Milan-Bari Preview: Let's Do Lunch

Bari will come to the San Siro on Sunday for the lunchtime fixture, but for them, it will likely feel more like their last supper. Sitting dead last in the league, you have to admire a team that comes to play each game, despite knowing that next year, they’ll be dining in Serie B.

We’ve played them twice already, in November at Bari in Serie A, and at home in January for the Coppa Italia. Both times, we scored 3 goals. But since then, Bari have developed the nasty habit of only conceding 1 goal per match, as they have in their last 3 matches. So it may not be the goal feast one would expect from first and last in the table.

The first match with Bari, Milan conceded 2, and in the Coppa, we kept a clean sheet. Of course lately, we have not even allowed a single shot on goal in our last three matches, which tells me two things: one, Abbiati is going to bring his Sodoku, and two, this match could be a decent defensive battle. Tasty.

Our people have called their people, but as of this writing, it’s much too early to tell who will make our lunch date. Recently installed coach Bortolo Mutti could possibly choose a 4-3-3 or a 4-3-2-1 formation and invite Okaka, Huseklepp and Ghezzal up front. Okaka Chuka has 2 goals in 6 games started, but with only 3 goals between the three of them, they will likely leave the table hungry.

One guess at the midfield guest list would be Bentivoglio, Codrea, and Gazzi in the middle, with possibly Masiello, Parisi, Rossi, and Glik in the back. Or Mutti might invite a 4-4-2 squad instead, with only one month on the job, he is probably still figuring out the players and lineups. So your guess is as good as mine.

One lunch course will certainly be French, with the capable Jean-Francois Gillet in the net. While his goals conceded have improved a lot recently, still one could speculate that it will be escargot that he serves up, which may be no match for a certain speedy duck.

Bari fans will certainly recognize a certain Milanese lunch guest, the one and only Antonio Cassano. Our Fantantonio is from Bari and began his career with the club, probably their most famous player. When we played at Lecce he was whistled and jeered at for the full 90 minutes. Say what you will about the Pugliese, but they are certainly loyal and dedicated.

Milan will be without Boateng, who gave 110% on Wednesday and perhaps had his injured ankle stepped on one too many times. But with our cup-tied crew of van Bommel, Cassano, and Emanuelson, as well as the CL suspended Gattuso rested and hungry, Allegri will have no shortage of players to invite to the table.

It seems like the more we advocate rest for a certain Swedish lunch guest, the faster Allegri pencils him in on the lineup sheet, so I will only say that I hope his lunch invitation is lost in the mail. Others may need a rest after leaving it all on the pitch on Wednesday, so I wouldn’t mind Legrottaglie dining with us over the apparently flu-ridden and exhausted Nesta. We will see if Seedorf is started again, and if so, where he is played. After such an amazing performance on Wednesday, one would have to believe being a sub would be wise.

Other than that, Allegri’s guest list never ceases to surprise me. So I will let him do it again. Only at this point in the season, I know it will be a pleasant surprise, he has really come into his own, shown that he knows his team, shown that he is prepared for each opponent, and has created a team that is both very effective and works well together no matter who he throws out on the pitch. Dessert anyone?

I find it hard to believe that coming into this match, our goal-starved strike force don’t find a way to make Bari concede at least their recent 1 goal quota. Although last week, Bari held the incredible attacking Udinese until the 76th minute until they finally conceded a penalty. It could still be a goal feast for Milan, but that would require our strikers to observe the finer etiquette of finishing, which seems to be our Achille’s heel. And you never know, these little Galleti from the South could show some pluck and ruin our appetites. Check please!!

I suppose the most painful part of this match for me will likely be the timing: the lunchtime game in Italy will be at 2:30 in the morning for me. So perhaps I will stay up all night, then sleep until lunch. A hearty buon appetito or sogni d’oro (golden dreams), depending on where you are watching. It should be a tasty one, at least for Milan fans.

EDIT: As Evan so kindly pointed out, Jean-Francois Gillet is actually Belgian, NOT French. Which is good, because I would much rather have Belgian waffles than escargot, anyway. Thanks, Evan!
Milan-Bari Preview: Let's Do Lunch Milan-Bari Preview: Let's Do Lunch Reviewed by Elaine on 12:04 AM Rating: 5
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