Champions League • Milan-Ajax: Team Superior

So many of us fans have spent so much time complaining about how Allegri has not been able to instill the proper mentality into our team. But little did we know, his words are so powerful that he actually affected the mentality of not just one, but two teams. Back in October, Allegri said that Ajax were a superior team. At the time, it was so untrue. But the power of his words was so far-reaching that it has become a self-fulfilling prophecy – Ajax are in fantastic form, and Milan are barely registering a heartbeat. So on Wednesday, Milan get to welcome to the San Siro Ajax, also known as Team Superior.

I'll show you who's superior

I don’t know if we want to leave this game to the usual “Champions League is in our DNA” hopes. For one, if last year was Year Zero, this year is Year Negative One. With tougher competition in the Champions League and worse results in Serie A, we can’t simply hope that our club’s past glory will carry us through. After all, the last time we met Ajax, when Allegri completely overestimated the competition and asked the team to play as if we were facing the best team in the world. Then we did face one of the best teams in the world, and ironically, he managed to get those tactics right. But now that he is in scream-at-the-team mode after the Livorno game (rumor has it he even punched the wall,) that means he is completely devoid of ideas. Which is worse than usual, where so many fans find him completely devoid of ideas.

Team Superior has been on an amazing run since we last met. After our disastrous draw with Ajax in Amsterdam, they lost 2-1 away to Celtic, but beat Celtic 1-0 and then Barcelona 2-1 in Amsterdam. That gave them 7 points, breathing down our necks with our meager 8 points. They have also won their last 4 league matches, with 14 goals in those 4 games. So, even though prior to our previous matchup, they thought Milan were superior, Allegri’s words have been like a prophecy for them, which they have dutifully fulfilled.

I'll see your Bojan Krkic and raise you a freaking Balotelli

Their most recent victim on Saturday was NAC Breda. A hat trick by Klaassen and a goal by Milan reject and sub on the night Bojan Krkic sealed the 4-0 win over 12th place NAC Breda, putting Ajax 2nd in the Eredvisie, a mere 2 points behind the leaders. For that matchup, De Boer lined up Cillessen; Van Rhijn, Moisander, Veltman, Ligeon; Blind, Klaassen, Serero; Fischer, Schöne, and Hoesen. He’ll miss Veltman, who is suspended for this match, and will also likely miss Siem de Jong, Lerin, and Boilesen, who are all out injured. But it’s okay, because they’re a superior team, right?

Well if Allegri thinks so, it must be true, right? With the mentality he’s given the team, results would indicate that it is. But it’s not. One needn’t look past our strike force to see the quality we have compared to Ajax. I mean we sent Krkic back, after all. But luckily for the screaming Allegri, his majesty President Berlusconi is supposed to visit the team ahead of Ajax. Berlusconi knows Milan is a superior team, he paid for it. And he knows that screaming at people is not the way to motivate, so maybe the team will come out from under Allegri’s spell.

When money is on the line, Berlusconi is gonna be there

Who that team is that actually faces Ajax is still a bit up in the air. El Shaarawy may not be 100% yet, but his bench replacement in Birsa suffered an injury on Saturday, and is still doubtful for Wednesday’s clash. Muntari says he is ready to play, but will Allegri start him after he’s been out injured? His love affair with the Ghanaian may trump reason, even if Poli has more than earned that spot, even playing right back the last couple of games. He is rumored to be considering Big Game Bonera over one of his two starting center backs. But I could never guess which one, as they are both prone to errors. I would guess that he’d reward Urby for at least 2 games straight where he’s played so well at left back, and since Abate is not expected to make it back from injury in time, De Sciglio would be most likely to start on the right. Abbiati is bound to start in goal, as Coppola is the only other keeper available for the Champions League. Constant and Pazzini have been training with the team now, but I would only expect them to make the bench at best.

Well, Mr. Ajax-Is-A-Superior-Team, your screaming hasn't worked, either

Milan only need a draw to progress to the Round of 16, so maybe we can lull Team Superior into a slumber again and accept the road of mediocrity to reach the knockout rounds. Which would be a shame, because Champions League is in our DNA, and that DNA is full of winning. But the bigger shame would be to give up and concede our spot to Team Superior. Just because they have the right mentality and great form does not make them the better team. And just because our entire club is self-destructing in the most public of ways doesn’t mean this team doesn’t deserve this. So tie up Allegri and leave him in the dressing room with a muzzle if we have to, but let this team do what they are capable of: win. No, Allegri, Ajax are not the better team. They’ve only  got four Champions League trophies and we’ve got seven. It’s Milan who are Team Superior. And it’s time to win, draw, or go home.

This post inspired by perhaps too little sleep and a little too much caffeine

AC Milan vs. Ajax
Wednesday, December 11 • 20:45 CET (2:45 EST)
This match will be shown live on Fox Sports 2 in the U.S.
Check the comments for stream links ahead of the game

UEFA Youth League
Milan Primavera vs. Ajax U19
Wednesday, December 11 • 15:00 CET (9am EST)
This match will be streamed on the website via MilanTime

Champions League • Milan-Ajax: Team Superior Champions League • Milan-Ajax: Team Superior Reviewed by Elaine on 12:00 AM Rating: 5
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