Lecce-Milan Preview: Circus Time

I cannot help it. Every time I see Lecce’s home uniforms, the circus music starts going through my head. And even though we sit in the lower half of the table right along our yellow and red striped friends, we are on the climb and they are… well, they are in deep trouble already. So let’s go to the circus and play like we did vs. Palermo with a convincing win and maybe some extra goals to help our goal differential. Everyone likes a circus, right?

One problem, though. Milan have not won at Lecce in the last 5 times they’ve traveled to the heel of the boot to play them. For our part, we’ve won all of the corresponding home matches, but we lost one and drew 4 in the last 5 meetings away. Of course you could argue that Lecce have more to prove. With only a win and a draw to show for 6 games this season, they are literally playing for their Serie A lives. For our part, though, we’ve lost both of our other away games so far this season. So this trip to the circus might not be as much fun as it will be hard work and maybe a little luck to break the Lecce curse.

Of course there will be a couple of familiar faces in the circus crew on Sunday. The young Rodney Strasser is getting some playing time, as well as veteran Massimo Oddo, both having played with Milan just last year. But all is fair in love and football, and I am sure that our boys will have no problems reminding them which team are the reigning champions.

How have Lecce been playing? Well after 3 straight losses, last week they played to a goalless draw away to Genoa. With a lineup of Benassi in goal, defenders Esposito, Tomovic, Mesbah, and Oddo, a midfield of Obodo, Grossmüller, Giacomazzi, and Strasser, and strikers Ofere and Pasquato up front, they seemed a bit lucky to get the point. I would expect manager Eusebio Di Francesco to put out a similar lineup on Sunday, but perhaps with first string keeper Julio Sergio if he is available. Milan fans will certainly want to see Oddo & Strasser, for better or for worse.

Massimiliano Allegri will have some tough choices to make as Milan are coming off of a Champions League win on Wednesday and hosting Parma this coming Wednesday. We also face off against Roma on Saturday, with whom we are currently tied on the table with, so he will certainly want to leave a little something in the tank for those matches.

I would like to see him start the same lineup that won so convincingly over Palermo: Abbiati; Abate, Nesta, Silva, Antonini; Aquilani, van Bommel, Nocerino, Robinho; Cassano, and Ibrahimovic. Only he never does what I would like, so don’t count on this. Plus, he rested Silva on Wednesday and may or may not have Ambrosini available on Sunday.

Certainly he must take every match seriously at this point. The Palermo win was important not only for our confidence, but for a precious three points that saw us gain 2 spots while many of the leaders all dropped a couple of points. We need to win every game at this point to put ourselves back near the top, and we certainly cannot afford a loss or even a draw to relegation zone Lecce.

I’m certain they won’t make it easy for us, though. Whatever our curse is about playing in the Stadio Via del Mare, this is the time to break it. We tossed the Palermo monkey off of our back last week, now we need to crush this curse like only an elephant could. Oh, and if our boys could also score multiple goals and keep a clean sheet, that would be great, too. After all, it should be entertaining, that’s what going to the circus is all about, right?

This post inspired by the music of Ludo
(I bet you thought I was going to say circus music, right?)

Lecce-Milan Preview: Circus Time Lecce-Milan Preview: Circus Time Reviewed by Elaine on 4:48 AM Rating: 5
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