Milan-Udinese Preview: Welcome Home Champions

Milan are kicking off the Serie A season by hosting Udinese at the San Siro in the early evening match. This will be their first time playing in front of their fans after being crowned Champions of Italy in Sassuolo in May. While the heat is likely to be a factor, with a high of 31°C (87°F) forecast during the day, it is hoped that the sold out stadium turns up the heat in support of the Diavoli. Milan were not able to beat Udinese last season at home or away, in spite of all of their other success, so they will be looking for a positive result as their fans welcome home the Champions of Italy.

Time for the Champions to play for their fans

Udinese have gone through some changes this season, not the least of which was a managerial change, with Andrea Sottil at the helm this year. Molina moved to Atleti, While new signings Masina and Bijol could be amongst the starters on Saturday, amongst other changes. Beto is returning from injury, but will not play for 90 minutes, while Sottil will be missing Buta, Arslan, and Jajalo to injury. Former Milan player (and still fan) Deulofeu is more than ready to play, and will have no problems scoring if he has the chance.

The one that got away

Milan saw Kessié, Romagnoli, the incomparable Castillejo, and even Daniel Maldini leave this summer, amongst others, as we talked about on the latest podcast. However, we brought in Origi, the sublime De Ketelaere, and brought both Adli and Pobega in from loans to reinforce. Pioli will actually only be missing Ibrahimović, who is out until January, and Tonali, who is recovering from a mild muscle injury. Pioli said in his press conference that he has 26 starters this year, so he will have some tough choices to make to narrow it down to 11.

Current mood.

After training at the San Siro on Thursday to prepare, spirits were undoubtedly high on Friday, as Tomori renewed his contract through 2027. He pushed his renewal through before the season kicked off to be able to check off that box and put everyone's minds at ease. The Ballon d'Or nominees were also announced, and both Maignan and Leão were nominated, two of only three players in Serie A to make the 30 man shortlist. Tell me again how Milan are behind the other clubs in the title race this season?

When was the last time Milan had 2 players nominated for the Ballon d'Or?

With the consistency that Milan showed the past three years under Pioli's tenure, and the nearly unstoppable consistency shown last season as well as in the preseason, the odds are certainly in Milan's favor. However, with the weather, the early start time, and it being the first competitive match of the season, anything can happen in 90 minutes. Let's hope that at the final whistle, Milan are once again victorious, to give the fans the chance to properly welcome home their Champions.

This post inspired by the music of Queen's "We Are the Champions"

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 1
Milan vs. Udinese
Saturday, August 13 • 18:30 CEST (12:30pm EDT)
This match can be streamed LIVE on Paramount+ in the U.S.
or seen LIVE on CBS Sports in the U.S.

Milan-Udinese Preview: Welcome Home Champions Milan-Udinese Preview: Welcome Home Champions Reviewed by Elaine on 11:30 PM Rating: 5
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