Serie A Preview: Torino v. AC Milan

Date: Saturday, October 17, 2015

Kickoff: 2:45 PM ET (USA) / 20:45 CET (ITA)

League Position: Milan (11), Torino (5)

Stadio Olimpico, Turin, Italy

Everyone feeling re-energized after the international break? Forgotten that 4-0 thumping by Napoli in the last round? Nah, me neither.

Things need to turn around in a hurry if this isn’t going to be yet another lost season in Rossoneri history. The players and manager are not clicking and it shows on the field. Our attack is spotty and our defense a frequent shambles. I’m looking for positives here folks, but I’m not finding anything.

At least everything is going well behind the scenes, right?

Oh god.

Tale of the Tape

Last 6 Serie A matches:

Milan: WLWWLL
Torino: WDWLWL

Torino have won 5 straight at home in Serie A, but they’ve failed to defeat Milan in their last 15 opportunities. This may be the only team left whose number Milan still has.

The number is climbing again. Set pieces continue to flummox our defense, having now allowed 5 goals already from dead ball situations. Torino have only tallied 3 (we’ve scored 4 ourselves, an improvement), but this fixable problem has yet to be fixed for three seasons running now.

Torino have slight edges in stats like possession and shots on goal, but their 84% passing percentage compared to our 77% jumps out to me the most. That statistic just has to improve for Milan, and it’s more confirmation that our issues really do start in the midfield.

The hosts have put themselves in good positions to score, with 62% of their shots coming from inside the eighteen. Compare that to 53% of Milan’s efforts coming from long range. Anyone got any idea which Rossoneri player might actually have some, you know, ideas?

Missing Pieces

Menez and Niang are still out, but the big blow is Balotelli this week, who has been training separately and looks unlikely to be called up for Saturday. Nobody suspended this week, so somebody needs to step up this week and get another red card. Luckily Mexes is back…

Bruno Peres, Maksimovic, and Danilo Avelar look like they’ll be missing from defense for Torino this weekend, while Joel Obi and Marco Benassi are doubtful as midfield options.

Possible Line-up

Diego Lopez

Calabria – Zapata – Romagnoli – De Sciglio

Kucka – Montolivo – Bonaventura

Bertolacci

Luiz Adriano – Bacca

The weirdest part about this Milan team to me is that I really don’t dislike the squad on paper. I mean, it seems like we have some decent options, doesn’t it? I think (and pray) there is talent on this team, but for whatever reason whether it be tactical, psychological, or managerial, it’s just not showing up each round.

Choices for me this week include Calabria over Abate, Zapata over Mexes, Kucka over Poli, and Montolivo over Nigel. The Milan captain looked pretty good for Italy over the break, so hopefully he can carry some of that form into league play.

Bertolacci was a good signing, I force myself to continue believing. I’ll put him behind the two new boys again, hoping for a little South American magic.

What to Watch for:

Danger Man – Milan’s penchant for conceding set piece goals makes this week’s slightly more unorthodox danger man Kamil Glik. The big Polish international is good in the air and has victimized us before. Quagliarella is maybe a more likely scorer altogether but I still have major concerns about our ability to defend the big defender in the box.

Signs of Life? – During the Napoli debacle, some of the Rossoneri players had that look on their faces that just seemed to scream, “damn, we stink.” It’s only the eighth round though. There is still some time to adjust and get on track. But there’s not much. There’s got to be a spark somewhere, but if the players can’t actually show us that they care, it’s going to be even harder to convince us that we should.

About Dave Lamb

Dave Lamb is a lifelong Milan supporter, public school teacher, and aspiring stand-up comedian living in Boston. You can follow him on twitter @DaveLambComedy

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