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Milan-Pescara Preview: Fighting Dolphins

I really can’t think of anything more dangerous than a team with nothing to lose. And Pescara, having only been promoted this year, are tied for 17th place with Palermo, save for their -18 goal differential. Meaning they are pretty much in 18th place, also known as the relegation zone. So they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Add to that the fact that they are party crashers, as Milan are celebrating their 113th birthday tomorrow, and the motive for an upset increases. I just hope that those fighting Dolphins don’t get their wish.

Huh... those are some strange looking dolphins

You will probably know Pescara best for their last year’s performance under one Zdenek Zeman. That’s right, the leather-faced, chain-smoking attacking genius who now coaches Roma. With young players like Verratti, Immobile, and Insigne, he guided the unlikely Pescara to their Serie B title and thus promotion this year to Serie A. In June, Giovanni Stroppa took the reins, but his job only lasted until November. That’s when Cristiano Bergodi took over, charged with the unfortunate task of keeping the club in Serie A this season.

That task is nearly insurmountable, given the sheer number of goals conceded. In fact, they have conceded 30 goals in 16 games. More specifically, the on loan from Genoa keeper, young Mattia Perin, has conceded 30 goals in 16 games. He took 6 of those goals at home from Juventus… on his 20th birthday. But he made up for it by swapping jerseys with the legendary Buffon, who also had some very sporting encouragement for the youngster. Oddly enough, Milan are reportedly very interested in snatching up the 20 year-old despite this abysmal record. I think the theory is that if you put a decent defense in front of him, the kid is actually pretty decent. I’m not sure if Milan are then also planning to buy a decent defense, but those are the rumors.

When you've already conceded 30, what's a few more?

I Delfini, or the dolphins, will no doubt put up their best fight. And they have the advantage of playing Milan in our house, where our record in the league is 4 wins and 4 losses. So we are definitely beatable. And, Pescara are coming of a rare 2-0 win over Genoa, where their former star Immobile came home and was… well, immobilized. For that match, Bergodi lined up Perin; Terlizzi, Cosic, Modesto, Balzano; Bjarnason, Togni, Weiss, Nielsen; Vukusic, and Abbruscato, the final two being responsible for the two goals in that match. However, Bergodi is going to be without Cosic, Romagnoli, Cascione, Colucci, and Blasi, so his choices will be somewhat limited.

Allegri, on the other hand, has a few more options than he had in the Coppa match vs. Reggina. Once again, he’ll have both Strasser and Muntari to replace the injured De Jong. He will likely also have Montolivo back, as well as Acerbi & possibly Bonera, and the sublime Constant. Boateng could likely feature, depending on how his ankle is. I should think that El Shaarawy and De Sciglio are sure starters, having been rested on Thursday. And I’m going to go out on a limb and say that when Berlusconi visits Milanello today to motivate the players and staff, he will inform Allegri that he will be playing a 4-3-3 again, as well as which players will play which positions. Certainly, despite Pescara’s position on the table, this will be a must-win match, given the historical significance of the day.

Luckily, his days with Pescara are over & we won't see him until next week

Whereas many spend their birthday celebrating in one way or another with friends and food and such, Milan will hopefully be celebrating at the San Siro by doing what they do best: winning. I truly hope the San Siro is full, despite the snowy weather. Milan have offered half price tickets as a party favor, and how often do you get to see your beloved team play on its birthday? I know that if I was on the same continent, I would be there to watch our Diavoli take on those Delfini. 113 years of history can’t be wrong, and I’d love to see our team prove it on the pitch. Happy Birthday, Milan! And something that is not at all politically correct outside of the football realm: Go take out those fighting dolphins.


This post inspired by the awesomeness of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey


Milan vs. Pescara
Sunday, December 16th • 15:00 CET (9amEST)
Happy 113th Birthday, Milan!
This match will NOT be shown LIVE in the U.S.
(Check the comments just before the match for stream links)