Udinese-Milan Preview: Critical Stage

Milan travel to Udine sitting very comfortably in third place on the table, having dispatched Roma at the San Siro on Sunday. That match was the final nail in the coffin for legendary manager José Mourinho, whom Roma's American owners replaced with former Roma legend Daniele De Rossi. Pioli's job has reportedly also been on trial this season, even if fans declared their verdict of Pioli Out before he even signed a contract four years ago. In his defense, Milan's manager has come up with important victories even when injuries, the media, and all other evidence was stacked against him. But the season is long, and neither Milan nor Pioli are safe yet. With Udinese languishing near the bottom of the table, they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. After the criminally poor results that began last January, Milan fahave reached the critical stage.

Will the players show up in defense of our season?

Udinese are fighting for their Serie A lives, sitting just above the relegation zone in 16th place, having only won one match of their last five. Their most recent match was a 2-2 draw with the erratic Fiorentina on Sunday. For that match, Cioffi lined up: Okoye; Ferreira, Nehuén Pérez, Thomas Kristensen; Ebosele, Lovrić, Walace, Samardžić, Hassane Kamara; Pereyra; Lucca. Cioffi will have to do without Bijol, Ebosse, Vivaldo, and the former Milan winger Deulofeu due to injury for this match.

We know Udinese can hurt us. They know they can hurt us.

Also at the critical stage is Milan's catastrophic injury crisis. Both Sportiello and Florenzi returned to full training this week and are expected to be available. While it was reported midweek that Giroud was ill with fever, he trained with the team on Thursday and looks to be available as well. That means that Pioli will only be missing Caldara, Pellegrino, Kalulu, Thiaw, Tomori, and Pobega to injury, while Chukwueze and Bennacer are still away at AFCON. Only eight players missing this time, sadly, that is an improvement.

Adli had an MVP performance on Sunday, can he help us out again?

Pioli has had the advantage of the San Siro crowd backing him in two out of three of Milan's matches thus far in 2024. However, that did not help him when Udinese visited in November, a 1-0 loss that was also one of Milan's worst performances of the season. This time, the team have had all week to recuperate and train, but will need to show up at the Stadio Friuli. Will the lack of so many players affect Milan's ability to maintain a Champions League spot? Will the missing players impact the results and thus the verdict on Pioli's position at Milan? Playing Udinese at this point in the season may not seem that important, but based on last year's results, Pioli and Milan are actually at the critical stage.

This post inspired by the music of The Primitives' "Crash"

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 21
Udinese vs. Milan
Suaturday, January 20, 2024 • 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)

Udinese-Milan Preview: Critical Stage Udinese-Milan Preview: Critical Stage Reviewed by Elaine on 4:00 AM Rating: 5
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