Milan-Udinese Preview: Friday Night Fight

All of the top six teams teams in Serie A dropped points last week, but only top of the table Milan dropped points to the 20th place team. Friday, we face the 16th place team, and in spite of being in first place due to overperforming, we need to re-establish our winning mentality and motivation with all three points. Udinese are better than their position suggests, with the need to gain points to avoid relegation (read: desperation.) No matter what you think this match should look like on paper, this one is shaping up to be a proper Friday night fight. 

Just hoping the kit guy gets his name spelled right this time

Udinese drew 1-1 with Lazio last weekend, demonstrating their strength and unpredictability. You may remember the name of their scorer, Deulofeu, who spent six months on loan at Milan (a.k.a. the one that got away.) For that match, Cioffi lined up: Silvestri; Rodrigo Becão, Marí, Pérez; Soppy, Arslan, Walce, Makengo, Molina; Beto, and Deulofeu. For this one, as of this writing, only Nuytinck is in question due to fitness.

The last time we faced Udinese in December was right after our last game of the Champions League group stage against Liverpool, which left us mentally exhausted. We came into the match in first place, then, as well, and Udinese had just sacked Gotti, leaving Cioffi as their interim manager. Pioli had the flu, and the kit manager even spelled Messias' name wrong on his jersey. Pioli was so ill, he thought that starting Bennacer and Bakayoko would be okay, and we were punished early on with a goal from Beto after an error by Bennacer. That one ended in a disappointing 1-1 draw, even if Ibrahimović did score his 300th European league goal with a bicycle kick to remember. 

The one that got away

History will not repeat itself this time, at least not the specifics from a Milan point of view, because Bennacer is suspended, and Bakayoko is reportedly on the do-not-activate-the-purchase-clause-in-his-loan-deal bench. Ibrahimović is still unlikely to play, as he still has pain in his Achilles. Pioli will obviously still be missing Kjaer for sure, and it is unknown as of this writing whether Gabbia will be available or not. Giroud will be anxious to score again, and since we will be at the San Siro, he has a much better chance of doing so.

That said, mentality will be very important. I do not think the Milan players want to make the same mistake of dropping points two weeks in a row, let alone twice to the same team in the same season. Despite being in first place with a younger, less experienced, and less valuable team than our competitors, we still face a team that is desperate to avoid relegation. If you have not figured out by now, those teams are the most dangerous teams to face. Udinese are not a 16th place team, and I believe they will come to the San Siro to put up a serious Friday night fight.

This post inspired by the music of John Williams' "Duel of the Fates"

Serie A Week 27
Milan vs. Udinese
Friday, February 25 • 18:45 CET (12:45pm EST)
This match can be streamed LIVE on Paramount+ in the U.S.

Milan-Udinese Preview: Friday Night Fight Milan-Udinese Preview: Friday Night Fight Reviewed by Elaine on 11:00 PM Rating: 5
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