Frosinone-Milan Preview: Reality Check

With the end of what seems to have been yet another disappointing January mercato for Milan fans this week, the media needed something to do. So they went with rumors of a coaching change at Milan, claiming that Ibrahimović was involved in negotiations for a certain expensive ex-Inter and ex-Juve manager. These are rumors, of course, that they had been propagating for some time, but given the double disappointment of the draw with Bologna last week and the lack of any last minute transfers to report on, they whipped fans into a frenzy with their pathetic need for clicks. So much so that Ibrahimović himself made a statement endorsing Pioli and denying the rumors. Just like the trip to Frosinone should be, this week was a reality check.

"Remember when we had clean sheets? We should try that again."

Eusebio Di Francesco, considered one of the most exciting young managers in Italy not so long ago, currently manages a Frosinone side who come into this match 13th on the table with six wins, five draws, and 11 losses. Their most recent match was a 1-1 draw with Verona on Sunday in which Frosinone's keeper, Turati, faced two penalties, saving the first one. For that match, Di Francesco lined up: Turati; Gelli, Simone Romagnoli, Okoli, recent Milan Primavera player Marco Brescianini; Bourabia, Barrenechea, Harroui; Soulè, Kaio Jorge, and Seck. Di Francesco is missing a number of players to injury, including Marchizza, Oyono, Baez, and Kalaj, with Lirola, Bonifazi, and Mateus Lusuardi all struggling to return to fitness for this match.

"Hey, I'm still relevant!"

Milan's transfer market ended up with a fizzle, having only brought back Matteo Gabbia prematurely from his loan ti Villareal and purchased Filippo Terracciano from Verona. The rest were all exits, with a number of players moving out on loan. Daniel Maldini's loan to Empoli was cut short, and he was sent on loan to Monza for the rest of the season. Goalkeeper Devis Vásquez returned from his loan to Sheffield Wednesday and was sent on loan to Ascoli. Players who were sent out on loan include Rade Krunić to Fenerbahçe with an obligation to purchase,  Marco Pellegrino to Salernitana, Luka Romero to Almeria, and Chaka Traorè to Palermo with an option to purchase. Junior Messias' purchase clause was also triggered, so he is now permanently a Genoa player.

Pioli will still be missing Chukwueze, who is getting plenty of rest on Nigeria's bench at AFCON. He is also still missing Caldara, Kalulu, Thiaw, Tomori, and Pobega to injury. Bennacer is back and trained with the team this week, so should be available. Which means we could conceivably actually be missing fewer players than our opposition for perhaps the first time this season, with only six players missing this time. Amazing.

It will be so great to have Bennacer back again.

That will undoubtedly not change Pioli's critics, however. For some reason, people fail to recognize anything positive he does and tend to find blame or overly criticize him for anything at all that goes wrong at the club, whether or not he even had anything to do with it. And don't get me started about acting as if the season is over and openly discussing his replacement as if it is a foregone conclusion. The legendary voice of Milan, Mauro Suma, rightfully called out both the media and fans on Friday, not only for the rumors about Ibrahimović and Conte, but also for the fans who have forgotten what it is all about:

"On social media the championship is closed, the season is closed, it feels like May when in fact we are at the end of January and there is a world ahead of us. Why is Pioli so loved by Milan's old and new big names? Has anyone ever asked this among the haters? All the mistakes and all the damage that the Coach does and that are pronounced and illustrated honoris causa by the doctoral students in football matters who gather in packs every minute, must have escaped the notice of the great players who compete in the World Cup and who are the leaders even in their respective national teams... strange..."

Pioli said he is bored with all of the talk of his replacement.

Suma is right in defending Milan, Ibrahimović, and Pioli. But the latter will need to make sure that the team are focused and stay focused for all 90 minutes in this away match, particularly still missing our entire starting central defense. Picking up three points in every match possible is key to guaranteeing a Champions League spot for next year, so this match will be a bit of a reality check. For both the players and the fans. 

This post inspired by the music of Eon's "Spice (With Notes)"

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 23
Frosinone vs. Milan
Saturday, February 3, 2024 • 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)

Frosinone-Milan Preview: Reality Check Frosinone-Milan Preview: Reality Check Reviewed by Elaine on 11:59 PM Rating: 5
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