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Milan-Chievo Preview: Lowered Expectations

Last year there were certain matches that we were simply expected to win. Obviously, in any match anything can happen. But this year, much like the comedy spoof of an online dating service, we definitely have Lowered Expectations. For example, I have no expectation whatsoever that Allegri will use a formation that is familiar to me, let alone the players. Nor do I have any expectation that he will field our 11 best players for any match, as I don’t think he even knows who those players are. But Saturday, we face off against my favorite flying beasts, Chievo Verona’s own Flying Donkeys. So…. no, still no expectations. Other than perhaps starting a career in drinking to numb the pain. And Chievo’s plight will be to make sure I feel that pain. Those Flying Donkeys certainly know how to kick me when I’m down.

No offense, Chievo, but this is how I like to see the Flying Donkeys at the San Siro

Speaking of being down, Chievo sit 15th on the table, three spots below us, but only 1 point less than us. So once again, we face a foe that is playing around the same level as us. And yet it seems as though we will have to fight tooth and nail for every single point. Chievo manager Eugenio Corini faces a similar situation, with the team having finished in 10th place last season, he will be battling to achieve a similar result this year. Only he doesn’t have the pressure of having won a Scudetto just 2 years ago, and finished a tight 2nd in the league last year, like Allegri does. Nor does he have a Champions League match on Wednesday to think about. Lowered Expectations.

Please, have mercy! Don't let them wear the green and yellow kits!

In Chievo’s last outing, the Flying Donkeys were able to stun poor Pescara in a 2-0 defeat in Verona, with the relegation-plagued Pescara on 10 men for an hour of that battle. In fact, Chievo were virtually the nail in Pescara’s coach Stroppa’s coffin, as the club have announced this weekend’s match is do or die for him. (Too bad we can’t get the same offer from our club!) So again, last year? We would have been so humiliated not to take all three points from this fixture. This year, it will be an epic battle. Lowered Expectations.

For the  destruction of 10-man Pescara, Carini fielded Sorrentino; Andreolli, Dainelli, Drame, N. Frey; Rigoni, Hetemaj, Guana; Pelissier, Thereau, and Luciano. Goals were scored by Luciano (a penalty) and the sub Stoian, both around the 75th minute mark. So they are potentially beatable. But can our Budget Milan™ beat them? 

Yepes bossed Juve at Chievo, will he boss Chievo here at Milan?

That question, sadly, will likely be answered by Allegri. His mystery formation and lineups are like a woman’s taste – fickle and cryptic, only to be divulged when it is too late. (But at least he will be happy with the team’s performance, regardless of result!) I am not even going to try to guess what he will do. Only that Abbiati was reportedly fine on Tuesday, so I hope he plays this one. De Sciglio, Boateng, and Robinho all began training with the team yesterday, so I suppose any of them could be in the starting lineup. Muntari was on the bench Tuesday, but Allegri said he planned to bring him back very slowly, meaning he might make an infamous Allegri 2-minute appearance at best. Bojan wowed on Tuesday, but was it enough to start him? Pato has done well enough, returning from injury, but has yet to score. Pazzini seems to be saving his goals for a magic moment, and il Faraone may be rested at some point from carrying the team on his 20 year-old shoulders. On defense, Bonera is suspended for this match, meaning if he sticks with the 3-man back line, he will have to choose between Zapata and Acerbi to complement Mexes and Yepes.

Ummm... El Shaarawy, we didn't mean you literally had to carry them on your shoulders.

For Milan, everything literally hinges around Allegri. Okay, if someone has a complete breakout performance or a facepalm performance, that will factor in, but they will have to be selected to play first of all, and then fit into whatever mystery formation Allegri draws out of his secret hat tomorrow. Maybe he is trying to impress upon all of us how important a coach can be? If so, we get it, little man. You are important. Only stop already with the torture. Because the players and the fans also get kicked in the teeth when those winged beasts come to the San Siro. There is no need to help them out. Our expectations have already been sufficiently lowered, thank you.


This post inspired by the music of NIN


Milan vs. Chievo
Saturday, November 3 • 18:00 CET (1:00pm EDT)
This match will be televised live on RAI in the U.S.
Check comments for streams prior to the match