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Udinese-Milan preview: make or break for Udinese

On Sunday, Milan travel to Udine to make one last Serie A appearance before the players retreat to their respective summer destinations. While Milan have nothing to prove in this game, Udinese have everything to gain or lose and will give it their all. Di Natale, Inler, Isla, Asamoah and the rest of the Zebrette deserve a Champions League spot and it remains to be seen how much Milan will do to keep them from realizing their dream.


A draw is enough for Udinese to seal the deal and it is this blogger's opinion that neither team will be insisting on a win. I expect Milan to hold possession and sporadically attack, while Udinese will sit back and also sporadically attack. If an early goal is scored, the game may turn into chaos but I think it's more likely that it will slowly progress towards a calm draw, 0-0 or 1-1.

There is no telling what line-up Allegri will produce, I think it's fairly certain that Boateng will take the place behind two strikers again. It remains to be seen whether Ibra will start and, if so, which Brazilian will make room for him. Pirlo should get to say goodbye on the pitch, if only with a cameo. Personally, I'd rather watch him orchestrate one last game from start to finish to round off his 10 years in red and black.

By the time the game is played, we will probably know whether Seedorf and Gattuso will be staying. Ambro got a one-year extension yesterday, meaning he will probably only stay for one more season. I can say the same thing I said about Pirlo - all we can do is trust the management that there is a plan in place and all outgoing transfers are part of it. As long as Allegri is getting what he wants, I have no complaints. A coach that wins a scudetto in his first year has the right to make big decisions.

It's not easy, you know. Writing a preview for a game of no importance, I mean. So let's talk about Udinese a bit, since they're the ones whose futures depend on the outcome of this game. They're the most dangerous counter-attacking team in the league. In the beginning of the season, we would have been terrified because our set pieces usually led to a counter-attack for the opponent. Nine months later, our set-pieces are still unproductive but Allegri has remedied the defensive frailties a in the meanwhile.

The first game against Udinese was tremendous, ending in a 4-4 draw. Udinese scored from counter-attacks, Milan scored because of the amount of individual skill in our attack. It was an entertaining game for all spectators, whether neutral or not. This game should be much different. Udinese's flanks, along with a mobile midfield, are often their weapon of choice against stronger teams. While Abate should be able to neutralize their left side, I doubt whoever starts at left back for us has any chance against Isla. Personally I'd try starting Emanuelson at left back and try to keep the Chilean pinned back, or instruct Zambrotta to stay back more.

Van Bommel's presence in the middle should provide a block for any surges through that part of the pitch, while Boateng will be fiercely contested for any ball by the equally physical Zebrette midfielders. It's hard to make any tactical predictions having no idea what kind of line-up we'll see, so I'll just leave it at that and hope our boys enjoy the game. If there's any truth to the Asamoah rumors, this is a good chance for him to prove himself once again to Allegri and Galliani and I for one would love to see him in Milan next season.