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Milan-Lazio Preview: Persistent Eagle Problem


So Sunday we invite the Eagles to our house, something I don’t recommend you doing on a personal level, as they are quite large and may eat your pets or small children. But the San Siro is large enough, and if they had a pitch invader like Barcelona had last weekend, then the eagles might actually come in handy. Other than that, it’s hard to look at this game with much optimism, given that we haven’t yet received our CHAMPION STRIKER GIFT FROM THE PRESIDENT* as of this writing. (*no money back guarantee, you’ll take what His Majesty gives you, use of the word “champion” may apply to past performances or not at all, the only people expecting an actual champion are those who are over 70 years old and clearly delusional.)

Those eagles can certainly be dangerous

So where was I? Oh yes. Lazio. Funny, Lotito is widely regarded as much crazier than Berlusconi, having done some very rash things like freeze players out, having them train in cages and such, shamelessly endorse a racist for FIGC president, and generally anger Lazio fans whenever he opens up his mouth or does anything at all. Berlusconi is much more sinister, he tries to put on a good face, and is apparently very charismatic, but his destruction of the club he owns is slower and more painful. Another difference is that when things got really bad, Lotito has actually made efforts to appease the fans, whereas Berlusconi simply hops in his helicopter, flies to Milanello, says a bunch of words, and hopes the guys believe it enough to win, never even addressing the fans (except on very special occasions, and then only very condescendingly.) Because actually buying quality players and getting his money’s worth from his wage bill is clearly not within his vocabulary.

But I digress. This isn’t about the mercato anymore, it’s about football. Or is it? Because the football will be directly impacted by the mercato. Specifically Milan’s football. Inzaghi has said that the club knows what his desires are in the mercato, but if he doesn’t get them, the team will win on grit and determination instead. So I hope he’s got an endless supply of grit and determination and is piping it into both Milanello and the San Siro as we speak. Because heaven knows he’s not getting the players he wants. None of us are. Inzaghi also wants a full San Siro on Sunday, so let's hope he's not been drinking the same Kool-Aid that management have been drinking and he can actually conjure up that grit and determination stuff.

"What?! I have a thigh injury and can't face off against the club without a star striker?!"

Lazio, on the other hand, did get some players they wanted/needed. Enough to keep the masses from killing Claudio Lotito and also to continue supporting their club. They did that… what is it called…. oh yeah… “improve” their squad thing. In addition to his usual band of thugs plus Klose, Pioli now also has Parolo, Basta, De Vrij, and Gentiletti at his disposal. He doesn’t, however have Pereirinha available due to suspension, and is missing at least Marchetti due to injury.

Milan will be missing De Sciglio and Mexes due to suspension. Also, obviously, Montolivo is still out with his long term injury/long term honeymoon and travel plans. There may be others who miss due to “injury” (as in "imminent transfer)" or actual knocks they’ve picked up in training. But hopefully De Jong has recovered from his “injury,” as keeping him really may be widely viewed by fans as the signing of the season. And since we won’t have Balotelli anymore, I’m sure Muntari is gearing up to take his place as our most prolific striker when he is not trying to replicate Genghis Khan’s finest work against our opponent in the midfield.

Hopefully Pazzini has reason to give us an encore of this fine celebration on Sunday

But Serie A is back. Amidst more controversy than ever with the FIGC’s new racist and sexist president, clubs not going to be immediately fined/banned for singing about clubs located near an active volcano, and also after a very divisive and poor World Cup performance from the Italian national team. It’s like being a kid trying to sleep the night before Christmas. Except instead of dreams of sugarplums and actual presents, Milan fans are having nightmares of Torres in a Milan jersey that are more likely than not going to become real before this match even kicks off. But one way or the other, we will face those persistent eagle problems at the San Siro on Sunday. Let’s just hope we find a way to avoid their talons and their brute squad, too. Because this season, no injuries will be like a victory. Forza Milan!


This post inspired by the music of Danny Elfman’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas”

Milan vs. Lazio
Sunday, August 31 • 18:00 CEST (12noon EDT)
This match will be shown live on RAI in the US
Check comments for stream links ahead of the match