Even More of Milan's Tragic Luck

In October, I wrote about Milan's tragic luck. Chronicling absences due to injuries, COVID-19, and surgeries, just after Maignan's surgery was announced, and the poor refereeing was also part of our story with bad luck. There were other games with poor referee calls, of course, but if Serra is suspended for the Spezia match as expected (nothing is official as of this writing,) he would be the fourth referee to be suspended this season after a Milan game. Also since then, of course, we lost Kjaer for the season, and now Tomori had surgery as well as other injuries, COVID-19 cases, and absences due to the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). I thought in October that we had seen the worst, yet here we are talking about even more of Milan's tragic luck.

Devastating. And we still have four more months without him.

Milan's injuries are being addressed at the club level, as mentioned in the previous article. However, some of them are just really unlucky or freak injuries. Tomori's surgery marks the seventh surgery for Milan players in seven months. First at the end of the season, Ibrahimović and Calabria. Then Plizzari, Florenzi, Maignan, Kjaer, and Tomori. The surgeries of Plizzari and Maignan led to an emergency signing of a goalkeeper, Mirante. Missing Kjaer and Tomori for so long has Milan still looking for a new defender before the January transfer window closes.

Lost without our keeper

In addition to the surgeries and long-term recoveries, we have missed so many players due to injury, COVID-19, or suspension. Since the October international break, here are the matches we have played and the number of players missing:

Milan 3, Verona 2 - players missing: 8
Injured: Plizzari, Maignan, Florenzi, Messias, Bakayoko, Calabria; COVID-19: Brahim Díaz, Theo Hernández 

FC Porto 1, AC Milan 0 - players missing: 8
Injured: Plizzari, Maignan, Florenzi, Messias, Rebić; COVID-19: Brahim Díaz, Theo Hernández; Suspended: Kessié

Bologna 2, Milan 4 - players missing: 10
Injured: Plizzari, Maignan, Florenzi, Messias, Rebić, Pellegri, Ballo-Touré; COVID-19: Brahim Díaz, Theo Hernández; Flu: Kessié

Milan 1, Torino 0 - players missing: 9
Injured: Plizzari, Maignan, Florenzi, Messias, Rebić, Pellegri, Ballo-Touré, Castillejo; COVID-19: Brahim Díaz

Roma 1, Milan 2 - players missing: 7
Injured: Plizzari, Maignan, Florenzi, Messias, Rebić, Pellegri, Castillejo

AC Milan 1, FC Porto 1 - players missing: 7 (+1)
Injured: Plizzari, Maignan, Florenzi, Messias, Rebić, Pellegri, Ballo-Touré (plus Castillejo not on UCL list)

Milan 1, Inter 1 - players missing: 6
Injured: Plizzari, Maignan, Messias, Castillejo, Romagnoli; Suspended: Theo Hernández

Fiorentina 4, Milan 3 - players missing: 6
Injured: Plizzari, Maignan, Castillejo, Calabria, Rebić, Tomori

Atlético Madrid 0, AC Milan 1 - players missing: 5 (+1)
Injured: Plizzari, Maignan, Calabria, Rebić, Tomori (plus Castillejo not on UCL list)

Milan 1, Sassuolo 3 - players missing: 6
Injured: Plizzari, Castillejo, Calabria, Rebić, Tomori, Giroud

Too many matches as spectators this season

Genoa 0, Milan 3 - players missing: 7
Injured: Plizzari, Castillejo, Calabria, Rebić, Giroud, Bennacer; Suspended: Romagnoli

Milan 2, Salernitana 0 - players missing: 6
Injured: Plizzari, Castillejo, Calabria, Rebić, Giroud, Kjaer

AC Milan 1, Liverpool FC 2 - players missing: 6 (+1)
Injured: Plizzari, Calabria, Rebić, Giroud, Kjaer, Leão (plus Castillejo not on UCL list)

Udinese 1, Milan 1 - players missing: 7
Injured: Plizzari, Calabria, Rebić, Giroud, Kjaer, Leão, Pellegri

Milan 0, Napoli 1 - players missing: 7
Injured: Plizzari, Calabria, Rebić, Kjaer, Leão, Pellegri; Flu: Theo Hernández

Empoli 2, Milan 4 - players missing: 7
Injured: Plizzari, Calabria, Rebić, Kjaer, Leão, Pellegri, Ibrahimović

Milan 3, Roma 1 - players missing: 11
Injured: Plizzari, Kjaer, Pellegri; COVID-19: Tatarusanu, Castillejo, Romagnoli, Calabria, Tomori; AFCON: Bennacer, Kessié, Ballo-Touré

Venezia 0, Milan 3 - players missing: 11
Injured: Plizzari, Kjaer, Pellegri; COVID-19: Tatarusanu, Castillejo, Romagnoli, Calabria, Tomori; AFCON: Bennacer, Kessié, Ballo-Touré

Milan 3, Genoa 1 - players missing: 10
Injured: Plizzari, Kjaer, Pellegri; COVID-19: Castillejo, Romagnoli, Calabria; AFCON: Bennacer, Kessié, Ballo-Touré; Suspended: Ibrahimović

Milan 1, Spezia 2 - players missing: 9
Injured: Plizzari, Kjaer, Pellegri, Tomori; COVID-19: Romagnoli; AFCON: Bennacer, Kessié, Ballo-Touré; Suspended: Tonali

Our missing midfield

If you're doing the math, that's 20 matches played, with players missing 156 appearances during those 20 matches. (Or 153 if you consider that Castillejo would not have been able to play in the UCL matches anyway, although he was injured.) So that is an average of 7.8 players (or 7.65 minus Castillejo) per match. For 20 matches.

The most incredible part of this is that Milan are still in second place, by a mere two points behind Inter, who have barely had any injuries or absences at all in comparison. If you are disappointed in Milan's season in any way, these numbers should impress even the most critical of Milan fans.

Maresca got everything wrong, then got suspended.

Luck of the Referees

At the end of October, shortly after the international break came the Roma match. Even if Milan ended up with the win, Maresca was suspended for bad calls on both sides, as well as handing out a record 11 cards in that match. I am pretty sure that Roma fans are still crying about this one, but that is their status quo. We unnecessarily lost a star player for our next match, too. If Milan beat them two matches in a row, it might not be just the referee. (Mourinho, if you're reading this, I have two words for you: Bodø/Glimt. It's not just the refs.)


The Napoli match was also controversial in that Milan scored a goal that was deemed to have been offside because Juan Jesus knocked Giroud over and was lying on top of him. With Giroud's body being pinned down in an offside position, Kessié's goal was called off. But the Italian Referee Association defended this one, setting a frightening precedent for future defenders to imitate. Also, Massa was not suspended.

Çakir got a two match vacation for his Champions League performance

Monday saw an atrocious performance by Serra, the referee in the Spezia match. His errors (not just the one) changed the entire game, meaning Milan left with zero points when we should have had three. He was humble and apologized, as did the Italian Referee Association. But the result will still stand, and he is undoubtedly facing a suspension.

Following the head ref and VAR ref being suspended by UEFA after the Milan-Atlético match, then Maresca being suspended after the first match vs. Roma, Serra's suspension would mark the fourth referee to be suspended this season after a Milan match. Those are some very egregious referee errors for a single team when referees are actually suspended. I'm not suggesting any conspiracy theories, these were all human errors. But just a lot of tragic luck for Milan this season.

Imagine if we had this guy for more matches. Would we have even lost at all?

Between the injuries, surgeries, COVID-19 positive cases, suspensions, and now players at AFCON, along with all of the serious referee errors, Milan have continued to battle for the Scudetto. But if it is this bad in January, how much more can Milan take? The past three months have just piled on top of some already shocking tragedies to create even more of Milan's tragic luck.


This post inspired by the music of NIN's Hurt


Our next match is
Serie A Week 23
Milan vs. Juventus
Sunday, January 23 • 20:45 CET (2:45 EST)

Even More of Milan's Tragic Luck Even More of Milan's Tragic Luck Reviewed by Elaine on 12:01 AM Rating: 5
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