Cagliari-Milan Preview: Mixing It Up Midweek

On Wednesday, Pioli is reported to make even more changes to his starting lineup. Whether it is out of actual caution, due to the sheer number of games we have been playing, or out of consequence, given the sheer number of muscle injuries we have already faced this season, it is difficult to say. Making changes is a bit ironic, given that he is facing Claudio Ranieri, known as the Tinkerman, a nickname given him for his propensity in the past to rotate his squad too much. However, no matter the reason, Pioli is likely to make changes when Milan travel to face 19th place Cagliari, so he should be mixing it up midweek.

Pioli may rotate the winning combination in order to prevent more injuries.

After leading them to promotion beginning in January of this year, Ranieri's Cagliari side have started this Serie A campaign out as far away as they could be from his infamous Cinderella story Leicester City side. Cagliari have only two points, from two draws, and have lost the other three matches thus far this season. Their most recent match was on Sunday, a 2-0 loss to Atalanta. For that match, Ranieri lined up: Radunović; Hatzidiakos, Dossena, Obert; Nández, Sulemana, Makoumbou, Deiola, Azzi; Shomurodov, and Luvumbo. He will be missing Jankto, who is ill, as well as both Marko Rog and former Milan number nine, Lapadula, 

Can Pioli out-tinker the Tinkerman? Or has Ranieri lost his magic?

Pioli is definitely without the recoverin Bennacer still, as well as Kalulu and Krunić, both to muscle injuries. However, according to reports, Maignan and Jović are also not traveling with the team to Sardegna, either. Maignan is still recovering from his muscle problem he sustained last week against Newcastle, and Jović is reportedly staying at Milanello to work on achieving optimum fitness levels.

This means, obviously, that we will see Sportiello in goal again, which gratefully does not have the same terrifying effect on fans that missing Maignan had last season. Without Krunić, speculation is that Adli will finally be given a chance to start in his place. Theo Hernández and Calabria are both traveling with the team, whether or not Pioli will start them remains to be seen. Their availability would dictate his tactical system, I would assume.

Adli's Milan career has been a bit like this... tripped up before he has ever really been given a chance.

The biggest lineup speculation is regarding resting Leão and Giroud by leaving them out of the starting eleven. The media suggested that Pioli would rest Giroud on the weekend as well, but he did not. However, at some point, both will need rest, and on paper, this might be the match to do it. Journalists have suggested that Pioli may line up an attacking trident of Pulisic, Okafor, and Chukwueze, which seems like a lot of change for Pioli. Rafa Leão finally scored in three consecutive matches for the first time in his Serie A career this past weekend, but if you follow the incredibly toxic Italian media, you might never know that. 

Pioli may have been able to silence Mourinho with a win in the capital, but the media will not shut up.

Pioli was condemned after the Derby for not being able to make changes. Then he was criticized for making changes when he did so against Verona, even though Milan won. So I have little faith that the Italian media will say kind things about him no matter what happens on the island on Wednesday. A win will be expected for sure, even if a team like Ranieri's Cagliari is exactly the kind of team to throw a wrench in the works, as they do have some good players and are desperate for points. For the health and safety of the squad, though, I do support Pioli mixing it up midweek.

This post inspired by the music of David Bowie's "Changes"

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 6
Cagliari vs. Milan
Wednesday, September 27, 2023 • 18:30 CEST (12:30pm EDT)
In the U.S., you can use a VPN to access a Serie A provider elsewhere
For example, sign up for BeIn Sports in Australia or SuperSport in South Africa,
they both use the World Feed commentary for Serie A, which is fantastic
(*and they also do not sponsor Inter's kits)

Cagliari-Milan Preview: Mixing It Up Midweek Cagliari-Milan Preview: Mixing It Up Midweek Reviewed by Elaine on 9:20 PM Rating: 5
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