Up next for them will be a match against Sassuolo this Saturday.
In The Background
Milan first met Sassuolo last October, and the game ended in a 2-2 tie. They then met in January of this year, and Milan won that affair with a 5-2 romp. This was soon followed by meeting them again in the quarterfinal of the Coppa Italia, and Milan won both legs on an aggregate of 4-0.
This will be the first meeting of the teams for this Serie A season.
Milan have been fortunate enough not to have lost a single match so far season, despite having run a gauntlet of rather tough opponents. The Neroverde on the other hand, have had mixed form, though it is worth noting that they’ve done just enough to be just one point below their fellow black stripe bearers, Inter in the standings.
Milan have won four of their previous games, while tying their last two. Conversely, Sassuolo started the season off by tying Bari, then followed that up with a loss against Juventus. Overall, they’ve only won two games so far this season.
While that might make it seem like Sassuolo are an ‘easy’ opponent on paper, it’s important to remember that this is Serie A, and nothing goes according to plan here. Roma certainly learned that the hard way when they lost against Florentia last week. And of course, Milan tying Juventus in the dying seconds of that game scuppered a lot of people’s plans as well.
As I’ve written before, there is a real risk of Milan dropping points at this stage of the season. They did so last year, and they did so against ‘easier’ opposition that were at the lower half of the table. The hope now is that Milan have grown since then, and have accumulated the necessary maturity and experience they’ll need to avoid repeating this.
However, given how incredibly nerve wracking, daunting, draining and intense last week’s encounter with the league leaders was, the game against Sassuolo will feel like a welcome respite in return. (Not to mention the unnecessary melodrama and sermonizing from certain parts of the fandom that arose when some people were not happy with the results of last Sunday’s game. I’m sure the Rossonere will be glad not to have to go through that again.)
All According to Keikaku
(That means plan.)
Milan’s coach, Maurizio Ganz, will most likely deploy the standard formula that has given him so much success. He’ll have his girls line-up in a 4-3-3, and use a three pronged trident in attack, with Giacinti being the dagger that pierces into the bleeding heart of the opposition’s defense.
Milan will use the speed in their attack (most notably provided by Bergamaschi) in order to exploit the full width of the pitch, as the team will do their best to stretch their opponent’s defense, and to run them ragged.
He’ll also make sure the Rossonere will exploit their aerial threat as well, the same one that was so devastatingly accurate during their last game.
Francesca Vitale (our resident hero who once scored four touchdowns in a single game) will no doubt, be a focal point for this once again. It’s also hard to believe that this is actually Francesca’s first season as a fullback, as she is newly converted to this position.
The reason why this is seemingly so incredulous, is the fact that she has taken to it like a duck to an aquatic surface, and has adapted to the role quite well.
Francesca will not only be a potential focal point in attack, but in the defense as well, as she is a part of a closely knit unit that has only conceded five goals this season. Let’s hope for some more magic from her this Saturday, and from the rest of the Milan women as well.
‘Cause when I think about you, it’s bittersweet
As was noted before, this game will have a bittersweet tone to it, as it will be the first time that Milan will meet their former captain, Daniela Sabatino, after she left the team. This will also be the first time that they’ll meet her after the untimely death of her father, who passed away rather unexpectedly last July.
Let’s just hope that Daniela will get the warm welcome she deserves. After all, she most definitely warrants it, after a year filled with the highest of highs, and the most devastating of lows.
A few, random statistics
- Daniela Sabatino has been in fine form lately. Not only has she scored 50% of all of Sassuolo’s goals*, but she’s also scored three times for the national team during their Euro 2021 qualifiers. She might be little, but she more than makes up for it by playing like a giant (not to mention her voice is pretty loud too).
- *(The statistic does not include own goals from the opposition.)
- Valentina Giacinti has scored four goals against Sassuolo, with those goals coming in spades as doubles.
- 80% of Milan’s goals have come in the second half of their matches. In the meanwhile, 70% of Sassuolo’s goals have come during the periods of added time. (The source for all of these statistics.)
Here’s to hoping that Saturday’s match will be a good one. The Rossonere will need all three points to keep pace with Juve, and here’s to hoping they’ll get them this Saturday. And we’ll be sending them all of our love and support, as they work hard to make this happen, and to make us all happy.
Possible formation and line-up
Milan (4-3-3): Korenčiová, Vitale, Fusetti, Hovland, Tucceri, Čonč, Jane, Heroum, Bergamaschi, Giacinti, Salvatori Rinaldi (Or Lady Andrade)
When: Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019
Where: The Centro Sportivo Vismara in Monza, Italy
Official kickoff time: 12:00 PM CET (6:00 am EST / 3:00 am PST)