Friday, March 15, 2013

Milan-Palermo Preview: Pink Kryptonite

It’s inexplicable how Palermo so often seem to have our number. We are two points behind second place, they are dead last in the league, and yet I fear them. For one, it is hard to be certain if Sannino will last as manager for the five whole days until they come to the San Siro, so we can’t be sure of who will be coaching them. For another, when we met them last, we managed a 2-2 draw with them, but it was a complete horror show on our part, and Milan should have had the win. For these and so many other reasons, I can never be confident facing Palermo. They are like our Pink Kryptonite.

Bottom of the table, and still a threat to us: Pink Kryptonite
I can’t help but notice some strange similarities between our October tie and this one. We played them in the strange void between European and American Daylight Savings Time, and are set to do so again. Last time we played them on Halloween Eve, this time, it’s on St. Patrick’s Day. (Although maybe the horror from October will be replaced by luck this March!) They had also come off of a string of draws, which this time around was four in a row instead of three, and they did lose to Siena on Sunday to mix it up. And to be fair, we will also face them with a different manager, as the one they had in October was just sacked on Sunday and replaced with Sannino, his second chance with the team this season.

As far as differences, we will be playing at home this time, which should play to our advantage. And although we may be tired from playing in the Champions League midweek, hopefully the loss will serve as a motivation. Additionally, it was only a couple of weeks after the Palermo draw that Allegri found and stuck with his 4-3-3 formation, in contrast to the 3-5-2 he started against Palermo in October (probably our worst formation.)

Sannino: Here today, gone tomorrow?
I would like to tell you who Sannino could possibly field on Sunday, but given that he is probably unsure himself if he will be travelling to the San Siro, I’m going to guess that he doesn’t even know. I can tell you that Gasperini’s last lineup (for this term as Palermo manager) was Sorrentino; Muñoz, von Bergen, Garcia; Dossena, Anselmo, Aevalo, Kurtic; Miccoli, Boselli, and Formica. And we know that he will be without Abel Hernandez and Andrea Mantovani, both to long-term injuries. The rest remains to be seen.

With Europe’s elite teams focused firmly on the Champions League draw in Nyon today, Allegri, on the other hand, should be focused on earning our Champions League spot for next year. He should also able to choose from nearly a full squad. In addition to the long-term injuries to Didac Vila and De Jong, Pazzini will be out at least until the end of the month. And Constant got himself a one match ban for getting a second yellow at Genoa last week, so will be unavailable. I will be curious to see if Allegri fields Nocerino against his former club, he rarely does that, but I always like to see it. His midfield choices & center back pairing are what is likely to be unpredictable, I would expect to see Abate and De Sciglio as the fullbacks and the Triple Threat as our offensive lineup.

He's chomping at the bit for some playing time and a chance to punish his former team

Will Milan invoke the luck offered on St. Patrick’s day? Or will the bottom of the table, kings of the draws serve as our pink kryptonite once again? Zamparini’s coach selection du jour may play a part in whatever result. But hopefully, either by luck or design, our boys will prevail once again at home, and nullify the kryptonite-like hold Palermo seem to have on us. That is probably more likely than Nocerino getting the chance to punish his old team, and hopefully less likely than Miccoli punishing the club he trained with as a youth. Let’s gather our dignity and make a statement against Palermo on Sunday. I’m tired of the power of the pink kryptonite.

This post inspired by the music of 3 Doors Down’s “Kryptonite”

Our next match is
Milan vs. Palermo
Sunday, March 17 • 15:00 CET (10am EDT)
This game will be shown live on RAI and BeIn Sport in the U.S.
(check comments for stream links prior to kickoff)

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