Milan-Fiorentina Preview: Desperate Measures

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and with Milan's injury crisis right now, that is exactly where Pioli is at. Management were criticized for not finding a backup for Giroud, then at literally the final moments of the transfer window, ended up signing former Fiorentina player Jović, who has unfortunately not made any impact at all. Now management are being criticized even more for their shortsightedness, but Pioli has had to do something practical to address the crisis at center forward on Saturday. So he is calling up the goalscoring wonder, 15 year-old Francesco Camarda, from the Primavera squad. A huge gamble, to put such a young player on such a big stage, but desperate times do call for desperate measures.

Pioli making desperate decisions under desperate situations.

In a match that is already always emotional for Pioli, Fiorentina are coming to the San Siro only three points behind Milan. Manager Italiano has had them playing their traditionally inconsistent football with six wins, two losses, and four draws, but when they are winning, they have been firing on all cylinders. Their most recent match was a 2-1 win over Bologna before the break. For that match, Italiano lined up: Terracciano; Parisi, Milenković, Martínez Quarta, Biraghi; Arthur, Duncan; González, former Milan favorite Bonaventura, Kouamé; and Nzola. He is missing Dodô and Castrovilli to longterm injuries, and Luca Ranieri is suspended for this match due to card accumulation.

Please, no. It still hurts.

For Pioli's player list, it honestly feels like it might be more efficient to list the players who are available. As of this writing, there are definitely eight players out for this match. But literally every time we have more than five or six players out, inevitably there is at least one more player out by kickoff, so please check availability at kickoff.

The players missing are: Kalulu, Pellegrino, and Caldara with longterm injuries. Kjaer and Bennacer are working on returning, but still have a week or two, and Leão is out with a recent injury but will not make it back for this match. Okafor was injured on national team duty, a lesion on his right hamstring - yet another muscle injury. Giroud, of course, is suspended, after being sent off for losing his cool and telling the referee what we all wanted to say in our last match. That makes eight players out.

Camarda has been playing against players 4 years older than him, but can he handle Serie A?

There was also a scare as to whether or not Loftus-Cheek would be available after missing the Lecce match, but he returned to training with the group on Thursday. Pulisic returned to training this week and Thiaw also trained on Thursday after suffering flu-like symptoms. However, up front, Pioli's only option was Jović, forcing him into the controversial call up for Camarda. Odd that the 15 year-old would be called up because of a red card to someone nearly twice his age.

Should Camarda make an appearance, he will break the record for both the youngest Serie A player to make an appearance, and also the Milan record for the youngest player to play, which is held by Maldini. That should make Maldini happy, considering he is the one who promoted Camarda to the Primavera this year. Should Camarda score, he would also break both records, with Milan's youngest player scoring record held by one Gianni Rivera. He is so young, in fact, that Milan had to get special permission to allow him to play in Serie A at all.

A lovely initiative in Astori's memory.

Fiorentina is not just a former club for Pioli, nor is it only the club he had managed the longest prior to coming to Milan. Fiorentina is where he lost his captain, Davide Astori, on the morning of a match five and a half years ago, and had to lead the team through that tragedy. Ironically, Astori was also a Milan youth player. So this time, both Fondazione Milan and the Associzione Davide Astori are teaming up for an initiative called "Insieme Per Davide" (Together for Davide.) They are raising funds to refurbish a space on the outskirts of Milano and create a multi-use field for the children of the socio-economically challenged area. Donations can be made online this week or at the match. Desperate times call for desperate measures, but this is absolutely a cause that Astori would have championed, and it is a wonderful way to honor his memory.

As if Pioli did not have enough stress, the injuries continue to pile up, and this fixture of all fixtures is always emotionally taxing for him. Not only would Fiorentina relish the opportunity to draw level on points with Milan by winning at the San Siro, the pressure on management to sack Pioli is growing with every poor performance. In fact, they already sacked one manager this week, so the pressure must truly be weighing on him, with the big Champions League match vs. Dortmund on Tuesday at the back of his mind as well. 

Without Leão or Giroud, Milan are going to need goals from somewhere.

Hopefully, he and the team will rise to the occasion. Pioli often manages to pull the best out of this team when all odds are against them. Missing both Giroud and Leão will make that more difficult, but perhaps having some injured players back as well as the hype of even having the young phenom Camarda on the bench will help. Who knows? Desperate times call for desperate measures.

This post inspired by the music of LIVE's "Lightning Crashes"

Elaine was a guest on the Keep Going Podcast talking to Luke, Pat, and Jacqui about football fans, mental health, and her own experiences. 
Check out the podcast on AppleSpotify, and YouTube
and follow them on Instagram and Twitter

For more about mental health, check out my other project, the
Total Football Mentality Podcast on AppleSpotify, or wherever you get your podcasts
and follow Elaine on Instagram totalfootballmentality and Twitter @TFMentality

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 13
Milan vs. Fiorentina
Saturday, November 25, 2023 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)
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)

Milan-Fiorentina Preview: Desperate Measures Milan-Fiorentina Preview: Desperate Measures Reviewed by Elaine on 11:59 PM Rating: 5
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