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Cagliari-Milan Preview: Island Vacation?

Tuesday our boys travel to the lovely island of Sardegna to take on Allegri’s former club, Cagliari. But it will be far from an island vacation, as we need these three points to keep up with Juventus. With Juve and Udinese battling on Wednesday, there could be a shuffling at the top of the table, and with 3 points, Milan have the chance to take the lead. So the pressure is on for our boys to leave the island with a win, or perhaps they will have to swim back to the mainland.


Okay, knowing admittedly little about Cagliari or Sardegna, I searched the interwebs for signs of interesting information for you, and found some interesting tidbits as to the local diet. For example, did you know that a major staple in the Sardinian diet is Rock Lobster? Which gives me the excuse to post this lovely video:


Okay, now that we traveled back in time and got completely off subject, let’s talk about the football match. Funny how things work, this was supposed to have been our first game of the season. However, the players’ strike, one of the goals of which was to get a longer Christmas break, prevented us from playing it in September. And ironically, it has been rescheduled to cut into their Christmas break. Man, those players can’t win for losing with those owners. Anyway, I originally wrote this lovely preview, but things have changed since then…

Sitting in 12th, Cagliari are not the team they were under Allegri. Nor are they the team they were under Donadoni. Or Ficcadenti. Now under Ballardini, who has been at the helm for about 6 weeks, the pressure is on to achieve results. I mean, Cellino is going to sack him for something sooner or later (probably sooner,) but still, you want as many wins under your belt as you can get to help you get the next job.

Will his third time be a charm?

In Cagliari’s loss to Chievo on Saturday, Ballardini fielded a lineup of Aggazzi; Ariaudo, Canini, Agostini, Pisano; Biondini, Ribeiro, Nainggolan, Cepellini; and Larrivey and Ibarbo up front. While they have had some moments of brilliance this season, they are likely to be outclassed by Milan. That is if Milan show up to play.

Injuries are still an issue. Abbiati and Antonini are back in training, but I have not heard as of this writing if they will feature. Likewise, I have heard nothing on Abate, who I assume will not make the trip. Which means we will likely see a similar lineup as we did for Siena, Bonera, Mexes, Silva, and Taiwo (or perhaps Antonini.) I hope we see an Aquilani, Ambrosini, Nocerino midfield with Boateng behind the strikers. And I would start Ibra and Pato, too. But it’s anyone’s guess. Too bad Pippo hasn’t even been called up, it would seem he is already out the door.

Who will mind the nets tomorrow?

This is another match where on paper we should dominate. But with injuries, fatigue, and traveling to our island destination, anything could happen. So let’s hope our boys go in, take 3 points, and come out ready to start their holiday break. The top of the table is a possibility going into the break, and I can’t think of a better way to start the holidays. After all, what’s an island vacation when you can sit atop of the Serie A table?

This match will be played on Tues., Dec. 20th
at 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)
It is being shown on both FSC and ESPN3 in the U.S.

This post inspired by the music of The B-52’s