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Catania-Milan Preview: Sicilian Safari

Friday night, our boys will face eleven elefanti on the island of Sicily. Should we be afraid? Well, have you ever faced eleven elephants? Or been to Sicily? Of course we should be afraid. We are flying high from an unexpected victory, and we need to make sure that our boys have come back down to earth. We are potentially missing some key players, and Catania are coming off of a disappointing loss in the Sicilian derby. Plus, we’re traveling to Catania. It’s not an easy place to play. But hopefully, our boys will be all ‘doped up’ on Berlusconi’s words that he should be sharing with them today, and will brave their Sicilian Safari and keep those elephants at bay.

Frightening opponents indeed...

It’s not as though Catania are some lower table team. In fact, they currently sit in 8th place, just ahead of us. With a record of 5-3-4, their season has been almost as bumpy as ours, however for them, successful. Having lost to Palermo on Saturday, I think they are probably due for a favorable result. And with home field advantage, they just might be able to get it.

For the derby, Maran lined up Andujar; Spolli, Legrottaglie, Marchese, Alvarez; Lodi, Almiron, Izco; Gomez, Morimoto and Barrientos. Spolli and Gomez are both suspended from this match, which is probably a lucky break for Milan. Although we’ll still face former Milan player Legrottaglie, who spent more time injured for us than healthy, and the remarkable Lodi, who has racked up an impressive four goals and two assists so far. Not bad for a 28 year-old midfielder whom most had written off.

The rare Japanese elephant, Morimoto

Milan, on the other hand, are coming off of a few successes. No surprise that those successes coincide with using the same formation and a more consistent lineup than previously, either. Although Berlusconi would be happy about taking the credit for it, now that he’s resumed his weekly pep talks with the squad (pun intended.) But will our success help or harm us?

If Berlusconi is the puppetmaster and Allegri reduced to puppet role, as seems to be the case lately, then I guess we’ll be playing a 4-3-3 against Catania. But consistency will not be a luxury, at least in defense. With Yepes suspended, Bonera still injured, and Mexes doubtful due to a knee injury, Milan will have to put their faith in Zapata and Acerbi, come what may.

One half of our likely CB duo
One thing I don’t like about the 4-3-3 is that Allegri does not like Bojan or Urby as well a other players in this formation. Although it’s not impossible they should play.  However, it’s whom Allegri chooses to play that matters, and your guess is as good as mine. Will he be able to resist tinkering with the rest of the squad?

Our showdown with the elephants will be a good test of Milan’s recent success. Has the success gone to their heads, or will they face them with focus, determination and respect for a team that has done better than us so far this season? Going to Sicily is always an adventure, but this one is too close to call. We will have to watch the Sicilian Safari to find out how our diavoli fare against their pachyderm opponents.


This post inspired by the music of The Surfaris


Catania vs. Milan
Friday, November 30 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm ET)
This match will be shown LIVE on BeIN Sport and RAI in the U.S.