Milan will look to put the disappointment of our defeat to Inter behind us as we prepare to face Juventus in the first leg of our Coppa Italia semi-final tie on Thursday night.
Sunday was a major setback given our capitulation in the second half, but Stefano Pioli can take positives from the performance in the opening 45 minutes as we dominated Inter and deservedly led.
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If we can take those positives and maintain them over a full 90 minutes, we’ll be a handful for any side. It’s easier said than done though, and so the responsibility and onus will be on Pioli and the players to produce a response and put all that frustration and disappointment into their display on Thursday night.
Pioli to change formation
As per MilanNews.it, the expectation is that Milan will switch from a 4-4-1-1 to a 4-2-3-1 for this showdown, and it could be argued that it’s an ideal tactical set-up for the players at Pioli’s disposal.
A four-man defence with Davide Calabria and Theo Hernandez pushing forward down the flanks to provide width will be protected by Ismael Bennacer and Franck Kessie.
Given the energy, tenacity and work ethic between that duo, they will cover plenty of ground and offer a protective screen in front of the backline, while Bennacer’s technical quality and intelligence in possession will continue to help us play with a high tempo and attack quickly.
Further up the field, Ante Rebic and Samu Castillejo can provide pace, movement and a tireless defensive shift in the wide positions, while Hakan Calhanoglu flourished in the first half against Inter while being deployed in a more central position playing off Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The Turkish international looked much more comfortable and dangerous picking the ball up between the lines and driving forward while causing problems with shots from distance. As for Ibrahimovic, he needs no analysis as to what makes him so effective as he continues to deliver for us.
Three changes possible in total
That said, the report above from MilanNews suggests that there could be up to three changes to the starting XI that faced Inter.
One is enforced as Andrea Conti is suspended and so Calabria will step in and fill that void at right-back.
However, Mateo Musacchio and Rafael Leao could be in contention for a starting berth, with Simon Kjaer and Rebic the two players potentially at risk of dropping to the bench.
Musacchio coming in makes sense as the lack of pace and mobility between Kjaer and Alessio Romagnoli is a concern, especially against the top teams who have plenty of pace and movement up front.
As for Leao, Rebic’s form in recent weeks surely warrants him continuing to get the nod as he is scoring goals and looking a real threat almost every time he picks the ball up.
With Torino not visiting us until Monday night, there’s no obvious reason why we should rest or rotate in this encounter, and we’ll have to be at our best to take a win into the second leg.
In turn, the XI below, perhaps with Musacchio in for Kjaer seems to be the best possible available, and it’s hoped that it can lead us to a crucial victory.
PROBABLE MILAN XI (4-2-3-1): Donnarumma; Calabria, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Theo; Bennacer, Kessie, Castillejo; Calhanoglu; Rebic; Ibrahimovic.