Milan will face Juventus in the second leg of our Coppa Italia semi-final clash on June 12, and there is much discussion over how we’ll line up already.
As noted by Sky Sport Italia, the Italian Minister for Sport, Vincenzo Spadafora, has announced that our encounter will take place next Friday in what will be the first game back in Italy since the coronavirus lockdown came into force, with the tie finely poised at 1-1 ahead of the return leg in Turin.
In turn, coach Stefano Pioli will be stepping up preparations with the players over the next seven days to ensure that fitness levels and conditioning are as close to optimal as possible.
We’ll be missing key individuals though as Zlatan Ibrahimovic is injured, as well as being suspended, while Theo Hernandez and Samu Castillejo will miss out solely due to suspension.
With that in mind, Pioli has key decisions to make to ensure that we make a winning start on our return to competitive action, and that we’re involved in the Coppa Italia final which is scheduled for June 17, as per the report above.
Options on systems, personnel could differ
As noted by MilanNews, via Sky Sport Italia, it’s suggested that Pioli tested two systems in training on Thursday. It appears as though the Italian tactician is leaning towards either a 4-3-1-2 or a 4-3-2-1.
Option A – 4-3-1-2: Donnarumma; Conti, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Calabria; Kessie, Bennacer, Bonaventura; Calhanoglu; Rebic, Leao
Option B – 4-3-2-1: Donnarumma; Conti, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Calabria; Kessie, Bennacer, Bonaventura; Calhanoglu, Paqueta, Rebic.
There could arguably be a third option, albeit merely a variant of the above.
Option C – 4-2-3-1: Donnarumma; Conti, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Calabria; Kessie, Bennacer; Bonaventura, Calhanoglu, Rebic; Leao.
While the personnel could change in the systems detailed above, it remains to be seen which Pioli prefers, and perhaps more importantly, who has impressed in training since the players returned to suggest that they are in the best physical condition and won’t be at risk of picking up an injury.
Key figures picks themselves and so captain Alessio Romagnoli will be expected to start, as will Gianluigi Donnarumma as he’ll have had a chance to recover from his own injury blow over the lockdown.
Meanwhile, Ismael Bennacer and Franck Kessie will arguably be fundamental in this game to give us energy and mobility in the middle of the pitch to try and win that particular battle, while Ante Rebic was in great form prior to the stoppage of the season.
Beyond that quintet, places are arguably up for grabs across the board for the most part, and so it remains to be seen who will get the nod from Pioli.
Much can change between now and next week but it’s a fascinating way to restart the season, and after two months with no football, all concerned will be itching to get back out on the pitch with the tactical battle between Pioli and Maurizio Sarri arguably the most important.