Coppa Italia Quarterfinal • Milan-Atalanta Preview: Second Chances

Wednesday night, Milan will host Lombardy neighbors Atalanta in the Coppa Italia Quarterfinal at the San Siro. Having just played Gasperini's side and lost to them in Bergamo one short month ago, Pioli will be hoping that the old adage, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression" does not hold true here. Because this time, if Milan can get past our other Nerazzurri nemeses, we have a very realistic chance of making it to the final, if not winning an actual trophy this year. Milan having exited the Champions League at the Group Stage this season was tragic, but Pioli's side can gain a tiny bit of redemption if they are holding a piece of silverware at the end of the season, even if it's not one we were necessarily aiming for. Perhaps this season will be one of second chances.

Speaking of second chances, Jović has demonstrated the importance of them this past month.

Speaking of second chances, after Milan very famously spent big on Charles De Ketelaere and then this management very infamously gave up on him after one season, he has been given a second chance at Atalanta. And he has taken it well. He scored two goals and had an assist last week in Atalanta's 3-1 win over Sassuolo last week in their Coppa Italia Round of 16 match. That brought his tally up to six goals and five assists in all competitions thus far for Atalanta. Adding Christian Pulisic's assist on Sunday, now only he and Giroud have a better goal and assist record this season for Milan this season. And while people are quick to point out that Atalanta are not at the same level as Milan, if you had watched him play this season, you would see why Moncada recommended he join Milan in the first place. Maldini was right about trusting in youth, amongst so many other things.

Two former Milan players enjoying their second chances in Bergamo.

Of course, we may not see De Ketelaere play in this match, as Gasperini had mentioned that he is not 100% fit. He came off at halftime on Sunday's 1-1 draw with Roma. For that match, Gasperini lined up: Carnesecchi; Scalvini, Djimsiti, Kolasinac; Holm, Éderson, de Roon, Ruggeri; Miranchuk, Koopmeiners; and De Ketelaere. As of this writing, it appears that Gasperini will be missing Toloi, Hateboer, and El Bilal Touré to injury, while Lookman is on international duty at AFCON. Kolasinac is also in doubt along with De Ketelaere, their availability will be determined Wednesday morning.

Pioli lost Florenzi to injury on Sunday, but great news! Sportiello returned to training on Tuesday! (Those are sarcastic exclamation marks.) He is still missing: Caldara, Pellegrino, Kalulu, Thiaw, Tomori, Pobega, Okafor, and now Florenzi to injury. I assume Krunić will not be playing for Milan again pending an imminent transfer. And both Bennacer and Chukwueze are playing for their national teams at AFCON. If Krunić is not called up, that is a full starting 11 out. Despite Milan finally winning three matches in a row, missing 11 players is a serious liability.

Jiménez and Chaka Traorè are just two members of Abate's Army of young players proving their worth.

At least after the summer mercato of €20m players, the winter mercato of players costing less than €5m has begun. Terracciano signed for Milan on Monday, he trained with the team on Tuesday and should be available to Pioli now. Reports are that the young Matija Popović is staying in a hotel in Milano awaiting the final details of his free transfer as well. Pioli also has Abate's Army of young Primavera talents available, who have been proving themselves quite helpful recently, including in last week's Coppa Italia win over Cagliari, namely Bartesaghi, Chaka Traorè, Simić, Álex Jiménez, Zeroli, and more.

While this match gives Milan a second chance in a month to prove themselves against Atalanta, there will be no second chances for this match. If it is not settled in 90 minutes, there will be added extra time and even penalties if necessary to determine which team faces Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia Semifinals. (For some bizarre reason I will never understand, the semifinals are the one round with two legs, so the winner would have to play Fiorentina twice to get to the Final.)  Gasperini is more than motivated to win this one, as it is arguably their only chance for a trophy this season. So Pioli will need to strike the perfect balance of giving players rest and also fielding a team that can actually defeat Atalanta. Whether or not Milan pull this off depends on how much they believe in second chances.

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

Our next match is 
Coppa Italia Quarterfinals
Milan vs. Atalanta
Wednesday, January 10 • 21:00 CET (3pm 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)
Coppa Italia Quarterfinal • Milan-Atalanta Preview: Second Chances Coppa Italia Quarterfinal • Milan-Atalanta Preview: Second Chances Reviewed by Elaine on 11:55 PM Rating: 5
Powered by Blogger.