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Sassuolo-Milan Preview: Beauty and the Beast

After debuting Milan’s beautiful new kits last weekend, Milan are heading to the Stadio Città del Tricolore to try and slay the beast. That beast, of course, being Sassuolo. First they killed that Champions League finalist coach Massimiliano Allegri last year… well that’s not quite true, they rescued us from his evil grasp so that we would not fall prey to his success. Their next victim was Inzaghi, and they began our ascent into the depths of the Serie A table at the beginning of this calendar year with a defeat, too. Football is not a fairy tale, though, so don’t expect Sunday’s match to end happily ever after. This one is going to be more like a horror film version of Beauty and the Beast. And spoiler alert: Milan will fall to the beast, it’s just how this season goes.

Not even Honda's amazing fashion aesthetic could save him from the Beast

Don’t think that they will be less inclined to sink their teeth into Milan just because they are mathematically clear of relegation, either. Sassuolo’s owner, Giorgio Squinzi, may be a Milanista, but he has had no problem with his team defeating Milan in every Serie A meeting thus far.  Di Francesco, having been briefly sacked last year and with Inzaghi being first choice as his replacement at that time, will have no problems beating our young tactician for a second time in the league this year. Most recently, his 16th place team beat 19th place Cesena last Sunday. For that match, he lined up Consigli; Vrsajlko, Acerbi, Cannavaro, Peluso; Missiroli, Biondini, Taider; Zaza, Sansone, and Berardi. He will be without Antei and Terranova due to longterm injuries, but should have most of the rest of his squad available.

Inzaghi will still have Menez suspended, of course, and be missing Agazzi, Montolivo, Rami, and Essien to long term injuries. De Sciglio sprained his ankle this week in training, so is doubtful, and El Shaarawy and Alex trained with the squad this week, but are still in question. There are also fitness questions for Antonelli and Cerci. And while Muntari has either magnanimously removed himself from the squad, or selfishly said he refuses to play for a team where he has no future, depending on your viewpoint, Sassuolo players can rest assured that he will not kill them this week. At least not on the pitch.

Milan have only overcome the Beast when there was a trophy on the line... the Trofeo TIM or the Coppa Italia

But the two biggest questions for Inzaghi hover over two unfamiliar names: consistency and grinta. Neither have made many appearances for Milan this season, and it’s hard to imagine they would show up for a match with a lower table team when there is really nothing to play for but dignity, that other name which has gone missing this season. Even if Milan’s new kits make them Beauty in this scenario, without some grinta or a little consistency or even just plain dignity, the Beast will likely destroy us once again. It’s a tale as old as time, or something like that.

Warning: This fairy tale is not intended for children, especially not before bedtime. Or Milan fans. Milan fans should not read this, especially before bedtime. Or human beings. In fact no one should read this, it’s a terrible tragedy, and there is enough tragedy in this world already.

This post inspired by the music of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” Soundtrack

Sassuolo vs. Milan
Sunday, May 17 • 12:30 CEST (6:30am EDT)
This match will be shown LIVE on RAI in the U.S.