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Milan-Palermo Preview: Starving

Palermo’s owner, Maurizio Zamparini, certainly has a good sense of humor. He appointed current coach Devis Mangia, whose last name literally means “eat,” just like you may have been implored by your nonna repetitively, “Mangia! Mangia!” But just because Palermo have made a meal out of us in the past, it doesn’t mean we’ll let them do it again. Sorry, boys, the kitchen is closed. We’re sending you back home starving.

Miglaccio hungry for goals? Not today.
(Grazie a Sposato al Nemico per l'arte)

Saturday is Milan’s chance to redeem themselves. Sure, we’ve done well enough in the Champions League and we pulled off a win vs. Cesena, but Palermo should prove a tougher test, as well as a personal triumph for Milan, considering our recent head-to-heads. They have won 4 of our last 6 meetings, while we have only won one, in November of last season at home. (Which, by the way is a very good omen for Saturday!)

While they may be sitting 4th in the league on 10 points at this time, while we wander around at 15th with only 5 points, consider the teams we’ve played, and our W-L-D ratio is a bit skewed. Also consider that we have had better possession and better passing on average in our comparative matches (even against the big teams,) then we can definitely go into Saturday’s match with hope.


Although we will miss Boateng due to suspension, Milan will be getting back a number of key players, including Robinho. Mexes looks to possibly play his first minutes for the club after recovering from the injury sustained while still at Roma, and may even be started to give Silva a rest. Abate, our very own Blonde Fury, should be back to terrorize on the right. But maybe it’s not the players we’ve been missing so much as the confidence they give the team. Certainly having a decent bench in the case of injury or suspension or even simply in the name of rest also has its merits.

When last year’s “head chef” Pastore went to PSG over the summer, I figured Palermo would be much easier to manage this year. But after their first few matches, I think most people are saying, “Who’s Pastore?” With goals from Miccoli, Hernandez, Migliaccio, Bertolo, Zehavi, and Pinilla so far this season, Pastore is just a distant memory.

Our Milanese connoisseurs will be missing my favorite Palermo player in Balzaretti. He picked up 2 yellows and thus a red vs. Siena, so will be suspended. Which is great for us. But don’t relax too much. Miccoli has scored 3 goals so far, and looks far from running out of steam. Abel Hernandez, who had a good season last year, is having an amazing season so far. For me, Palermo is one of those teams without any overpaid big name talent, but whose “little guys” can take a bit out of your team before you even realize it. Their options are seemingly endless and with an element of stealth about them, they are very, very dangerous.

"I don't know what I'm doing, I'm just a caretaker"

Plus, there’s the mysterious Mangia. Having coached primarily in Serie C2, D, and also youth teams, he fell under the gaze of Zamparini when he sacked Pioli at the beginning of September, just before the season started. Without even having his proper coaching badges, Mangia is scrambling to take the proper coaching courses, despite being labeled as a caretaker coach. What this all translates to is that in a fit of crazy, as Zamparini is often wont to have, he fired his good coach, thinking that his old standby, Delio Rossi, would come running back to the club again. When he asked for Ranieri, who was dusting of his black and blue suit and tie, he realized that he had made a mistake, so appointed Mangia as the most capable looking coach in sight. Only now, the joke’s on Zamparini, as Mangia seems to be quite capable. However, having been told by Zampa in the media that he was capable, that means Mangia probably has about 2 or 3 more weeks.

So… a caretaker coach, having lost key players like Pastore and Cassani… sounds easy, right? No, they are very hungry for another piece of Milan pie. Nothing would make them happier than sending us to the relegation zone, I’m sure. But the only pie that should be served on Saturday is some humble pie, to those boys in pink. They think they can come into our house and make a meal out of us? I don’t think so. With much of our squad back and having eaten enough humble pie already for a whole season, Milan should be looking to carve their proverbial turkey. I wanna see 3 points and a convincing victory over our nemeses on Saturday. And send them home starving.

This post inspired by the music of the Foo Fighters