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Coppa Quarterfinals – Juventus vs. Milan: The Precious


The time has come for Milan to be tested. If we truly are after the coccarda patch, also known as the Precious, the one patch to rule them all, then tomorrow’s battle will be the turn of the tide, one way or the other. We are faced with the task of going into Mordor, not to destroy the ring, but to take it from the enemy. If we win, it could be the dawn of the Age of Milan. If we lose, then Sauron’s Army (Juventus) will seek to rule all of Serie A with a darkness and evil that puts fear into the hearts of men.

Conte will lead Sauron's Army against us tomorrow
In the battle between good and evil, the Armies of Milan had a small victory in November in our league match against Sauron’s Army. But this is the Coppa. The battle for the Precious, the chance to wield its power all next season and also a trip to Beijing in August for the Supercoppa. This one is advance or go home. The one ring-shaped patch to rule them all. So you can imagine, if you know your history of Middle Earth, the pressure the managers must feel going into this battle… er, uh… match.

The Witch King of Angmar, leader of the Nazgul, and also the one known as Conte, was once human, but his desire for power corrupted his soul and he now does only Sauron’s bidding. After having spent the first part of the season sidelined for a ban, the Witch King is very anxious to prove himself once again to Sauron and take all of the power he can. Only he suffered a humiliating defeat in the league on Sunday to the 10 men Army of Sampdoria, a battle Sauron’s Army should have absolutely claimed. It is said that the Witch King’s shrieking at Vinovo since then has been heard all throughout Middle Earth, so I hope the Armies of Milan take courage and are preparing for battle as we speak.

The pressures of coaching Milan have really aged Allegri

Meanwhile, Lord Denethor, or as some call him “Allegri,” is likely not heeding the threat that is Sauron’s Army. Denethor is a Steward of Gondor, stubborn, prideful, unwilling to yield the throne of Gondor to its rightful heir, and blind to danger insomuch that it destroys those he loves and ultimately leads to his fiery demise at his own hands. His favorite son, Boateng, can do no wrong. While his other sons, being far more worthy, are constantly shunned by him. Lord Denethor’s lineups will likely alone be the cause for undoing, especially at the hands of Sauron’s Army. Or maybe, just once, he’ll get it right. It’s hard to know, since Isildur’s heir, Ibragorn, was cast out of the Armies of Milan, so victory will have to come through a band of misfit elves, dwarves, hobbits, and men.

The Witch King of Angmar will be missing a few key orcs. Asamoah is on national team duty for Ghana at the African Cup of Nations. The Orc chieftain, Chiellini, is still out injured, and Marchisio was injured on Sunday during the defeat of Sauron’s Army, so is almost undoubtedly out for this one. Conte’s odd lineup on Sunday included Buffon; Bonucci, Peluso, Barzagli; Marchisio, Pogba, Pirlo, De Ceglie, Padoin; Giovinco, and Matri. I would expect some changes from the Witch King, possibly Giaccherini to start and one of either Vucinic or Quagliarella to start over Matri and or Gollum, also known as Giovinco. If tradition is followed, Storari will mind the nets ahead of Buffon, and he should, given that he has always been a solid backup for the number one.

Bojan is thrilled to know it's almost time for elevensies

The Armies of Milan have a depleted defense, but the good news is that Mexes will return at center back, having served his one match ban in the league. Yepes and Bonera are still expected to be out for a couple of weeks, although if Zapata has recovered from his flu, he might be available to Lord Denethor. Also of concern is the condition of Constant, who was subbed off on Sunday with an apparent injury. If he is able to play, he could prove crucial to this battle.

I think the biggest question is whether or not Denethor will put his trust in the young hobbit, Bojan. Sunday’s victory over the Armies of Siena highlighted even more the stubborn pride that Lord Denethor has in not trusting the hobbit to start. I would expect his eldest son, Boateng to get the start again, due to Allegri’s stubborn self-destructive nature. After Abbiati’s showing against Siena, it is hard to know if he will put Amelia in the net, as is traditional to do for Coppa matches, since we do not currently have a defined number one and two keepers.

This matchup alone challenges the courage of men

The Witch King of Angmar will be thirsty for this win. Last year, Sauron’s Army made it to the final, and with the Precious almost within their grasp, conceded it to the Armies of Napoli. But Lord Denethor has made it very clear that the Precious is our objective this year, so I hope he can open his eyes and prepare our Armies for battle. There will be no wizards, no other Armies of Men, no Armies of the Dead, no Elven Army, etc. to come to our aid. We must stand and fight against evil. And though we may face a greater army, one with evil on its side, we can prevail.

Last year, this battle was waged in the semifinals, and were it not a two leg competition, we might have won. But we also have to realize that sending Sauron’s Army on in the competition poises them to win their tenth Precious, thus giving them a silver star to wear on their kits. Those kits are already too crowded with all of the stars and words and such. We cannot let Sauron win this one. Even if it is unlikely and improbable, the Armies of Milan must find a way to defeat the legions of evil and keep our hopes alive of earning the Precious.


This post inspired by the works of J.R.R. Tolkien


Coppa Italia Quarterfinals
Juventus vs. AC Milan
Wednesday, January 9 • 21:00 CET (3pm EST)
This match is NOT being shown LIVE in the U.S.
(check the comments for stream links prior to kickoff)