Catania-Milan Preview: A Chance for Redemption

Just before the International break, Milan faced off against Chievo, who were bottom of the table. We played awfully, and the result was a horrible 0-0 draw. But now we have a chance to redeem ourselves. Catania have replaced Chievo at the bottom of the table on goal differential, and we face them on Sunday. So we have been given a chance to redeem ourselves and try to get a win against the team with the worst record in the league. Again. Will Milan find redemption?

I remember those two playing together...

We won’t be the only ones looking for redemption. After finishing a fantastic 8th last season, Catania have only 9 points after 13 matches. To be fair, after pointing out Genoa’s spectacular climb after sacking their coach due to poor results, De Canio hasn’t been able to pull gli Elefanti out of their tailspin after replacing Moran near the end of October. He did manage a surprise win against Udinese, but also drew against Sassuolo, lost to Juventus, Napoli and most recently Torino.

Against Torino, De Canio lined up Andujar; Legrottaglie, Alvarez, Gyomber, Capuano; Tachtsidis, Plasil, Guarente, Maxi Lopez, Castro, and Keko. De Canio is without striker Bergessio, and may also still miss his defender, Bellusci. If a couple of those names sound familiar, they should. Legrottaglie played an ill-fated 6 months for Milan, consisting of one game where he got his head bashed in, knocked unconscious, and thus never played again for us. Maxi Lopez holed himself up in a hotel for a week while Galliani courted Tevez, his patience and silence eventually rewarded with a 6 month loan deal with Milan. Or you may know him as the nice guy that married the naughty girl, and that naughty girl recently hooked up with his ex-teammate and current Inter player, Mauro Icardi in a very public affair. Yeah. Sucks to be Maxi Lopez.

Can poor Maxi put that awful woman out of his mind and remind Milan what they're missing?

It also sucks to be Kingsley Boateng, Milan youth product on loan to Catania. Although he is actually currently injured, he is one of many players who have been sent on loan to other clubs to get playing time, only that’s not going so well for them. Maybe Boateng just gets overlooked at Catania because he isn’t Argentinian, I don’t know. Speaking of Argentines, Catania is famous for fielding a lot of them. And as Gino said on the latest podcast, Catania are underperforming. They currently only have 13 Argentinians on their roster, so maybe that’s why they’re bottom of the table. Or maybe they just need the most famous Argentinian in their squad, I don’t know. But they will certainly be seeking redemption against every opponent from here on out. And as of Sunday, that means Milan.

We have one of Catania's former Argentinians in Silvestre, making it back from injury just in time

If Milan are to find our own redemption and take three desperately needed points away from the Stadio Massimino on Sunday, they will need to be focused and play with heart, just like they did on Tuesday at Celtic Park. After missing out on joy or even contentment associated with Milan’s results for much of this season, we are all so happy with the convincing Champions League win. But if the boys don’t play like they did on Tuesday when they travel to Catania, our hearts will be betrayed and our plummet down the table will continue.

Speaking of the table, despite playing like champions in Europe midweek and only one result standing between Milan and the Champions League Round of 16, Milan are 13th in Serie A. (Yes, that is a 1 before the 3.) The downward spiral that has been our season is going to need a run like last year’s just to see us qualify for the Europa League next year. So every match is important, home or away, before or after a Champions League match, and this is no exception. We can’t afford to let what is happening at Casa Milan affect the play on the pitch. If the news reports are true that Galliani is leaving, the team will still have to stay focused, come what may. Even more so if he takes his lucky new red and black socks with him.

Please don't go... Galliani's lucky socks got us a win at Celtic Park

As for Allegri, his magic wand only seems to work in the Champions League, so let’s hope that the magic hasn’t completely worn off and the team can perform against a lesser opponent for once. I would expect him to use his new-found 4-3-2-1 Christmas formation, especially since Galliani “endorsed” it by saying Allegri makes the decisions, but that if he were Allegri, he would use it.

A probable formation for Sunday... CHRISMAS TREES BURN. FAST.
(via @Milanello)

The Christmas tree formation is not just for the holidays, though. With El Shaarawy training with the team this week and expected to travel to Catania, fans are drooling to see a Kaká-El Shaarawy pairing behind Balotelli. Although I would be surprised if Allegri starts El Shaarawy, given the length of his injuries and his lack of playing time before that. On Tuesday we also lost Abate and Robinho to injuries. While the extent of their time off remains to be seen, both have been ruled out for Sunday. As of this writing, Mexes is still doubtful. This leaves the backline in a bit of a quandary. With Zapata suspended, then if Mexes doesn’t make it back, Allegri would need him at center back, paired with Silvestre, and he would then likely use Poli as a fullback again. But if Mexes does make it back, Bonera could play on the right and Mexes and Silvestre cover the center.

With Amelia out for at least 3 more weeks and Muntari still out, Allegri is facing a thinning squad again. Hopefully he will be proactive and give some players like Cristante and Saponara a chance, but I’m not holding my breath. Pazzini and De Sciglio have been training with the team this week, but are still not fit as of this writing, so hopefully he’ll have them back soon. I’ve said it before, but Allegri often does better under stressful situations like injuries, so let’s hope that holds true on Sunday. Heaven knows everyone could use some redemption, no one more so than him.

Allegri points the direction he'd like Milan to go in the table

I must confess that these early games are brutal for me. I will be watching at 3:30am, so the boys will really need to redeem themselves in my sleep column. As brutal as it has been to watch them sometimes this season, watching them at an ungodly hour like that only rubs salt in the wound if they fail to get the result. But a new formation, a big win midweek, and the confidence that goes with both of those things may be just the ticket. I certainly don’t want them to be stampeded by gli Elefanti. In fact, I'm not above taking advantage of them while they're down and taking all three points. And regardless of the time of the match, I’d love for this one to be the turn of the tide, with wave after wave of success to follow. First things first, though, one game at a time. We need to beat the bottom feeders if we are going to climb back up the ladder. And this one is a chance for redemption.

This post inspired by the music of  the Toy Dolls’ “Nellie the Elephant”

Catania vs. Milan
Sunday, December 1 • 12:30 CET (6:30am EST, 3:30am in my pathetic world)
This match will be televised LIVE on RAI in the U.S.
Check the comments section for stream links ahead of the match
Join us here in the comments... I’m likely to be in a sleepy stupor and guaranteed to be in my pajamas for this one

Catania-Milan Preview: A Chance for Redemption Catania-Milan Preview: A Chance for Redemption Reviewed by Elaine on 12:57 AM Rating: 5
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