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Milan-Parma Preview: Strange Bedfellows


Parma used to produce amazing players. Some of its alumni include Fabio Cannavaro, Gianluigi Buffon, Hernan Crespo, Lilian Thuram, Sebastian Frey, and even Daniele Bonera. Oh, wait… well, mostly amazing players. Anyway, now it has become more of a rehabilitation club, taking in the poor, tired, weary, and disgraced and giving them playing time at the midtable level until they are sent to pasture. Which is why Juventus legend Amauri joined the club, as well as my personal favorite, Cristian Zaccardo. So in January, Milan, looking to improve the club in the way that a woman having a midlife crisis gets a little too much botox, made a deal to exchange Mesbah and Strasser for the infamous ex-Italian international. As if that weren’t strange enough, it is our ex Milan legend Roberto Donadoni leading the team into battle. Strange bedfellows, indeed.

Donadoni thinking that if he can just humiliate Allegri, maybe he can be at Milan again

So we are playing on Friday, and we may be a little distracted by a certain looming Champions League fixture next Wednesday. And while Allegri will undoubtedly tell us that everyone is completely focused on Parma, we all know he can’t even keep the team focused long enough to defend a set piece. Parma, meanwhile, will be 100% focused on earning 3 points at the San Siro. And if Mesbah and Strasser get to take the pitch, they may even have a little bit of revenge on their minds.

Donadoni may be Rossonero, but as a rival coach, nothing beats taking three points from your old club in their house. I can’t imagine he’ll go easy on us. After all, we’ll still have four days to recuperate before Barcelona. That’s why I really think he’ll use his most lethal weapon in his arsenal: The Mesbah. Having never been given a fair shot by the insidiously evil Allegri, Mesbah already made his Parma debut on Sunday with a 12 minute performance worthy of a starting spot for this match. And having been discarded like an old rag by Milan, I really think he is ready to show us what we are missing. And of course, Parma revitalized Giovinco’s career, so I’m sure he is looking to make this move temporary before he is transferred to a team like Barcelona or Manchester United, and the first step to his dreams is to perform well against Milan.



While I am sure that Donadoni regrets not starting The Mesbah in their goalless draw vs. Genoa on Sunday, I doubt he’ll make that mistake again. His starting lineup was Pavarini; Lucarelli, Biabiany, Gobbi; Amauri, Mariga, Parolo, Benalouane, Paletta; Belfodil, and Valdes. While Parma are missing Galoppa, Santacroce, and Mirante all out to long-term injuries, he should have a full squad otherwise, including Mesbah and Strasser.

Allegri, on the other hand, has the opportunity to start two ex-Parma center backs in Bonera and Zaccardo. But if he does that, I might actually kill myself. Rumors are that Zaccardo will make his debut. And since he is not young, or a “player for the future,” I think Allegri might just put his faith in him. Unless he says something about Allegri in the media, of course, then he’ll go into the vault and be forced to go on loan or transfer. Just ask Urby. Anyway, I assume Allegri will use him since he is not on our Champions League list, in order to rest someone for Messifiresstorm 2013™, also known as Barcelona.

Maybe your shushing worked at Parma, but it won't work on me

The good news is that Constant trained with the team yesterday, which hopefully indicates that he’ll be fit for Friday. That gives Allegri a choice in fullbacks, and again the opportunity to rest someone if he so desires. I have no idea what he desires as far as our midfield is concerned. Ambrosini is suspended, but Montolivo will be back. With an in-form Flamini (something I never thought I’d say, but it’s true,) there is only one spot left to contend, and I would hope that it would be a choice between Boateng and Nocerino, but again, I have no idea what Allegri will do.

I think everyone expects our Triple Threat™ to start every match. And they could, I suppose. But with the rumors of El Shaarawy having a nagging knee problem, and having already lost one young phenom to Dr. Kevorkian’s MilanLab, maybe Allegri will finally learn and give the guy a rest. Which will, of course, cause panic for Berlusconi, as we no longer have a 12-deep bench of overpriced strikers to draw from. But Bojan or Robinho could easily play a match instead of the Pharaoh, or I think Pazzini will be available again to sub on for Super Mario or rotate the others around.

Mesbah holding his new shirt like a dirty diaper
But he'll wear it proudly on Friday if he can get revenge on Allegri

All I know is that Thursday night, I am likely to sleep restlessly and possibly even have nightmares. If Strasser makes his Parma debut against us, we have something to fear. But if Donadoni releases the Mesbah, it could turn into our worst nightmare. I’m sure there is a saying somewhere about keeping strange bedfellows, but I’m sure whomever coined it never had Zaccardo on their team, nor Mesbah potentially facing off against them. While realistically, we really need three points from this match, I am simply hoping to survive the ordeal. Strange bedfellows, indeed.


This post inspired by the music of Suicidal Tendencies


Milan vs. Parma
Friday, February 15 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)
This match is being shown LIVE on BeIn Sport and RAI in the U.S.
(check comments section prior to the match for stream links)