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Monday November 19 2018
Milan limp toward Lazio

The international break has brought no respite for Milan on the injury front, leaving Gaby McKay wondering who will actually play against Lazio.

For many clubs the international break serves as an opportunity to regroup, rest and recover some injured players.

Juventus Coach Massimiliano Allegri spoke about using the two weeks to nurse Federico Bernardeschi back to full fitness, while Lazio hope to allow Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to recuperate from a knee inflammation. The Serbian could be back in time to face Milan, but the break has been far from kind to the Rossoneri.

Gennaro Gattuso’s squad had already been decimated by injury, with Mattia Caldara, Lucas Biglia, Giacomo Bonaventura and Mateo Musacchio expected to be out until the new year. Davide Calabria has also been struggling with injury, while left-back Ivan Strinic is back in training after a heart issue, but is nowhere near ready to start matches.

The Coach must have been banging his head off his Milanello desk then, when Alessio Romagnoli was forced to pull out of the Italy squad with an injury. The injury was sustained in training on Friday, with CT Roberto Mancini confirming that he’d return to his club for scans.

The following day it was confirmed that the centre-back has a calf tear, which is likely to keep him out of action for at least four weeks. As if that wasn’t bad enough, it was reported last night that Hakan Calhanoglu has suffered another flare-up of a persistent ankle problem, putting him in doubt for the Lazio match too.

The frustrating thing for the Rossoneri is that Sunday night’s fixture is one of the biggest of their season. Most engaging in Serie A betting would have the two sides down as likely Champions League contenders, and indeed just one point separates the Aquile in fourth from the Diavolo one place behind.

The match should be the highlight of the Serie A weekend, but Milan go into the game severely under strength. Romagnoli and Caldara are seen by many as the future of the Italy defence, but neither will be taking to the pitch in Rome on Sunday. Promising right-back Andrea Conti was close to a return before picking up a suspension following an Under-23 match, while star striker Gonzalo Higuain is also suspended after his red card against former side Juventus.

Gattuso is down to the bare bones in defence and without his talisman up-front, but it may well be that midfield is the real issue for his side. The Coach spent much of the early weeks of the season talking up Biglia’s importance, but he looks unlikely to return until March. Former captain Riccardo Montolivo is persona non grata at Milanello, leaving Tiemoué Bakayoko as the only viable alternative.

The Frenchman has improved in recent weeks, and was actually rather impressive against Juventus before the break, but his sloppy passing and erratic technique have drawn whistles from the San Siro crowd more than once. Gattuso has been keen to defend the Chelsea loanee publicly in recent weeks, but one suspects that’s more down to necessity than conviction.

In total the Rossoneri look set to be without nine first team players for one of the most crucial matches of the season, and that’s assuming Calabria and Patrick Cutrone are fit.

Questions will be asked as to why this squad has been so hard hit, with medical staff, Gattuso’s training and the number of matches played all likely to come under the microscope.

In the here and now though that hardly matters, Milan must play the hand they’ve been dealt. Gattuso has surprised many with his impact on the Diavolo since taking over, and dealing with an injury crisis of this magnitude could really prove his mettle as a Coach.

Have your say...
I love milan but I do not fully trust Gattuso. I do not understand why Borini plays for milan and why he is choosing bakayoko over bertolacci.WHen caldara came in he should be an starter immediately just like Higuain. Caldara is one of the best defender in serie a and the future of italy. Why letting locatelli leave and keeping Mauri. Why not integrate youth like matteo Gabbia and Emmanuele Torassi.These are talented teenage players.
on the 23rd November, 2018 at 2:38pm
Lucky we're close to transfer market. I expect a few players on loan due to our charming club finance. probably bring a player or two from our youth squad.
Always Forza Milan.
on the 21st November, 2018 at 3:15am
Gattuso should use the 4-4-2 formation and suppose to give some players to have chance of playing! Donnarumma,Abate,Simic,Zapata,Rodriguez , Mauri kessie, Bakayoko , Suso Borini , Cutrone he will use mauri as defensive midfielder while kessie in a deep lying role Bakayoko as a mezzala while suso as a right attacking wing that will support borini and Cutrone. Though there will be a less creativity but a balance midfield
on the 21st November, 2018 at 12:22am
@anon... Hi Milan yes its me, europa
on the 20th November, 2018 at 8:41pm
Hello Europa League, is that you ?
on the 20th November, 2018 at 7:17pm
Kessie used to be a CB too but he's needed in the midfield.
Watching this injury crisis unfold has felt like watching Milan's season go down the drain.
Myself and Milanisti everywhere are hoping for a miracle that we can get some results and stay in contention for top 4 with this decimated squad.
Milan will be forced to buy/loan a quantity of players in January too which is less than ideal, especially considering FFP.
on the 20th November, 2018 at 2:44am
@ Sam Crow ... idk how factual your claim is,but there was a time when The Milan Training center was the best in world of footy. That’s why greats like Maldini,Cafu,Pippo,Ambrosini,Beckham,Seedorf,Gattuso,Nesta,and others played well in late years. they extremely fit,and bounced back quickly from most major injuries. Was due to trainers regiment and staff.
Maybe now it’s gone downhill a bit like the clubs prestige.
on the 19th November, 2018 at 11:30pm
@anonymous. Agreed, except I'd switch Suso and Samu. Samu is much faster and should play on the wing. Suso was originally a playmaker and it would be interesting to see what he can do in that role at this point in his career. If he's great then it could be a solution going forward for the rest of the season. Seeing the last few games I feel that the Baka-Kessie central axis is very strong/physical and has been a revelation. The 4-4-2/4-2-3-1 needs to be the formation for the rest of the season.
on the 19th November, 2018 at 9:03pm
I would rather see a training ground dummy in the backline than Zapata. That he's still wearing a Milan shirt is an absolute joke.
on the 19th November, 2018 at 8:51pm
@anonymous I agree that would seem the best fit but we will play a 442 with the same players, Castillejo will play forward with Cutrone. Not like we have much of a choice. It will be interesting to see who will even make the bench... this feels like a match that Cutrone gets hurt then what do we do.
on the 19th November, 2018 at 4:03pm
This team is constantly decimated season after season with injuries more than any other sport franchise on the planet. There's something not right about the training techniques/staff!!!
on the 19th November, 2018 at 3:08pm
Donnarumma;
Abate - Zapata - Rodriguez - Laxalt;
Kessie - Bakayoko;
Suso - Castillejo - Borini;
Cutrone

Best we can do. Rodriguez can do a good job in the centre (better than throwing Simic in there). Borini will work hard on the left, hopefully allowing Laxalt a bit of freedom to go forward. Kessie-Baka pairing could do damage in there too.
on the 19th November, 2018 at 1:41pm

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