Allegri and Milan have said all along that we are battling on three fronts and our aim is to win on all three fronts. But after the Champions League draw on Friday, being paired with Barcelona, the tune changed a little. Allegri said, “…It must also be said with regards to Juventus that we are at a disadvantage of 2-1, while against Barcelona we are still at 0-0.” So was he conceding the Coppa then? Planning to focus on Barca? More recent quotes he specifically says that we are going to Torino to win. Which I hope is the case, because the word “treble” is music to my ears, and it can only be won by taking all three trophies. It’s now or never, do or die for the Coppa trophy.
|We are Milan.|
Not that I think the treble is realistic. I mean, if there is a record for injuries, we have set it this year, and that should be enough recognition. Still, even though the Coppa is not always considered that important, it does have its intrigue. For one, whomever wins it this year takes it from reigning champions and bitter rivals, Inter, who have already guaranteed themselves not to repeat this year. As if that wasn’t delightful enough, after all of the media girlfighting between our two clubs, we could ensure that Juventus don’t take it, either. That is motivation enough for me, even if Roma and Barcelona are waiting around the corner to feast on Juventus’ leftovers.
As it is, Juventus will already be getting leftovers to begin with. Just a week or two ago, we were all so hopeful hearing that some of our players would be returning soon. Not only have several of them failed to return as expected, but we also lost Abate and Robinho to injury in training last week. Not the best way to face a tough 3 matches in 8 days.
Seedorf played about 60 minutes with the Primavera squad to prove match fitness on Saturday, which tells me that he may be ready for selection on Tuesday, but that Allegri didn’t have the confidence in him to call him up for Parma. Nesta and Boateng were both back in training on Sunday, but Boateng spent the final portion in the gym, so not sure if he will make it on Tuesday after all. Pato is back in training, but there is no anticipated date for him to return, I expect extra caution because of what happened last time.
|MOAR GOALZ PLZ|
Two paragraphs on injuries, and I’ve not even scratched the surface. Who will Allegri play? Go ask your father. Oh… that doesn’t work here? Okay, let me guess… He may play Amelia in goal, since it is the Coppa. Perhaps Zambrotta, Mexes, Silva, and Mesbah in the back. Then Aquilani, van Bommel, Nocerino, and Urby behind the strikers. That midfield would shave 16 years off of the midfield we sent out in the first leg of the semifinals. That’s almost an El Shaarawy lifetime. Speaking of the youngster, I would start him with Ibra up front again, maybe score on them again for good measure.
Conte will probably lineup something similar to Saturday’s lineup, where they trounced Fiorentina 5-0, even if la Viola were on 10 men for 70 minutes. That lineup was Buffon; Caceres, Bonucci De Ceglie, Lichtsteiner; Pirlo, Marchisio, Vidal; Vucinic, Matri, Pepe. He should give Storari the start in goal, as is customary for Coppa matches, and Chiellini is rumored to be ready and could play in the place of Bonucci.
|Nothing personal, but you're on the wrong side of trophies now.|
Juve were in the mire of 4 straight draws, and this victory on Saturday sent them into fits of delirium, so I would love to be the team that brings them straight back down and hands them their first loss. (As a consolation, they will still be undefeated in Serie A.) Conte has been at it again, criticizing Allegri for his comments such as:
|How about a 'silenzio totale?' Let's give him nothing to talk about.|
I have given Ibra strict instructions not to lay a finger on Storari. Besides, if they score, Storari will cause his own teammates more damage than Ibra was ever planning to. Although I don’t mind if Ibra pushes Chiellini’s buttons again. It’s kind of fun to see this new girly side of Chiellini where I once thought there was only sheer brute.
|No more controversy on the pitch. But Ibra will be waiting for you afterward.|
I hope the ref is fair, I really don’t want to hear about him for weeks on end after it’s all over. Whatever the outcome, whether Allegri fields his best or his worst, I want to see good football, and clean match ridiculously void of controversy. Although, I wouldn’t mind seeing us victorious, too. We’ve only got this one last chance to earn a ticket to the finals, and this is it. Do or die. We are Milan.
For those of you following the saga of my divided household, my Juventino husband and I have been placing bets on these games, and I have yet to win one. This time around, loser has to drive the speed limit… for a week. Ouch. I don’t know if I’ve ever done that, and, well, he’s an Italian driver, so the stakes are pretty high this time. Please, Milan, bail me out of this one and pull off the win. Is it even possible to keep the needle below 60 mph in a manual transmission? I may need some help with that.
Coppa Italia Semifinals 2nd Leg
Juventus vs. Milan
Tuesday, March 20th • 20:45 CET (3:45 EDT)
This match will be shown on GOLTV and ESPN3 in the U.S.
This post inspired by the music of Ella Fitzgerald