Udinese-Milan Preview: Finding Stability

Milan have been our own worst enemy this season. For some reason, away fixtures have been our most troubling, particularly away fixtures in the league. So facing tenth place Udinese at the Stadio Friuli might seem a moderate challenge to most teams challenging for top four. But for Milan, three points are a big ask right now. With Giroud suspended and Leão in one of his out-of-form hazes, others will likely have to step up. Seeing as how Milan have dropped points in both of our last Serie A fixtures, it is past time for Milan to find some stability.

Now is the time for Pioli to pull the team together for the final push for top 4

Udinese are not in the best of form right now, either, with their last five matches being DLDDW. Although their most recent match was a 1-0 win last week over 14th place Empoli. For that match, manager Andrea Sottil lined up: Silvestri; Rodrigo Becão, Bijol, Pérez; Ehizibue, Peyreyra, Walace, Lovrić, Udogie; Success, and Beto. Sottil will be missing former Milan winger and longtime Milan fan Deulofeu to a longterm injury, as well as Ebosse and Masina. He also has six players who are one card away from suspension, so may take that into account with his lineups and substitutions.

Let's hope the referee does not count goals scored with hands this season.

Pioli has had to dig deep this season to find the mentality to keep this team afloat, and he will be digging deeper once again for this one. There may be some distraction with the Champions League draw and learning our opponents for the quarterfinals, but there will also be a lot of determination to get back to winning ways in Serie A. They will have to do it without Giroud, however, who gets a much deserved week off as he is suspended this week due to card accumulation. Perhaps we should prioritize (fantasize?) a big, clinical striker in the summer transfer window. Pioli is also without the injured Messias, who had been in great form in the league. 

Is Leão ready to be Leão again?

There are also the distractions of callups for the upcoming international break, with Ibrahimović being called up for Sweden; Kjaer for Denmark; Giroud, Theo Hernández, and Maignan called up for France; Kalulu called up for France U21; Leão for Portugal, De Ketelaere and Saelemaekers for Belgium, and Dest called up for the U.S as of this writing. There are also those who were overlooked, such as Tomori, who was once again shunned by Southgate's England callups, despite him being in the Champions League quarterfinals while so many others called up are not. Still other players await their national team's callups.

Can De Ketelaere break his curse against the team he (scored) debuted against?

Saturday, though, Pioli will need everyone focused on the match at hand. Without the guarantee of a Giroud goal, other players will have to step up and fill his physical, dynamic presence, drawing defenders in the box as well as defending our own goal. When we faced Udinese in our first match of the season at the San Siro, we were able to score more than we conceded. Of course, that was De Ketelaere's debut, the one where he scored and it was called back for offside, and he has been cursed ever since. So maybe this is his chance to break the curse, who knows? Whatever happens, Milan need to find their inner strength again, remember what it means to play as a team for 90 minutes, and bring home all three points, or our Champions League berth next year is at stake. This one will be all about finding stability.

Milan will face Napoli in the Champions League quarterfinals

This post inspired by the music of Måneskin's "Beggin'"

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 27
Udinese vs. Milan
Saturday, March 18, 2023 • 20:45 CET (3:45pm EST*)
This match can be streamed LIVE on Paramount+ in the U.S.
*Note the time difference due to Daylight Savings Time in the U.S.

Udinese-Milan Preview: Finding Stability Udinese-Milan Preview: Finding Stability Reviewed by Elaine on 6:00 AM Rating: 5
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