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Cagliari-Milan Preview: Welcome to Zemanlandia


The last time we went to Cagliari, Balotelli was abused on and off the pitch, and Amelia was in goal. Now Balotelli is being abused at Liverpool around the clock, and Amelia is a player and technical director for a Promozione club (6th tier Italian football.) However, there’s a new sheriff in Sardegna, one whose teams play all-out attacking and entertaining football. I think his concept is for them to score as many goals as he smokes cigarettes, and that can be hard to keep up with. So before Milan’s record vs. Cagliari gives you some unfounded confidence, think again. And welcome to Zemanlandia.

The smoking gun

On Saturday, Zeman’s Cagliari trounced newly promoted Empoli, 4-0. But that was simply a victory on the pitch. Off the pitch, longtime owner and part time jailbird Massimo Cellino finally sold the club and bought Leeds United instead (good luck with that, Leeds fans.) However, new Cagliari owner and president Tommaso Giulini shrewdly hired the iconic Czechoslovakian coach this summer, and the goals are really starting to roll in. Add to that Cagliari’s victory of finally being able to play at home at the Sant’Elia again, and you would think that the Rossoblu are truly winning… Charlie Sheen style.

However, on paper, Cagliari are still only 12th, the Zeman effect only giving them two wins, two draws, and four losses thus far. Although to be fair, their other win prior to Saturday was a 4-1 trouncing of Inter, so they should get double or more of the points for that. I’m just saying. Zeman’s winning lineup on Saturday was Cragno; Avelar, Rossettini, Balzano, Capuano; Crisetig, Ekdal, Donsah; Cossu, Ibarbo, and Sau. He will be missing injured defender Ceppetelli, as well as midfielders Conti and Eriksson for our match.

Ibarbo will keep us on our toes

Inzaghi, on the other hand heads to the island of Sardegna with a full squad, less Montolivo, of course. With three games this week and a number of players having played 90 minutes on Sunday, he may very well swap out a few players from his starting eleven that faced Fiorentina. Or maybe he won’t, that’s the beauty of a new coach, you never know what he’s going to do or even which formation he'll play.

Whomever starts for Milan tomorrow or whichever formation Inzaghi starts, our defense will have to be particularly vigilant. And goals will be necessary for us, as this will almost definitely be a match where scoring more than we concede will be the rule of the day. Forget survival of the fittest, this one will be the most clinical finishing takes all. Zeman’s style is attacking, Inzaghi’s squad has one of the best and most complete attacks in Serie A. So watch out for goals in this one. And once again, welcome to Zemanlandia.


This post inspired by the music of Front 242’s “Headhunter”

Cagliari vs. Milan
Wednesday, October 29 • 20:45 CET (3:45pm EDT)
*note the change of European daylight savings time changes the time difference
This match will NOT be shown LIVE on TV in the U.S.
Check the comments section here for stream links ahead of the match