Cagliari-Milan Preview: Monday Night Football

In a weekend full of intense rivalries in Serie A, top of the table Milan travel to the island of Sardinia on Monday night to face the 16th place team, Cagliari. The biggest drama is still missing pieces, with both sides missing players to injury, COVID-19 positive tests, or suspensions. It will be a tricky match, but likely without the intensity of the other big matches this weekend. Instead, it will simply be some Monday night football.

Most of these guys will be ready for some football

Di Francesco's Cagliari is nothing like his very successful Sassuolo of a few years back. Despite the recent return of Nainggolan from Inter, Cagliari are not getting the results. Thus far this season, they have only won three matches, drawn five, and lost nine. Their most recent loss was actually in the Coppa Italia, where they crashed out in a 3-1 loss to Atalanta on Thursday. 

Gli Isolani also lost in the league 1-0 on Sunday to Fiorentina, with Joao Pedro's penalty saved that would have at least earned them a point. For that match, Di Francesco lined up Cragno; Pisacane, Godin, Walukiewicz, Lykogiannis; Oliva; Sottil, Marin; Nainggolan; Simeone, and Joao Pedro. For our match, Di Francesco will be missing Nandez two his second of a two match ban, while Carboni is doubtful due to COVID-19 isolation. Marco Rog, Faragò, and Luvumbo are all out injured, as well.

Nainggolan is back "home" again

Pioli was finally getting players back, and had another scare. Calhanoglu and Theo Hernandez did not train on Friday. Reports say that their COVID-19 tests were initially inconclusive but they have since been cleared and will train today with the team. Also training with the team today is new Milan signing Meité, on loan from Torino, and he could potentially be available for this match.

Leao is suspended for this game, and Rebic and Krunic both still tested positive in the last round of swab tests. Both Saelemaekers and Bennacer were hoped to have returned for this match, but both players are still both very much in doubt. Gabbia is also still out injured. However, Ibrahimovic is finally back, having played a few minutes on Sunday and 45 minutes in our Coppa match on Wednesday. Despite the flight to Cagliari, Milan have momentum, mentality, talent, and an extra day's rest on their side.

Sometimes, our Portuguese ninja just goes missing, this time he will just miss

All of the other matches will be decided before we play, leaving Milan to determine our own fate. A win in this match will keep us at the top of the table for another week, almost halfway through the season. Anything less puts that position in potential jeopardy, depending on the result of Sunday's Derby d'Italia. This may not be the most exciting game of this weekend, but Milan will show up to fight for all three points in a round of Monday night football.

This match inspired by the music of Weezer's "Island in the Sun"

Serie A Week 18
Cagliari vs. Milan
Monday, January 18 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)
This match can be streamed LIVE on ESPN+ in the U.S. 

Cagliari-Milan Preview: Monday Night Football Cagliari-Milan Preview: Monday Night Football Reviewed by Elaine on 5:45 AM Rating: 5
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