Milan v Juvenus

Juventus v Milan Match Preview, scouting and predictions


Both Juventus and Milan seem headed for the end of an era, setting up a particularly somber clash even though second place is still at stake.

  Serie A Week 33 – Saturday 27 April  2024 – Allianz Stadium | Preview by Enrico Passarella




The last couple of matches were a microcosm of their 2024. They did just enough to stay afloat and call the season a success when everything is said and done. The goal of qualifying for the Champions League has been purposedly heightened due to the new format and their one-year absence. In reality, throughout their history, they haven’t finished in the top four only when something strange happened.

Winning the Coppa Italia would be nice because a trophy is a trophy but would surely mean a lot more for Atalanta. Since they are a handful of points away from sealing the deal, they’ll probably do it by beating Salernitana and picking up three draws elsewhere, or simply thanks to the competitors not running the table.

Their directors are keeping up the façade about Massimiliano Allegri, which is inevitable because they can’t undermine a coach when they have something to play for. If they had residual reservations and somebody was still backing him inside their management, their last few displays, or really months, were abundantly indicative. The irony is also that, if they wanted to stay the course for obscure reasons, they’d have to give the boss a new contract. A lame-duck manager only precludes a midseason firing at this level, with all the troubles that entails. It’d be oxymoronic to muse on a new cycle with a boss on a short-term deal.

It’d be a shocker if that were the case, even more so considering the much stingier phase they are reportedly headed for. The chatter about sales is exaggerated, but it’s more likely than not that at least two or three linchpins will be on their way out. They probably will be replaced with talents and projects and not somebody at the same level right away. The coach will have to do a lot more than just stir the ship in the right direction through calm waters.

If they aim to be somewhat competitive, or really avoid taking a step back since their rivals are way ahead, the manager will have to make it so that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts through his tactics since the squad will be younger, less expensive, and ultimately weaker. That’s far from impossible, though.

The fact that they have been linked to just one candidate signals that they have made up their mind and secured him, or it’d be quite an embarrassment. They better have clear ideas and act quickly, as their transfer market will be a whole new can of worms with the future of several contributors hanging in the balance and no real untouchables.

It’ll be interesting to see how much they dare lean on their talents, either those already on their roster, on loan, or in the Next Gen. They have several but only a couple of them are at the necessary level, while others will need time. That also applies to their recent newcomers, who are very numbered. It’d be better to be less schizophrenic than in the past and better protect their investments, even those not too hefty.

In that sense, it seemed like Allegri tried to discredit Cristiano Giuntoli’s work with the lineup versus Cagliari, with Carlos Alcaraz and Timothy Weah starting together after being tossed to the side for multiple weeks. If that was the plan, it backfired since the latter came through a few days later against Lazio. He has been far from great, but he should have been given more opportunities as their hierarchies on the wings aren’t fluid behind Andrea Cambiaso, whose utilization on the right wing is a bit dubious since, while ambidextrous, he uses his left foot more. Filip Kostic and Samuel Iling-Junior have both been underwhelming, and their future at the club is a lot less certain than Weah’s, as the former is a one-dimensional veteran, and the youngsters’ contract runs out in 2025, with no traces of a renewal.

Allegri has gotten to what always looked like the soundest way to field Kenan Yildiz and Federico Chiesa together without hurting the team’s balance, one on each flank in a 3-4-3. It looked good but lasted only a few minutes in Rome. It should see the light of day more often down the stretch to be more dangerous. Giving the Turk more minutes would be beneficial, but it shouldn’t necessarily come at the expense of the ex-Fiorentina man, who isn’t consistent but is always electric when he has it going and too frequently their main source of offense. That solution wouldn’t necessarily have long-term ramifications or hurt anybody’s feelings, as Adrien Rabiot and Weston McKennie appear more out than in. Plus, they can always stick the latter on the flank to be sturdier.

Expected XI (3-5-2): Szczesny; Gatti, Bremer, Danilo; Weah, Cambiaso, Locatelli, Rabiot, Kostic; Chiesa, Vlahovic. 

Doubts:  Bremer/Rugani, Weah/McKennie, Chiesa/Yildiz. 

Injury Report: De Sciglio (illness), Kean (knee sprain) – Probale. 

Suspensions: Pogba, Fagioli. 


If they hadn’t decided already, their last two matches were disappointing but at least gave them clarity about what to do with Stefano Pioli. The players surely didn’t come out guns blazing to save his job. They showed some decent fight only late and in the wrong ways in the Derby. Instead, they completely botched and almost no-showed the two Roma matches, which was odd and worrying. They had the means to go all the way in the Europa League.

Unfortunately, a lengthy tenure is more likely to end with a whimper and not with a bang. They have a pivotal call to make. Some of the early options are way too fancy, not to say preposterous, or underwhelming. They aren’t far off from competing with Inter. They just need a steady and tactical savvy guide who can strike the right chords to motivate the squad. It’s bound to be better, even perhaps markedly so, if they don’t do anything crazy and their budget is as sound as reported. They have to address two or three key positions, but they’ll start with the advantage of not having to do as much as last season.

Their officials will have to be surgical and prove their worth. But it’ll be a noteworthy summer also for their relatively new American ownerships. It’s easy to be ambitious with statements, not so much when it comes to spending. Selling Sandro Tonali turned out to be a marvelous deal for what transpired afterward. They wisely spread the dough around on multiple additions that panned out for the most part. Still, they surely felt his absence on the pitch, as their midfield has rarely been great. They perhaps leaned too much on Ismael Bennacer returning to his previous levels after suffering a major knee injury. They have some quality pieces but something hasn’t worked properly if they are still searching for the best combination so late into the season.

It’s no secret that entrepreneurs or hedge fund guys from the United States pay more attention to the bottom line than other Serie A owners. While that’s a healthier way to do business, and it should arguably be regulated to operate like that, their window, even if they signed a pair of champions, would look a lot different if they cashed in on either Mike Maignan, Theo Hernandez, or Rafael Leao in order to break even, even though replacing a couple of them for a portion of their price tags wouldn’t be a daunting task. It surely wouldn’t coincide with the grand declarations they have been making. Given their ideas and the shortage of alluring up-and-comers with previous Serie A experience, they should do whatever is needed to lure Roberto De Zerbi, which won’t come cheap. That would send a big signal.

Leao starting as a false-nine in the Derby seemed like a Hail Mary and didn’t work out, although there could be something there to moving him to a more central role. He can better pick his spot and move around the pitch more rather than being stranded on the left wing. It’d probably be better with him as a second-striker and a center-forward next to him, so they have more presence in the box. Somehow making the Portuguese star more prolific and less inconsistent will be one of the first orders of business for their next gaffer, which wouldn’t necessarily be married to their present standard schemes.

Yunus Musah has emerged as of late after Ismael Bennacer and Yacine Adli turned out to be poor fits next to each and Tijjani Reijnders dipped a little. They are numerically set in the role but could use an upgrade. They might have to sell somebody to make room, though. The formation will make all the difference, and not all their current contributors are at their best in the current one. They are in the same situation in the back, where they’d be in great shape if everybody were healthy at the same time. Instead, injuries have stymied the growth of Pierre Kalulu and Malick Thiaw, so they need a more dependable Fikayo Tomori partner.

They’ll have to come up with a makeshift defense with three starters on the mend, but it’ll also be an opportunity for further evaluations. There’s no difference between finishing second or third, but it’s always better to have bragging rights.

Expected XI (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Musah, Gabbia, Thiaw, Florenzi;  Adli, Rejinders; Pulisic, Loftus-Cheek, Leao; Giroud. 

Doubts:  Musah/Terracciano, Bennacer/Adli, Giroud/Chukwueze. 

Injury Report:

Pobega (hip injury) – Questionable;

Kjaer (thigh contracture), Kalulu (knee sprain), Caldara (ankle injury)  – OUT.

Suspensions: Hernandez, Tomori, Calabria. 



Draw – Under 2.5 Goals

Enrico Passarella

Contributor for @footitalia1 | Serie A | News, Transfers, Betting |