Udinese-Milan Preview: First Impressions

We’ve seen the friendlies, we have some idea how our new coach wants the team to play. But this one is different. This one is the first step in our season’s journey, which ideally will ultimately end in Champions League qualification. This one matters. New players and playing style aside, Milan need to win this one. Away. No matter what. It’s all about first impressions.

Piatek will be chasing a goalless streak that the media are starting to blow out of proportion

Udinese come into this match as the underdogs here. Having finished last season in 12th place, they didn’t do enough in the mercato to give them a chance to finish much higher. But they are playing at home, and they are playing a Milan side that is still finding their form with a new coach.

In addition to the typical club friendlies, Udinese also played in the Coppa Italia third round on Sunday. They defeated Serie C side FC Südtirol 3-1 in that match. Tudor lined up Musso, Troost-Ekong, Stryger Larsen, Samir, Opoku, Jajalo, De Paul, Fofana, Mondragora, Pussetto, and Lasagna. In addition to playing at the Stadio Friuli, they have the advantage of an apparently full squad, no injuries.

Kevin particularly delights in serving Lasagna to both Milan based clubs

Giampaolo’s debut with the summer friendlies was generally well received, despite only winning in Kosovo to KF Feronikeli. It became clear that the playing style was already much improved, and there was even more to look forward to. However fans were disheartened by the poor performance against Serie C side Cesena that saw them play to a nil-nil draw last week.

Reports say that Bennacer and Kessie are not yet prepared to start this week, having just come back from their vacations following the Africa Cup of Nations tournament. Caldara is still out injured, as is Theo Hernandez. Biglia pulled up in training and will likely not feature, leaving speculation that Calhanoglu will replace him as regista for this match, having looked good at that spot last week during Cesena. Finally, Strinic and Milan have mutually rescinded his contract, so he is no longer a Milan player.

Hoping there isn't anything for him to scream about

Along with the headaches Giampaolo already has in the missing pieces, there is still the distraction of the mercato, with just over a week left for players to come in or out. Undoubtedly, he will be focused on the players at his disposal, but will the players at his disposal be focused for him? Can they do more than just improve playing style, especially while playing away? This match may not feel like a big one. After all, every match is only worth three points. However, this one sets the tone for the season. And you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

This post inspired by the music of X Ambassadors’ “Boom”

Serie a Week 1
Udinese vs. Milan
August 25 • 18:00 CEST (12noon EDT)
This match will be shown on ESPN+ in the U.S.

Udinese-Milan Preview: First Impressions Udinese-Milan Preview: First Impressions Reviewed by Elaine on 2:30 PM Rating: 5
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