PSV-Milan Friendly: Dutch Detour

On Friday, Milan are taking a detour through the Netherlands to play one more friendly against PSV Eindhoven. Serie A will officially resume again on Wednesday, when we face Salernitana. Our final friendly of an eventful 2022 will give Pioli and the guys one last chance to tune up before that match. With all but two players having returned from international duty, there are only injury and fitness concerns to worry about when choosing a starting 11. With a match so close to the restart, we will likely see more starters get some playing time as Milan make a Dutch detour.

The guys are back and ready to return to Serie A, with a friendly detour on Friday

We have faced PSV before, with the last time being on the road to Champions League qualification in 2013. (Spoiler alert, Milan won that tie 4-1 on aggregate.) PSV are currently in the news for having agreed to sell their young star, Cody Gakpo, to Liverpool just this week after his impressive showing at the World Cup. Fun fact about PSV, they have some interesting nicknames. One is "Boeren," which apparently translates to farmers. Another is "Lampen," or lamps. I suppose at least farmers have pitchforks in common with Diavoli.

Former PSV and Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy is the PSV manager

We face them in this friendly as they sit in third place in the Eredvisie, tied with Ajax, but behind them on goal differential. They have ten wins and four losses in their league, which will resume for them a week from Saturday. They are managed by the former Dutch striker, Ruud van Nistelrooy. You may remember that van Nistelrooy was a peer of Maldini's, and infamously spoke at Oxford in 2016 about what it was like to play against AC Milan, and how he was unable to score at San Siro.

PSV had their warm weather training camp this month in Spain, where they beat fellow Serie A side Sassuolo 2-1. In that match, van Nistelrooy lined up: Benitez; Teze, Obispo, Sangaré, Madueke, van den Heuvel, Saibari, Mwene, Max, Vertessen, and Oppegard. (Ironically, they also have a Bakayoko, only theirs scored the game winner in this match.) Coach van Nistelrooy apparently has a healthy squad as of this writing, although some Milan fans may think it is slightly handicapped by the presence of one Marco van Ginkel, who spent a brief loan spell at Milan (it's okay if you do not remember him, that is kind of the point.)

PSV overturned a 1-0 deficit to beat Sassuolo in their friendly 2 weeks ago in Spain

While it was hoped that Pioli would return in January with a complete and healthy squad, that is definitely not going to be the case. Ibrahimović, Florenzi, Maignan, and now Origi are all on the injured list, with no return dates set for any of them. Messias and Krunić will be evaluated for fitness, but may not be given too many minutes, if any, in this match. Leão, Kjaer, and De Ketelaere have all resumed training following their World Cup endeavors, and appear to be fit. Calabria and Brahim Díaz are also fit and training with the team.

Two players who will definitely miss this match are Giroud and Theo Hernández, who are only due back at Milanello from their post-World Cup vacations on Friday, thus will not be traveling with the team to Eindhoven. It is largely expected that Dest will deputize for Theo on the left, while Calabria should resume his duties on the right. Up front will be the challenge for Pioli. Much has been discussed in the press about possibly playing De Ketelaere as a prima punta, or deploying Rebić until Giroud is ready to play or Origi is fit. But Pioli also has Lazetić, who has been playing well for the Primavera side.

Leão is back and ready to play for a coach who understands him

Unlike the friendlies vs. Arsenal and Liverpool in Dubai, Pioli should be looking for more match fitness, as well as tactical solutions in preparation for the return of Serie A next week. Also, the upcoming Supercoppa, Coppa Italia, and Champions League competitions as well. This next few months' fixtures will rain like a firestorm from hell on our players, so this friendly will be a bit like the calm before the storm. Or at least like a Dutch detour.

This post inspired by the music of The Cranberries' "When You're Gone'"

Our next match is a Friendly
PSV vs. AC Milan
Friday, December 30 • 18:15 CET (12:15pm EST)
This match can be streamed LIVE on the Milan App for registered users*
*Livestream not available in Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, and MENA countries

PSV-Milan Friendly: Dutch Detour PSV-Milan Friendly: Dutch Detour Reviewed by Elaine on 11:15 AM Rating: 5
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