Coppa Italia: Milan vs. Novara Preview

The time has come for our obligatory participation in what many people view as a worthless tournament. By virtue of our success last year, we come in at the round of 16, and were lucky to draw a team like Novara, who have likely all but actually conceded the match in advance of our league meeting with them away on Sunday. Yes, that’s right, we will play the same team twice in 4 days time, once at home, then away. But wait, don’t grab your social media devices to share the big news yet! There’s more you should know (even if it’s not a lot.)

Boateng reacts to the news of the Coppa Italia midweek match.

For one, if we win the Coppa Italia, not only do we get another shiny trophy, but we would also get to wear this fancy patch on our uniforms next year:
That alone is worth it, right? Risking more injuries and playing another round of midweek matches before we play for the trophy we REALLY want, the Champions League trophy. And did I mention winning this tournament means automatic qualification to play for the Super Coppa trophy, too? Maybe the Coppa Italia is more of a consolation prize for teams like Inter, who couldn’t grab the Scudetto from us last year no matter how many chances we gave them. So if that’s the case, and they are looking to repeat, then taking their consolation prize away from them at least makes it worth our while, right? Plus this year, it’s like a pre-match with our opponent on Sunday, a game that actually matters, and if we make any errors on Wednesday, then we can correct them for the real match on Sunday.

Okay, that’s about as much enthusiasm as I can generate for this match or this competition right now. With all of our injuries, having lost a painful one on Sunday and having thus given the top of the table back to Juventus (who still have yet to lose,) with the transfer market more than half way gone, and our first match vs. Arsenal less than a month away now, we have bigger fish to fry. So I’m treating this like a super training match, and hoping Allegri will, too.

Okay, you should perhaps take it a little more seriously, Mr. Allegri

You would think that a club like newly promoted Novara would be more excited at the prospect of an upset and moving on in a competition like this. But considering they are dead last in the league, their fight to avoid relegation is probably more important to them right now. Also, this is their third Coppa Italia match already. In August, they pummeled poor Lega Pro side Triestina 4-0. In November, they were able to pull off a last minute win against Maxi Lopez and Catania, 3-2, playing away. But facing a team like Milan may be just too much for them to realistically believe in an upset.

Their away game to fellow relegation contenders Cesena in the league on Sunday saw them lose, 3-1, sending them to dead last on goal differential. Under pressure manager Attilio Tesser lined up an apparent 5-3-2 featuring Ujkani; Rinaudo, Dellafiore, Paci,, Gemiti, Morganella; Radovanovi, Rigoni, Jensen; Mascara, and Caracciolo. Only Porcari, who was on the bench on Sunday is suspended for this one that I know of, so we could see a similar lineup. It is of note that former Catania & Napoli striker Giuseppe Mascara just moved to Novara last week, and although he did not score on Sunday, he could be a handful for us in both fixtures this week.

The hearthrob will be wearing a new shade of blue.

Okay, so if I were Allegri, I would have a pretty good idea by now who I’d be starting. But I’m not Allegri, so I can only make an educated guess. The thing is, with our injuries right now, and players status changing hour to hour, an educated guess is pretty hard to make. I can tell you that van Bommel is suspended for this match. I doubt that Mesbah or Merkel could possibly arrive in time, so maybe Allegri will give some youth some time. Or maybe even Pippo, I always love seeing him play. Other than that, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Allegri will likely field 11 players. I’ll leave it up to your imagination to guess who they are.

While the Coppa Italia is not very popular, especially for clubs that are already juggling multiple competitions, it is something we should honor. Without the glory and funding that comes with European competition, it is hard to take it as seriously. But this week, it is probably just what the doctor ordered. A lower pressure warmup game for Sunday that will hopefully give us a boost in confidence, too. Plus, a win puts us in the quarterfinals next week to face Lazio, which will again be a warmup for the following Wednesday when we go to Rome for our league return fixture there. That will definitely be an important match, so see? The Coppa Italia comes in handy, offers potential trophies, and a fancy patch. Now, grab your social media devices and spread the news. You don’t have to wait until Sunday to watch Milan vs. Novara.

Coppa Italia: Milan vs. Novara
Wednesday January 18, 2012 • 21:00 CET or 3pm EST
This match is only being shown on ESPN3 in the U.S.

This post inspired by the music of STP

Coppa Italia: Milan vs. Novara Preview Coppa Italia: Milan vs. Novara Preview Reviewed by Elaine on 12:07 AM Rating: 5
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