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Bologna-Milan Preview: Will Work for Points

Heading down to Bologna on Sunday seems innocent enough. We are tied for second on the table, they are dancing with relegation in 17th. But a team near relegation is never predictable, they’ve definitely got something to prove. Especially after getting knocked out of the Coppa Italia on Thursday by league leaders Juventus. So we will probably have to work for our 3 points, as things are not always as they seem.

Pato dreams of the Bologna attack.
 Okay, I know Bologna is a beautiful city, not an American lunchmeat invention that we can’t even say correctly, but the photoshop opportunity was too good to pass up. Speaking of beautiful Bologna, to me, the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara is one of the most instantly recognizable and beautiful stadiums in Italy. Perfect to take 3 points at, in my opinion.

Manager Stefano Pioli was Chievo’s coach last year, then Zamparini’s summer love at Palermo, sacked before the season started, then courted again by the crazy owner. But he opted for the Bologna job, maybe looking for more management stability. But it has proven to be more work, too, with his team flirting with relegation. He will be lucky to have a job by the end of January.

Pioli is being really emphatic or he really needs to go.

For once, we go into a match slightly more rested than our opponent, as they played their Coppa match on Thursday. But Pioli wisely rested many of his starting players, so they will be ready to test us in their house.

He should start Belgian keeper Gillet, swiped from Bari last season as they were relegated. In the back, I’d expect to see Possibly Loria, Portanova, Morleo, and Raggi, even if 3 out of 4 of them started in the Coppa Italia match on Thursday. In the middle, Pioli seems to stick with Mudingayi and Casarini, and I’m going to guess Krhin as the 3rd. Up front, he will likely have Di Viao and Diamanti, with perhaps the on-loan-from-Genoa Aquafresca. Whatever his choices, he will absolutely be working for the 3 points.

Di Vaio always works for points, and ye usually gets them.

Meanwhile, Allegri has a few injury questions. Amelia should start again for the injured Abbiati, which apparently will be his 250th match in Italy. Then Abate, Silva, and either Antonini or Zambrotta on the left. To deputize for Nesta this time, I might pick Mexes, having impressed on Tuesday. But then again, Yepes is rested and has also played well, so it’s another coin toss for me.

In the middle is where it becomes difficult. van Bommel is still questionable on fitness, and I believe Ambrosini should be rested, plus he is one card away from suspension. Nocerino is definitely out, and Boateng is still questionable for Sunday, too. So here is my crazy idea: Seedorf in the back, Aquilani and Urby on the flanks, and Robinho behind the strikers. Or Allegri may pull in some Primavera help, likely he will have to put someone on the bench  if Boateng and van Bommel don’t pass fitness tests. Of course, with them, I would go with van Bommel, Aquilani, Emanuelson, and Boateng behind the strikers. Up front I still start Ibra and Pato. But it would be great if my Christmas wish were granted and Pippo could be a super sub in this one. Of course for that, he'd have to make the bench first...

Sometimes you just have to work a little harder.

Regardless of lineups, it will be 90+ minutes of work for the 3 points. On paper, it seems Milan’s 3 points to lose, and Bologna will leave their pitch dejected. But anything can happen in 90 minutes. So on Sunday we’ll see who will work for points.


This match will be played in Bologna on Sun., Dec. 11 at 15:00 CET (9:00am EST)
and is being broadcast on FSC on TV and on ESPN3 online in the U.S.


This post inspired by the music of the Stone Temple Pilots