Milan-Sassuolo Preview: The Coaches' Curse

Almost ten years ago, in January of 2014, Milan lost 4-3 to Sassuolo, which was the last straw for Allegri. He was the last manager to last nearly as long as Pioli, too. With the failure to qualify for the Champions League Round of 16, and an inability to string together a consistent run of results, there is much speculation that this could be Pioli's last match as well. Despite some unprecedented injuries, as we talked about on the latest podcast, Milan's only hope is that Sassuolo have been underperforming. They also have to play at the San Siro, although that may not help Milan as much, as fans have quickly become disillusioned of late. Will Pioli still be in charge after this match? That is the question on everyone's mind as he faces the coaches' curse.

Will he stay or will he go?

Sassuolo come into this match in 15th place in the league, with a recent form of L-D-L-L-W. Their most recent match was a 2-1 loss to Genoa after having the lead a week ago. For that match, Dionisi lined up Consigli; Pedersen, Erlic, Ferrari, Toljan; Boloca, Matheus Henrique; the legendary Samu Castillejo, Thorsveldt, Laurienté; and Pinamonti. Dionisi has plenty of injuries to worry about, with Baloca, Obiang, Defrel, Agustin Álvarez, Viña, and Račić all out injured. He will have Berardi back, however, who has scored more goals against Milan than he has against any other team, so that's something to look forward to.

Old Samu.

Pioli also has plenty of injured players missing, of course. It would not be Milan if he did not have an abundance of injuries. This time, he will be missing Sportiello, Kalulu, Thiaw, Caldara, Pellegrino, Pobega, Okafor, and Musah. So only eight as of this writing. Jović was in danger of missing out on this one, but managed to just make it back to training with the squad on Friday, so will be available. It was also reported that the young Camarda could be amongst the Primavera players called up for this one.

In his press conference, Pioli was asked about his future, and he claimed that this match was not about him. But millions of fans worldwide and the entire press corps would beg to differ. Despite a severe lack of options, he is being scrutinized more closely than ever, particularly due to the excessive muscular injuries and the possibility of the culpability of he and his staff due to playing style, training methods, player recovery postmatch, etc.

New Samu.

Luckily for him, there was even bigger news this week, with the Italian government refusing to extend the growth decree, which offered significant tax breaks to Serie A clubs for foreign players. It's not as if Serie A was making a comeback, but if they had been, this is a classic shoot-themselves-in-the-foot move. In some kind of backward thinking mentality, they thought somehow this would improve chances for Italian players in Serie A. However, Italian players are overvalued, overpriced, and significantly less talented than their foreign peers, so this basically just destroys the club finances of clubs who were already struggling. That includes Milan, who will likely have to part ways with multiple players, considering most of our players are foreign and Milan have definitely been taking advantage of this tax break.

Furlani's tiny little banker brain is about to explode because of the loss of the growth decree.

On Saturday evening, however, whether he likes it or not, all eyes will be on Pioli. The team, whatever is left of them, will be looking for a win to finish out 2023, a year in which they have conceded more goals than ever before, according to @OptaPaolo. While they will likely concede more in this one, given Berardi's penchant for scoring against us and the other talented players they have, the players will know the pressure they have to win, as well. Not only for Pioli, but just to have any chance at staying in the race for top four this season. However, only at the final whistle will we see if this result will be enough for Pioli to break the coaches' curse.

This post inspired by the music of Muse's "Time is Running Out"

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 18
Milan vs. Sassuolo
Saturday, December 30, 2023 • 18:00 CET (12noon 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-Sassuolo Preview: The Coaches' Curse Milan-Sassuolo Preview: The Coaches' Curse Reviewed by Elaine on 11:00 PM Rating: 5
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