Milan-Spezia Preview: We Meet Again

Spezia are newly promoted to Serie A, their first time in the top flight since Serie A proper has existed. But it is not Milan's first meeting with them. Six years ago, with Tassotti as interim coach between Allegri's sacking and Seedorf's arrival, Milan faced off with Spezia in the Coppa Italia. We may have beat that Spezia team then, but times have changed. This Spezia team got past Nesta's Frosinone side to win promotion to Serie A. And this Milan team are rebuilding carefully under the tutelage of Paolo Maldini. Two very different sides from before, and yet, we meet again.

So we meet again, Spezia

Spezia actually played in the Italian top flight until the 1920's, before it was Serie A. They are most known for their team that was made up largely of firefighters, who played during World War II and won the championship. The brilliant Joe Fischetti wrote a great piece about their campaign during a time that Serie A was suspended. To this day, they wear a special tricolore patch on their kits to honor the infamous firefighter squad who won that championship.

After years in the lower divisions of Italian football, Spezia have been battling in Serie B for the past seven years. Their current manager is Vincenzo Italiano, entering his second season with the club. They started with a loss to Sassuolo, but beat Udinese 2-0 away on Wednesday. For that match, Italiano lined up: Zoet: Ferrer, Terzi, Chabot, Ramos; Deiola, Rocco, Maggiore; Verde, Galabonov, and Gyasi. Italiano has quite a few injuries, including Capradossi, Mattiello, Mastinu, Ismajli, and Zoet definitely out for our matchup, and Marchizza in doubt against Milan as well.

Ready for Milan?

Pioli has Ibrahimovic and Duarte out in isolation due to testing positive for COVID-19. Rebic dislocated his elbow on Sunday, so is still out with that injury. Additionally, Romagnoli, Musacchio, and Conti are still not match fit, even if the first two have been easing back into training. The rest of the available squad have to be mentally and physically exhausted after playing 120 minutes and taking a total of 24 penalties late into the night on Thursday in Portugal. However, Pioli does have a new player, Jens Petter Hauge, signed this week from Norwegian side Bodø/Glimt. Reports are that he could be available for Sunday's match.

Both teams have injuries, both teams played midweek. This match will come down to which team has more left in the tank, and which team wants it more. Will Milan break their undefeated streak? Or will they find a way to hang onto it going into the international break? Will Spezia surprise and seek revenge for that Coppa Italia loss all those years ago? I wouldn't expect either team to come out with a lot of energy, rather this one will be more of a formality. We meet again.

This post inspired by the music of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know"

Serie A Week 3
Milan vs. Spezia
Sunday, October 4 • 18:00 CEST (12noon EDT)
This match can be streamed LIVE on ESPN+ in the U.S.

Milan-Spezia Preview: We Meet Again Milan-Spezia Preview: We Meet Again Reviewed by Elaine on 10:00 PM Rating: 5
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