Milan-Cagliari Preview: Bienvenue à la Maison

For the first time since February 17, 2020, Milan fans will be able to be at the San Siro to support their team. The world has changed drastically since then, with a global pandemic still impacting everyone and everything we do. For example, only fans with a Green Pass, showing they are vaccinated or have tested negative for COVID, will be allowed to attend. San Siro will only be able to have a maximum of 50% capacity, and they have to sit in a specified diagonal seating arrangement for social distancing. Our team has also changed, having qualified for the Champions League, and with a number of players in and out. Our French-speaking contingency has grown, so perhaps instead of saying "Welcome home" to the fans, we should be saying "Bienvenue à la maison."

The fans are coming home

Oh yeah, we also have an opponent. Milan are hosting Cagliari, the team from the island of Sardegna off the coast of the Italian peninsula. Having narrowly escaped relegation last season by finishing 16th in Serie A, manager Leonardo Semplici will need to do better, not only keep them up this season, but to keep his job. Having only taken one point away from their opener at home vs. Spezia, Gli Isolani will undoubtedly be very determined to trip up Milan on our season home debut.

In their comeback from 2-0 down draw with Spezia, João Pedro scored a goal and a penalty to salvage the point. In that match, Semplici lined up Cragno; Walukiewicz, Godín, Carboni; Nandez, Marin, Strootman, Dalbert; João Pedro, Deiola, and Pavoletti. His first choice keeper, Cragno received a muscle injury and is likely to be out, so Radunovic will likely play in his place. Marko Rog sadly suffered a second ACL injury within a year and is out long term again this season.

Hoping the Cagliari captain is kept off of the scoresheet this week

Pioli is still missing both Ibrahimović and Kessié, who are both recovering from injuries. The young Pietro Pellegri joined the squad this week, but it is unclear whether or not he is match fit, and he is likely to spend more time on the bench behind the more experienced strikers. Despite Krunić holding his own and displaying tactical versatility as a starter last week, many are expecting Bennacer to start in the midfield this time around alongside Tonali. Outside of that change, it is more than likely that Pioli will utilize the rest of his starting lineup from last weekend, particularly ahead of the international break. 

The biggest news ahead of this match is the return of the home fans. We saw the wonder on the faces of the players before and after the away game to Sampdoria as they saw their fans again, and it was just so beautiful to watch. With 30,000 tickets sold so far for this match, I expect it to be a game filled with emotion for all in the stadium. This will also mark the first time some of these players have played at the San Siro with fans at all, which is not something you can quite be prepared for. The fans will likely be more than just a 12th man this time, they will be the heartbeat and the oxygen for the players. With Pioli showing immense respect and love for the fans throughout this period, I expect he will be urging the team to give the fans an unforgettable performance.

We've always been with the team, now fans can be at home again

Milan have an advantageous record against the Rossoblu, but that is never to be taken for granted. After all, Milan were abysmal at home the past couple of seasons, while breaking all away records, and anything can happen in 90 minutes. But if they play for the fans, and the fans release all of the support they have been saving after such a long time, then perhaps we will see some real magic to mark this emotional occasion. Or shall I say "magique?" Maybe the fans and the new players can help break the spell. Bienvenue à la Maison.

This post inspired by the music of Madness' "Our House"

Serie A Week 2
Milan vs. Cagliari
Sunday, August 29 • 20:45 CEST (2:45pm EDT)
This match can be streamed LIVE on Paramount+ in the U.S.

Milan-Cagliari Preview: Bienvenue à la Maison Milan-Cagliari Preview: Bienvenue à la Maison Reviewed by Elaine on 1:50 AM Rating: 5
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