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Plzeň-Milan Preview: Life’s Lessons

Tuesday we head to Prague to face Viktoria Plzeň. Having qualified for the Round of 16, we have nothing to lose, but they have a Europa League spot to gain. So you can bet that they are not going to take this match lightly. Certainly, when they came to the San Siro in September, they earned our respect. But will they earn our 3 points? Or will they earn a valuable life lesson?




As I said in my preview post in September, “Every game should be played to the death, or 90 minutes, whichever comes first.” And while we might like to take this one easy, Plzeň will certainly be fighting for that Europa League spot.

The trip to Prague won’t be easy. Plzeň proved to be worthy adversaries at the San Siro, with home field advantage and their fans to cheer them on, we lose a lot of our advantage of form and experience. Allegri has said that it will be important to win this one, so I hope that he puts out a strong lineup.


I haven’t heard an update on Pato as of this writing, but hopefully he’s recovered from whatever he caught from Barbara and/or her kids. I would still expect Ibra to start, but I think Allegri would plan to get Robinho “back on the bicycle” so to speak for at least a few minutes to give him a chance to prove that his incredible sitter against Genoa should not define him as a player.

In the middle there will be some changes. UEFA reviewed the Barca match and caught that Nesta had been mistaken for Aquilani, and it was Aquilani that should have gotten a second yellow, so he will be suspended for this match. I would expect some combination of Ambrosini, Seedorf, Nocerino, Emanuelson, a Primavera player, or a random spectator, with Boateng behind the strikers.

In the back, Abate & Silva of course. Deputizing for Nesta I am going to go with Yepes, just because I love the guy. But Bonera could make an appearance, and Mexes should get a chance for a few minutes at least. The left back roulette wheel is spinning…. and it is… Taiwo. That sounds good, even if I prefer Zambrotta these days and Allegri prefers Antonini. If the Champions League is where Taiwo thrives, let’s give him a chance to do just that. Also, Amelia will deputize once again for Abbiati, we are lucky to have such a solid backup keeper.


I would expect coach Pavel Vrba to be preparing his very best lineup. Or something close to the lineup that played so well at the San Siro in September: Marek Čech; David Bystroň, Marián Čišovský, David Limberský, František Rajtoral; Pavel Horváth, Petr Jiráček, Václav Pilař, Milan Petržela; Daniel Kolář, Marek Bakoš. If anyone that speaks Czechoslovakian finds out any news about the squad in the way of injuries or suspensions, please feel free to let us know. Czechoslovakian is unfortunately not in my repertoire of languages (neither is English, really, if you read regularly.)


Despite having mascots that are so Gambrinus Liga, it did take Plzeň 100 years to win their league, a league of 16 teams. So it would be wrong for us to help them take a Europa League spot the very first time they played in the Champions League. If they want it, they've got to earn it.  Likewise,  if we want to come home with our heads held high, we need to take 3 points here. But they will become better players for a loss, so I think we definitely pack up the 3 points in Prague and bring them home for us. They may be meaningless to us, but we must think of our opponents, they will be better for it. An important life lesson.


This post inspired by the music of The Strokes