a great performance. We want to bounce back,” Gattuso said about the game. Continue reading