Milan-Empoli Preview: Validation

Milan go into this match having taken the top of the table once again after a convincing win against a determined Napoli side last Sunday. Prior to that, however, they had sputtered with a tough draw in the Derbyand what should have been convincing wins against Udinese and Salernitana, but ended in draws as well. For Milan to truly be Scudetto contenders, they need to produce a convincing win against Empoli on Saturday, a sort of validation.

Winning something for this guy would also be validation

Empoli are by far the strongest promoted side this season, coming into this match 13th on the table. They have a record of D-D-L-L-D going into this one, which is a bit deceptive. Gli Azzurri nearly took down a resurgent Juventus a couple of weeks ago, eventually losing 3-2, having beaten them in the first round. Last week, they fell into Genoa's trap with a 0-0 draw. Andreazzoli lined up Vicario; Stojanović, Simone Romagnoli, Luperto, Parisi; Zurkowski, Asllani, Benassi; Bajrami, Verre; and Pinamonti for that match. He has two players out for the season with ACL injuries, Marchizza and Haas, but should have the rest of his squad available.

This match is a chance for some players to validate their season

Pioli obviously still has Kjaer out for the season, as well, and has Bakayoko unavailable due to a reported muscle lesion. He will also be missing Theo Hernández, who is suspended for this match for an accumulation of doing Theo Hernández things. But Pioli got some great news in that Ibrahimović, Giroud, and our Romagnoli all returned to training this week after minor injuries and will be available on Saturday. The coach will have a wealth of choices in the front and at center back, while Florenzi will likely deputize for Theo on the left.

This fixture ironically comes immediately after our fixture with Napoli, just like in the first round, even though the second round was randomly chosen for the first time this season. In December, when we faced Empoli, it ended 4-2, with Bakayoko having gifted them a penalty and Theo Hernández having scored a goal. Neither of them will be there this time, so that evens out, I guess. But maybe Kessié, who scored a brace in that match and had an epic performance at the number 10 spot, and Florenzi, who scored a beautiful free kick and will almost undoubtedly play in this one, can make their marks again. And maybe we won't have to face our ex, Cutrone.

"Just score a free kick like you did last time..."

Milan cannot keep looking behind us, with Inter crashing out of the Champions League this week despite a strong performance as well as having a game in hand, all we can do is keep our mentality and momentum and maintain our winning ways. The title race will go to the team with the most stamina, both mentally and physically, and perhaps the team with the most advantageous referee calls as well. But all that Milan has control over are their mental and physical performances, and this match is the next test of both of those. Validation.

This post inspired by the music of Muse's "Invincible"

Serie A Week 29
Milan vs. Empoli
Saturday, March 12 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)
This match can be streamed LIVE on Paramount+ in the U.S.

Milan-Empoli Preview: Validation Milan-Empoli Preview: Validation Reviewed by Elaine on 12:00 AM Rating: 5
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