Milan-Udinese Preview: Balancing Act

After Sunday's win, the world is paying attention to Milan again. Having completely discarded our title hopes with the painful Derby defeat, their results-driven hype is back on our bandwagon, even though our spot on the table is still exactly four points behind the top. Where much is won, much is expected. Only this time, we are expected to do it without Ibrahimovic and Calhanoglu. Facing an Udinese side who are in decent form and never give up, it will be important to keep that focus we had prior to this calendar year to maintain our position on the table. Managing the squad to survive our six matches in the next 16 days, as well as keeping the positive momentum from Sunday's match will be a balancing act.

Milan need another great performance despite the impacted schedule

Udinese sit 12th on the table with 28 points. Their current form is W-W-L-D-W, with that last win a 1-0 victory over Fiorentina on Sunday. Gotti's side have performed better than expected, and even our last meeting with them in October in their house was not an easy 2-1 win for us. Certainly there is nothing like a midweek match against a good midtable side to trip us up on our goals for the season.

For Sunday's match against Fiorentina, Gotti lined up Musso; Becao, Bonifazi, Nuytinck; Molina, De Paul, Walace, Makengo, Stryger-Larsen, Llorente, and Nestorovski. He is missing Jajalo and Pussetto, both with season-ending injuries. Additionally, Ouwejan, Foriestieri, and Deulofeu are struggling with fitness issues that may keep them out of this match. 

Leao will most likely be playing up front and could use a goal

Pioli will definitely be missing Ibrahimovic. After being heavily criticized for his commitments to the Sanremo music festival this week, Ibrahimovic ended up with a muscular injury that will keep him out of the next four matches anyway. Calhanoglu is out for this match as well, and Bennacer and Mandzukic are uncertainties for this one. Rebic received treatment on Monday after a hip problem from Sunday, but is expected to train normally with the team today and be available for the game.

With expectations high once again, the mentality will need to match them, so there is no room for a slip-up in this match. We won't have Ibrahimovic to score an overhead bicycle kick in the final ten minutes this time, so it will be up to everyone else to find the right balance. Udinese are not just any team, though. They managed to beat Lazio and hold Inter to a 0-0 draw this season. So even with injuries, Milan need to perform the perfect balancing act.

This post inspired by the music of Cake's "The Distance"

Serie A Week 25
Milan vs. Udinese
Wednesday, March 3 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)
This match can be streamed live on ESPN+ in the U.S.

Milan-Udinese Preview: Balancing Act Milan-Udinese Preview: Balancing Act Reviewed by Elaine on 11:00 PM Rating: 5
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