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Siena vs. Milan: Allegri’s Last Stand?


This post should be about a football match, but instead, the focus has turned sharply to one man. Yesterday, according to multiple sources, Berlusconi said that Allegri was going to Roma, and that it would be announced following the game on Sunday. La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that he said it jokingly. But is it a joke? Or is it just another slap in the face to a man who has been criticized and confirmed all year long? It is well known that the outcome of this match, and thus our season could affect his future, so if it is true, it will not come as a surprise, either. But the crime is that once again, Berlusconi has taken precious focus away from the team and the game. What a shame if it really is to be Allegri’s last stand.

"I never promised you a mezz'ala"
To try to turn the focus back to the game, we are traveling to Siena, who have already been relegated. There is a lot of talk of Siena doing us a favor since they have nothing to lose and Milan winning would keep their rivals, Fiorentina, out of Champions League. However deliciously Italian that theory is, I find it less likely than the Italian theories about refs. This season has been all about the referees for Milan, and almost completely in our favor. So which referee do we get assigned for our last match, the one our entire season and next year’s season is weighted on? Bergonzi. Karma is not always kind. Rivalries pale in comparison to the randomness that are Bergonzi’s calls. Too bad everything was left until this last game.

Which focuses back on Allegri. How many games can we look back and see where his choices and lineups cost us points? Just one more point, and we wouldn’t be in this precarious situation. But it is what it is. We just have to hope that his inexplicable luck carries through this last 90 minutes. Then, whether he stays or if the rumors are true, hope that he has actually learned something at Milan these past three years. (For example, don’t hire on at a club with morally questionable management… or maybe at least this level of morally questionable management.)

Will suit-with-baseball-cap-man be on the hot seat like Allegri, with Siena having been relegated?

But I digress. Siena have gone out in flames, losing their last five games straight to Chievo, Roma, Catania, Fiorentina, and Napoli. Although at least away against Napoli, they went up early, and succumbed only on Cavani & Hamsik’s late heroics in the 73rd and 93rd minutes and could leave the San Paolo with their heads held up high. Which isn’t good news for us. With their motto being “robur” or “strength,” I have a feeling they would love to leave Serie A with a bang, defeating a giant like Milan, even if we have been knocked down a few sizes this season.

There’s also the matter of the legendary Zé Eduardo. Remember the guy who refused to have a trial for Allegri last year, as he thought it was beneath him? Having been shipped back to Genoa, he has actually been on loan to Siena…. where he has not been featuring for the relegated team. (See, Allegri got something right!) The jokes just write themselves. So, without perhaps the player with the biggest ego, Iachini will also possibly be without Matheu, Vergassola, and Pozzi, all due to injuries. His team that troubled Napoli played without them, though. His lineup included: Pegolo; Felipe, Terzi, Terlizzi; Vitiello, Calello, Della Rocca, Bolzoni, Grillo; Emeghara, and Agra. And if they troubled Napoli away, who’s to say they won’t trouble us in their own house? (resists using another afraid-of-Bergonzi-reference here.)

"Wait, which Bianconeri team was I supposed to favor? Oops."

Back in the house that Berlusconi built, Allegri and his Three Stooges midfield are hoping for Montolivo to become fit in time for Sunday (which is not known as of this writing.) It seems that despite pushing out a certain creative midfielder in his first season, he is finally linking his results with the absence or presence of version 2.0 of that same player. (Or at least so many others are.) He also has Ambrosini, who looked a little shaky last week, but usually comes up big in big games, so I would put my faith in him. Of course, one of the Three Stooges, in comedic (or tragic comedic) form, got a red card with an extra match ban this past week vs. Roma, so will not be available on Sunday or the first match of next year. (Looking at you, Sulley Muntari.)

Then there is the ever-lingering question of where Allegri will play Boateng. I am hoping after Boateng’s impersonation of Allegri on hisGoogle hangout this week, Allegri will relegate Boateng to the midfield. But then again, Allegri may not have had time to see the hangout if he was being hounded by the press in regards to his future. So we’re probably stuck with his tried-but-not-working Boateng-Balotelli-El Shaarawy front line. But the other strikers don’t have to worry, because if we are drawing or losing, they will all get subbed on within the last 10-15 minutes. Because that also hasn’t worked. (sigh.)

Will Balotelli's new haircut bring him a "Lucky" hat trick?

The defense is something that has worked fairly well with few exceptions. With Abate a new papa again this week, it’s hard to know if he’ll start, but De Sciglio’s killer crosses & Constant’s amazing dribbling will dominate the wings. And Mexes and Zapata seem to be working quite well as a pairing, with Abbiati earning a contract renewal each match behind them. I really don’t worry as much about them anymore, it’s mainly the midfield that gives me nightmares.

But what worries me most is Allegri’s stubbornness. In the end is it going to cost us Champions League for next year? Like General Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn, will his stubbornness impact our history? Or will he live to coach another year at Milan or maybe another club through luck and the hard work of others? I was anticipating a football match between two teams, a battle to the final whistle with so much on the line. But now my sleep is tormented and interrupted by images of only one man. And I wonder if Sunday will be Allegri’s last stand?


This post inspired by the music of The Cure’s “Seventeen Seconds” album

Siena vs. Milan
Sunday, May 19 • 20:45 CEST (2:45 EDT)
This match will be shown LIVE on RAI in the U.S.
(check comments for stream links before kickoff)