We head to Milan (perhaps) on the back of a resounding victory over Udinese yet nonetheless with a certain valid trepidation. For our opponents sit more jolly than for many moons indeed atop of the table, still yet to lose in the league and now impossible to avoid considering beyond very serious title contenders.
Pioli has been given time to knit his squad together, find the best formation and the patience shown by the board is reaping dividends. Whilst their form has been steady, and impressive it would be wrong to suggest they have been imperious. More a case of a side playing to their strengths, with momentum, fine form and a healthy synergy between players, tactics and coach.
This is clearly far more a barometer of any progress than the last fixture. A victory is imperative to finding a much needed injection of belief and hunger in the squad. Not to suggest a draw would be appalling, but a loss would be close to this. As it would leave us 13 points off the pace, albeit with a game in hand against Napoli – alongside adding wind to the sails of the many ships below and above us, signalling that we are sinking this season…
The loss of both Sandro and Juan make things a little more interesting than expected. Also have to factor in Demiral itching to get back in the thick of the action and Rabiot is available.
It will be the same hybrid formation we must presume, switching from 4-4-2 to 3-4-1-2 when in and out of possession. Danilo probably on the left with Demiral on the right, tucked in deep. Which demands that Chiesa is also placed on the right flank where he belongs. Will be curious to see if Pirlo brings the frenchman instantly back into the starting XI given the midfield hardly seemed well balanced on the weekend.
Purely for fleeting amusement, this is what I would like to see…