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Europa League • Real Betis-AC Milan Preview: Walking Wounded



Many saw Real Betis as our biggest competition in our Europa League Group. But in our last meeting, Milan proved that we were our own biggest competition, with a performance that deserved the defeat, no disrespect to Real Betis. And that was in our house. So tomorrow, we have to go to their house and return the favor. Only I doubt they will be so helpful to play as poorly as we did. And also, our injuries make us more like the walking wounded.

At least this time Cutrone should get the start

After beating us 2-1 at the San Siro two weeks ago, Real Betis went on to record a loss in La Liga, a win in the Copa del Rey, and a 3-3 draw this past weekend in La Liga. That drops them to 14th place in their league. For their draw on Sunday, Setién lined up Lopez; Mandi, Bartra, Sidnei, Francis, Carvalho, Guardado, Firpo; Canales, Lo Celso; and Morón. But currently sitting at the top of our group on seven points, they have the psychological advantage going into this match.

Gattuso’s side are on six points, currently second in group F, so with only two more match days after this one, they need a win tomorrow or risk not qualifying for the next stage. But they will have to do it without a number of key players. Castillejo is suspended, of course, after his late red in the previous matchup. Higuain will not be available after the knock he took on Sunday. Also missing still are Calabria and Bonaventura, with Biglia, Conti, Caldara, and Strinic all dealing with long-term injuries. Calhanoglu is back, which is great news, but with all of those other injuries, our midfield looks like a graveyard for washed up players.

Hopefully Gattuso embraces this match with as much enthusiasm

Milan Romagnoli has managed to dig deep and find some mentality to pull off the last two wins in Serie A, especially after the incomprehensibly demoralizing loss to Real Betis before.  But now there are reports the captain could be rested tomorrow. I don’t know what Gattuso’s plans are for a starting lineup, let alone if he’ll remember to sub at all, but I don’t have a lot of hope that he’ll do the right thing. Which in and of itself is demoralizing to players and fans alike, and unnecessary, especially since we are already the walking wounded.


This post inspired by the music of Ludos “Love Me Dead”


Europa League Group Stage
Real Betis vs. AC Milan
Thursday, November 8 • 21:00 CET (3pm EST)
This match will be broadcast LIVE on Univision Deportes USA  in the U.S.