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Milan-Cesena Preview: For the Win?

Milan go into Saturday’s match with yet another injury to add to the list. In my mind’s eye, I see the team, battered and bruised, huddled together at the fortress San Siro, preparing for battle. Allegri calls for every able-bodied player to stand up and be counted. But there are so few… And normally, he would probably rest some important players against a team like Cesena ahead of the midweek Champions League match with Viktoria Plzen. But now he is forced to rest them, forced to select from those who are fit. And given that we are 14th in the table with only 2 points in 3 matches, he must play his very best 11 so he can play for the win.

We'll have none of that celebrating at the San Siro, Mutu.
I mentioned a team like Cesena, but don’t be fooled. Remember they humbled us with a defeat in week 2 last year? And although they are absolute bottom of the table on 0 points, they have played Napoli, Catania and Lazio so far and managed to score against Napoli and Lazio. So I would not count on these Seahorses rolling over. In fact, we are the lowest team in the table they have faced yet, so I expect they are rubbing their hands together in anticipation for the win.

Marco Giampaolo replaced Massimo Ficcadenti over the summer and Cesena reinforced somewhat with several players purchased or on loan. Most controversially, they acquired Adrian Mutu from Fiorentina. In the Lazio game on Wednesday, Giampaolo lined up Ravaglia; Rossi, von Bergen, Lauro, Commotto; Colucci, Guana, Parolo; Candreva, Mutu, and Eder. I would assume he will lineup a squad at least that strong for us, and they will definitely be playing for the win.

If Aquaman can connect, we can dominate the Seahorses.

Our depleted squad will likely look pretty similar to what it has this past week. Everyone is waiting for Taiwo to reappear, as he has been called up for the past two games but not played. so it would be nice to see him again, even as a sub. In the middle, Aquilani has played the last couple of matches behind the strikers, but hasn’t really been able to be that connecting piece between the middle and the front that he should be. This is supposed to be his preferred position, so let’s hope that Aquaman steps it up and dominates those Seahorses with the performance we all know he is capable of. Connecting the midfield with the front line is going to be crucial for the win.

With the injury to Pato, Allegri’s choices up front just got slimmer. Cassano suddenly becomes the only obvious choice. Other than that, there is the young El Shaarawy, who may not be ready for 90 minutes in the big league. Or the consummate veteran Inzaghi, who may not last for 90 minutes having just come off of injuries. I suppose there would be Primavera players called up again, but it is hard to know who Allegri will start up front, also considering the Champions League match next week. One thing is for sure, he will need to find someone who can put Milan on the board if we truly want those 3 points for the win.

Does Pippo have 90 minutes in him for the win?

The injury crisis has got Galliani questioning staff about medical and training issues. And it’s about time. Even with a new team doctor this season, Milan has had an inordinate amount of injuries. If you’ll recall, Juventus had a similar problem a couple of years back and redid the surface of their training pitch and hired a new medical staff. Strangely enough, injuries did drop considerably the next season. So it will be interesting to see if Milan makes some changes this season or over next summer and whether or not they will make a difference for the win.

But injury crisis or not, champions are usually in the top half of the table. And with so few games played this season, a win or two will definitely put us there. We have lacked organization and discipline as well as pace and precision. We have not played like the champions we are in Serie A so far. I am hoping that we can dominate the Seahorses in battle and gain some confidence tomorrow when Cesena come to the fortress San Siro. Three points would go a long way for morale for our battered troops and also to put our title hopes back on track. No more draws, definitely no more losses. Tomorrow we absolutely and 100% play for the win.


This post inspired by the music of Metallica


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