Blue bow at Milan: Zoe Cristofoli gave birth to Theo Jr, Theo Hernandez’s eldest son. Naturally today the Rossoneri left-back was exempted from training at Milanello, in order to celebrate the event with his family and be close to his partner.
Alexis, where are you?
At the Carnago technical center there was, however, Alexis Saelemaekers, as is normal. Eager for redemption, after the heated bench in Milan-Bologna. The match against the rossoblù was the first match of the year in which the Belgian did not even enter the second half, but a few weeks ago he had lost the status of “untouchable” of the Pioli gang. Unthinkable until a couple of months ago. A few numbers: in the last ten matches in Serie A he has played from 1 ‘only against Spezia, then he has always entered the second half. Twelve minutes against Cagliari, 18 with Empoli, ten minutes with Napoli, 25 with Udinese and so on. The Belgian has lost his place in favor of Messias, an attacking dribbler, quite different from him, but despite his offensive nature he is unable to sting. In short, where did Pioli’s old protege go? The one who always plays and in any case, who gives balance, who feels the coach’s confidence? On the bench. In 2022 he played from 1 ‘only against Rome, Venice and Inter (Serie A and Coppa Italia). On two occasions he was substituted at the end of the first half. Saelemaekers is the third player with more tackles won (114) and tackles (44), the first for intercepted balls (39), the second for key passes (29), big chance create (4) and successful dribbling (42). However, little is seen in front of goal: the last assist came in December against Empoli. For the last goal, however, we need to go even further: 4 December against Salernitana, the only one of the season. Last year, if we take away the injuries and the missed matches due to suspension, the Belgian remained in the bench for 90 ‘only on three occasions: Celtic, Sparta Prague and Red Star. Clear logics of European turnover. The hierarchies have changed. Saelemaekers awaits the change of course.
Towards the Bull
Now the field. Against Torino Pioli will have to do without Florenzi (under meniscus, out for a month), the usual Kjaer and also Romagnoli, who worked separately today. He is struggling with an inflammation of the left adductor which was remedied before the match against Bologna. Against Toro he can go to the bench to the maximum. For the rest, the formation is almost already written, with some changes compared to the 0-0 against the rossoblù: Saelemaekers could return to the owner after 9 benches in a row, out of Messias, then Tomori and Kalulu in front of Maignan, Calabria on the right and the new father Theo to the left. In the middle, instead, space for Tonali and Bennacer with attacking midfielder Kessie, in a runoff with Brahim Diaz. Up front the usual Giroud is currently the favorite, flanked by Leao on the left. Rebic and Ibra ready to take over in the second half.
April 7 – 7pm
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