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Europa League • AC Milan-F91 Dudelange: For Honor



Dudelange are already mathematically eliminated from the Group Stage of the Europa League. But that won’t stop them from bravely coming to the San Siro and playing honorably for their club and for all of Luxembourg. Being the first Luxembourg team to play in the Europa League Group Stage is something they’ll always be able to claim, but taking points from a team like Milan at the San Siro would make them a legend. So despite knowing they will not progress, this match, they’re playing for honor.

Higuain can't play in Serie A right now, but will be available for the Europa League

Dudelange currently sit in third place in the Luxembourg top division, having held Victoria Rosport to a 2-2 draw on the weekend. For that match, Toppmöller lined up Esposito, Schnell, Moreira, Prempeh, Melisse, Kruska, Kenia, Stolz, Couturier, Sinani, and Perez. He will be missing Joubert to injury, but should have a full squad otherwise.

Gattuso is missing his ability to sub and thus half his squad. Bonaventura’s surgery was yesterday. His knee condition was apparently very serious, and he will definitely be out for the rest of the season. Biglia and Caldara are expected to be out until at least February. Musacchio and Romagnoli could return as early as two weeks from now. Additionally, Gattuso has left Kessie out of this squad as he is not fully fit. Conti is not available to play in the Europa League, as he was left off of the UEFA list at the beginning of the year due to his long-term injury. Then there is Castillejo, who received a red card against Real Betis at the San Siro and is serving the second match of his two game suspension.

Gattuso changed 9 starters last time. How many this time?

Of those players who are still left standing, Gattuso has only called up 18. For our last match against Dudelange, I thought that him calling up only 19 players was disrespectful to our own team. But this time, I think it is also dishonorable to Dudelange. Even if it seems that with so many injuries right now, it seems like he’s bringing everyone he can, he’s not. On Sunday against Lazio, he called up 22 players.

People have called Gattuso a general, and I can’t think of a more apt comparison right now. He’s like one of those generals who sends all of his best troops to the front line in a formation that guarantees death and injury. And as they start dropping, he just sends more troops, refusing to change anything for their safety. Even though he has changed formations on the pitch, just to change formations, he is unable and/or unwilling to use the formation that worked best. For tomorrow, he will literally use a back three based on if he has a fourth defender available or not. And he will obviously change the lineup considerably again, like he did in our other match against Dudelange. The first time was disrespectful, this time it is more out of practicality and having no soldiers left to field. But his substitutions, which have traditionally gotten later and less effective this season, have also hurt his squad so much. The fact that he was so flippant about not subbing at all on Sunday while not making the correlation that he’ll have even fewer players available as each game goes forward, is the most disconcerting.

Trying to win at literally at all costs

Considering that Dudelange have not won a single match of their Europa League Group Stage this season, on paper, this is an easy win. But with Milan’s injury woes and a coach that is increasingly stubborn as his players drop, it is also an easy loss. Milan need a win to stay in the group and have the possibility to progress to the next round, too. Milan will be playing just to win, but Dudelange will be playing for honor.


This post inspired by the music of U2’s Pride (In the Name of Love)


Europa League Group Stage
AC Milan vs. F91 Dudelange
Thursday, November 29 • 18:55 CET (12:55pm CET)
This match will be shown LIVE on Univision Deportes USA in the U.S.