Europa League: Lille OSC-AC Milan Preview: Burden of Proof

Ahead of the international break, Milan were handed their first loss since March, a painful one to Lille in the Europa League. Ibrahimovic willed a draw in the league a few days later, but now he is injured. On Sunday, Milan convinced many of the doubters with a 3-1 win over Napoli, but Thursday comes the real test. After we lost 3-0 to Lille, it falls upon us to prove to ourselves that we can dominate in Europe as well as the league. Living up to that expectation is our burden of proof.

Time to prove ourselves without him

Milan have caught one break, as Galtier announced that Renato Sanches will not be available for this match, after suffering an injury on international duty. While Sanches was a major factor in their win over us last time, Lille destroyed Lorient 4-0 on Sunday without the Portuguese midfielder. For that smackdown, Galtier lined up Maignan; Pied, Soumaoro, Botman, Bradaric; Araujo, andre, Xeka, Bamba; Yazici, and David. He also subbed Tiago Djalo, former Milan player of about six months, and Timothy Weah, son of former Milan great George Weah. While Galtier will also be missing Celik, he clearly still has enough ammunition, including those players with a Milan connection, to punish us again.

Maybe not 100% yet, but still quality and experience up front

Everyone is talking about missing Ibrahimovic to injury, but as of this writing, we are still awaiting COVID  negative tests for Pioli and Murelli to see who will even be in charge of this match. If they are unable to be back on Thursday, Bonera will take charge again. Saelemaekers is also out, with an ankle injury courtesy of Bakayoko on Sunday. Kessie has not been listed as even doubtful, despite the worrying images on Sunday and losing a tooth to a Politano elbow to the face, so we will see if he is afforded some much needed rest. Leao also picked up an injury on international team duty, and is also very doubtful to face his former team again. 

The only player with a goal for and against Milan this year in the Europa League, could he start?

Former Lille defender, Kjaer, will be available, however. It is presumed that Rebic may replace Ibrahmovic, although there are also youth options. Saelemaekers could be replaced by Castillejo, but after scoring his debut Serie A goal on Sunday, Hauge is also a good choice, as is Brahim. Despite missing Ibrahimovic, though, Milan need to make a better showing in this match, and ideally bring all three points home from France.

Milan need to prove what they did when Ibrahimovic was out with COVID-19: that they are a team, and that they can pull off the wins both with and without their most experienced player. This is an important test, not just for the points, but especially for the mentality of this young team. It is time for them to stand up and prove that 2020 is not just a fluke for them. Winning is not just a hope or expectation, but also a burden of proof.

This match inspired by the music of Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World"

Europa League Group Stage
Lille OSC vs. AC Milan
Thursday, November 26 • 18:55 CET (12:55 EST)
This match can be streamed LIVE on CBS All Access in the U.S.

Happy Thanksgiving!

On this day of gratitude here in the United States, I would like to thank all of my readers, listeners, and followers worldwide. I am so grateful to be able to share Milan with all of you. May Milan give us even more to be thankful for!

Europa League: Lille OSC-AC Milan Preview: Burden of Proof Europa League: Lille OSC-AC Milan Preview: Burden of Proof Reviewed by Elaine on 11:00 PM Rating: 5
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