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Milan-Genoa Preview: How Did We Get Here?


It used to be that we feared conceding goals when Antonini was in our starting lineup. Now we have to fear him actually scoring against us. Because having left Milan at the end of the Summer mercato, he has found new form at Genoa, and has even been speaking out in the media about proving to those of us who didn’t believe in him that he actually can. And that would be just our luck. How did we get here?

Antonini leaves Milan. Antonini scores. What?

Genoa’s season has been an interesting one so far. As mentioned on the latest podcast, Genoa started off the season with Liverani at the helm and poor results ensued. So after only 6 games with a record of a win, a draw, and four losses, Liverani was sacked. They turned to an old friend in Gasperini, who had managed the club to much success for over 3 season beginning in 2006. Since his return this season, their record is a loss to Juventus, a draw to Catania, and four straight wins… the opposite of his predecessor. That run of form also saw them take an impressive current 7th place standing, four points ahead of 10th place Milan. So to review: no results + sacking coach + hiring new coach = greatly improved results. Huh. Wonder what that would be like?

Gasperini will be missing a few players in Gamberini, Santana, and the-one-that-got-away, Zé Eduardo. Before the international break, Genoa welcomed Verona to the Marassi and Gasperini lined up Perin; Antonini, Manfredini, Portanova; Antonelli, Cofie, Vrsaljko, Matuzalem; Gilardino, Fetfatzidis, and Kucka. Both goals were headers (you know what that means, people,) one scored by Portanova, the other by Kucka. It was Perin’s 3rd consecutive clean sheet, 5th of the season. So not only do we have to worry about those things, and about Antonini wanting to punish Milan haters, we also face an ex- who likes to punish us, Gilardino. This just keeps getting better. How did we get here?

Calm down already.

But never fear, this week our very own a-yellow-card-a-day-keeps-the-suspensions-at-bay captain Montolivo is banned for doubling his yellow card quota last week at Chievo. So at least Kaká will get to wear the armband for this match, as it should be. The latest injuries this week went to Zaccardo and Amelia, the latter having knee surgery and thus will be out for a while. De Sciglio and El Shaarawy are still out, likely not to return for another week. Pazzini couldn’t buy his spot on the team back this week, so will still be out as well.

The question is which Allegri will show up? The one who thinks Ajax is a superior team? The one who played the same tactics vs. Chievo as he did vs. Barcelona? The one who thought Kaká should be a regista? (thankfully, Galliani has quashed that plan publicly, so we shouldn’t have to worry about that one.) You know, Allegri truly is under-appreciated. He repeats the same mistakes over and over and over until the dead horse is beating itself, and then BOOM! All of a sudden, he’ll make a new, incomprehensible mistake that will blow your mind. It’s like being led through a spooky cemetery and then finding out the hard way that the cemetery is actually an old mine field. How did we get here?

Balotelli can make or break this game singlehandedly.

And then there is the question of where our goals will come from. Balotelli is in quite the drought for both Milan and Italy. And although he’s holding it together better, every time he is fouled or even bumped, he has a bit of a pity party on the ground with those entitled, pouty looks at the ref, it’s pretty embarrassing. But to his credit, at least he moves, unlike his ball-of-clay counterpart, Matri, who seems content with his singular goal this season. Kaká has done everything Allegri has asked, which means he hasn’t scored lately either, so hopefully he'll just say forget it and score anyway. And there’s always Muntari, who, when not killing people, manages to be in the right place at the right time. Heaven forbid Allegri should start Saponara or Cristante, who both scored in the friendly on the weekend and looked better than most of the rest of the team combined. How did we get here?

Well, just like in a dysfunctional family, I will be glued to my laptop, since I live in a country that doesn’t believe in showing football matches live on television. And whatever i Grifone have to dish out, I will just have to take, because that is my plight as a Milan fan. Even if nothing else matters besides getting three points, I am prepared for whatever result befalls us. It seems like at some point I used to enjoy my team winning, but that just seems like a faraway dream now. I don’t know if that dream will ever come true again, but I will still be prepared for whatever result tomorrow, even if inside I’ll be asking “How did we get here?”


This post inspired by the music of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters”


Milan vs. Genoa
Saturday, November 23 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)
This match will NOT be broadcast LIVE in the U.S.
If you have beIN Sport, you may be able to watch online at beinsportplay.tv
Join me on Twitter during the match @milanobession