Milan-Spezia Preview: Defenseless

From the beginning of the season, we knew that January was going to be a challenge without Bennacer and Kessié during the AFCON tournament. No one could have ever predicted the unbelievable injuries we have had this season. With Kjaer missing the last six months of the season after injury and surgery, Calabria having been out injured for weeks, and now Tomori out for a month after arthroscopic surgery on his knee, we are missing three of our four starting defenders going into Monday's match. Romagnoli has still not tested negative for COVID-19, either, and Ballo-Touré is still at AFCON as well. This basically guarantees a lineup of our remaining three defenders plus a winger/fullback for this match. With no backups. Milan are practically defenseless.

Can history repeat itself? 

Spezia sit in 16th place on the table coming into this match. After a shock 1-0 win over Napoli before the holiday break, they lost to Verona and beat poor Genoa 1-0 last weekend. Coached by ex-Inter player Thiago Motta, they have been a far cry from Vincenzo Italiano's Spezia who brutally beat us 2-0 in their house last February. Despite our 2-1 win in their house in September when Daniel Maldini made his historic first Serie A start and goal, this match could prove more difficult.

For their win over Genoa last week, Motta lined up Provedel; Amian, Erlic, Nikolaou, Reca; Maggiore, Kiwior, Bastoni; Gyasi, Manaj, and Daniele Verde. He will be missing Léo Sena for this one, who is injured.

Once an Interista, always an Interista

Honestly, it seems shorter to list the players that Pioli does have available at this point, but here are the current players who will miss this match:

Bennacer, Kessié, Ballo-Touré are all at AFCON.

Kjaer, Tomori, and Pellegri are all out injured. 

Plizzari is back in training, but is unlikely to be available for this match.

Romagnoli has still not tested negative for COVID-19 as of this writing.

Tonali is suspended for this match due to card accumulation.

With Castillejo and Calabria returning from COVID-19 this week, as well as Ibrahimović returning, we will only be missing nine players this time, but it is unclear whether either of them will be fit to start.

Our sixth player to have surgery in seven months

Missing our three best midfielders and likely three of our four starting defenders does not bode well for this match. Some may say it's "just" Spezia, but they proved last season that they do not roll over for anyone. With Inter dropping points against Atalanta, Milan have the opportunity to jump into first with a win in this one. Although we have won three out of three matches thus far this season, our first 75 minutes against Genoa in the Coppa Italia last Wednesday demonstrated the fragility of this team with so many missing players. Spezia could easily take advantage of us being defenseless.

This post inspired by the music of Peter Murphy's "Cut You Up"

Serie A Week 22
Milan vs. Spezia
Monday, January 17 • 18:30 CET (12:30pm EST)
This match can be streamed LIVE on Paramount+ in the U.S.

Milan-Spezia Preview: Defenseless Milan-Spezia Preview: Defenseless Reviewed by Elaine on 8:05 PM Rating: 5
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