Milan enter crucial period without Ibrahimovic

ROME Defending Italian champions AC Milan begin a crucial phase of their season when they travel to third-placed Udinese this weekend.

Playing today

Udinese    vs    Milan     19:00    Cagliari    vs    Palermo    21:45

Playing on Sunday

Parma     vs    Fiorentina    16:00
Catania    vs    Genoa
Atalanta    vs    Lecce
Inter    vs    Novara
Bologna    vs    Juventus 21:45   

Playing on Monday

Napoli    vs    Chievo     21:45
Siena    vs    AS Roma

ROME

Defending Italian champions AC Milan begin a crucial phase of their season when they travel to third-placed Udinese this weekend.

Star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic starts a three-match ban on Saturday in a period when second-placed Milan must play the other two top three teams.

Following their trip to Udine, Milan will host Cesena and leaders Juve in successive league games at the San Siro.

It is a crucial period in which to be missing their best player and top scorer, especially with fellow forwards Pato and Antonio Cassano also on the sidelines.

It means extra pressure being piled on the shoulders of misfiring Brazilian Robinho, veteran Filippo Inzaghi, youngster Stephan El Shaarawy and new signing Maxi Lopez.

The latter three have hardly played for Milan this season while Robinho, the most used forward after Ibrahimovic, has managed a paltry return of just three goals in 17 Serie A games.

In fact he has only five goals in 24 games in all competitions and has come under fire for some shocking misses, including two in front of an open goal from inside the six yard box in successive games back in November.

Milan captain Massimo Ambrosini acknowledges that the big Swede, who with 15 in the league has scored more than double the number of goals as all Milan’s other strikers put together, will be sorely missed.

“Ibrahimovic is a fundamental player and it will be important to understand how the team will react to his absence,” he said.

 

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