Europa League Quarterfinal •AC Milan-AS Roma Preview: Wolf Invasion

For the second year in a row, Milan are facing Italian opposition in the Quarterfinals of a European competition. Last year, it was the league leaders, Napoli, in the Champions League, and this year, it is Roma in the Europa League. While Milan won both contests against Roma in Serie A this season, that was Mourinho's Roma. In fact, it was after our 3-1 win over Roma in January that Mourinho was sacked. Roma took a chance and hired former Roma bandiera Daniele DeRossi as their new manager, and since then, Roma have won eight of their 11 league matches, with only one loss, and also progressed to these Europa League Quarterfinals. So this challenge will be more difficult than our previous meetings this season. Milan need to prepare for a wolf invasion.

They are either gossiping about Roma players, planning a set piece, or preparing for a wolf invasion.

Roma qualified for the Quarterfinals by defeating De Zerbi's Brighton and Hove Albion 4-1 on aggregate, even if they lost the second leg 1-0 in England. More recently, after a tough scoreless draw against Lecce last week, they won their Derby 1-0 against Lazio on Saturday. For that match, De Rossi lined up: Svilar; Çelik, Diego Llorente, Gianluca Mancini, Angeliño; former Milan runaway Cristante, Paredes, Pellegrini; Dybala, former Milan starlet El Shaarawy; and Lukaku. Of their Europa League squad, N'Dicka is suspended for this match due to card accumulation. Azmoun is out injured, and Aouar is apparently in doubt due to a virus. However, Chris Smalling did make his return after a long injury on Saturday, so he could feature on Thursday.

If it acts like a wolf, and it looks like a wolf, it must be a wolf.

Pioli also has a defender suspended for this match, as Tomori will be forced to sit this one out due to card accumulation as well. (Maybe that's a good omen, though, as our first 2-1 win over Roma this season was on ten men after Tomori was sent off.) Still missing to injury from Pioli's Europa League Squad list are Pobega and Kalulu, with Mirante still not in training, either. However, Loftus-Cheek will be available once again, after serving his Serie A suspension on Saturday. 

Thiaw also missed that match due to a condition called plantar fascitis, a painful heel injury. However, he returned to full training this week and will be available on Thursday. That gives Pioli the option of starting either Kjaer or Thiaw in the back next to Gabbia. Thiaw may have the advantage, having successfully kept Lulaku at bay previously, but Kjaer has the experience to face his former team. Despite the entertainment and chaos that the Leão-Pulisic-Chukwueze attack brought on Thursday, Pioli is rumored to go back to his starting lineup with Loftus-Cheek in the center, pushing Chukwueze back to the bench initially.

Maignan is prepared to keep i Lupi out.

This is not Mourinho's Roma, the team where he insulted his players and threw them under the bus, attacked the referees weekly, and somehow expected his team to win games for him. De Rossi respects his players, and I think that they might actually die for him, they seem so committed. Pioli has Milan in form, too, though, finally getting the numbers and results out of the summer purchases, coming into this match having won seven matches in a row in all competitions. Playing at the San Siro may be the one major advantage that Milan have, with the support of the home fans, so I hope that Pioli has adequately prepared for a wolf invasion.

This post inspired by the music of NIN's "Piggy"

Our next match is 
Europa League Quarterfinals
AC Milan vs AS Roma
Thursday, April 11 • 21:00 CET (3pm EST)
In the U.S., you can use a VPN to access a Europa League provider elsewhere*
(*one that does not also sponsor Inter's kits)

Europa League Quarterfinal •AC Milan-AS Roma Preview: Wolf Invasion Europa League Quarterfinal •AC Milan-AS Roma Preview: Wolf Invasion Reviewed by Elaine on 3:45 PM Rating: 5
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