Date: 30 September 2018
Time: 20:30 CEST, 2:30 PM EDT, 11:30 AM PDT
Venue: Mapei Stadium – Città del Tricolore
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Sassuolo and Milan go into this match at opposite ends of the table and with opposite fulfillment towards the preseason expectations for the two clubs.
Milan, after a rather tumultuous summer of off-the-pitch problems and ownership drama, made a few brilliant signings and transfers before the deadline while Sassuolo, who had finished 11th in the table, 11 points from 10th placed Sampdoria, had a decent, if unspectacular, summer.
However, given the positions in the table, one might mistake the two teams for each other going into this match. Milan, despite the acquisition of Gonzalo Higuain and Mattia Caldara from Juventus, have been unable to finish good chances on a regular basis and have also been unable to keep a clean sheet, leading to a lot of frustration from the fans.
The squad list released by the club is a tad misleading, as while Higuain isn’t going to be making the trip to Reggio Emilio, Gattuso said that both Fabio Borini and Patrick Cutrone won’t be able to start as neither are fit.
Milan, therefore, have a selection dilemma on their hands, as none of the recognized “strikers” are able to start the match. Samu Castillejo and Suso have played up top previously in their careers, but both are wingers and shouldn’t be depended upon to lead the line. Hakan Calhanoglu or Alen Halilovic might also be tipped to play up front as well, but whatever happens, it’s not going to be an ideal situation for a Milan team needing to get a win in order to take pressure off of the manager and the players.
Of course, if Milan could keep clean sheets, they could always just try and nick a goal, and play defensively, but they’ve been unable to do that and have surrendered a number of late goals.
If Milan are able to get a result today, it will take something special from someone stepping up in the absence of Higuain, and perhaps Leonardo could take some notes and bring in a striker or two in January.