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Milan-Atalanta Preview: Home is Where the Heart Is


Sunday’s match will pull on the heartstrings of more than one Milan player. Agazzi, Bonaventura, Pazzini, and Montolivo all played for Atalanta and/or came through the Atalanta youth system. Cerci also spent a year on loan at Atalanta, and our own Mister Inzaghi spent an infamous year in the nerazzurri, the season that launched his playing career. So where will their hearts lie? Hopefully with the crest they wear on their shirts now. And even if it may be bittersweet to have to take down the club that helped build their careers, victory is sweeter, and victory at the San Siro even more sweet. So with families and children being particularly encouraged to attend this one, I say that home is where the heart is… (or should that be the heart is where home is?)

Pazzolivo was forged at Atalanta, let's let them pay tribute with goals and assists for Milan on Sunday

Atalanta come into this match in 17th, just above the relegation zone. Meaning they need to win or die trying. Also meaning they are especially dangerous for this Milan team to drop points against. They come off of a draw at home to Chievo where they conceded in the dying minutes to drop points, meaning Colantuono can’t be happy and will have undoubtedly been working on the motivation ahead of this match.

In that draw to Chievo, he fielded Sportiello; Stendardo, Bellini, Biava, Drame; Moralez, Baselli, Carmona, Zappacosta; Denis, and Pinilla. Bellini was sent off at the end of that one, so will be suspended for our match. They will still be without Estigarribia due to a long term injury, as well as Raimondi and Cherubin due to injury. There may also be questions as to Benalouane and Stendardo for fitness reasons.

He owes everything to them... except goals. Those are for Milan.

Inzaghi will now be without Zapata for a month, De Sciglio for six weeks, and van Ginkel may still out because he got Muntaried™ in training over the break. Honda is still at the Asian Cup, scoring like a boss. Saponara will no longer be available because he’s on loan to Empoli for the rest of the season with option to buy. Not sure as of this writing if Muntari is "fit" yet (translation: served his time for his outburst), let’s cross our fingers that he’s not, for the sake of all of the players within range of his rage.

I loved the more dynamic midfield with Poli and Bonaventura instead of Montolivo and Muntari that we saw on Tuesday in the Coppa Italia, even if it was a little fragile and needed some work. But I would not put money on Inzaghi to sit the captain when he’s fit – we all know what happened to the last coach who did that. Our defense… well it seems that no mediocre or aging defender is immune to the curse of conceding at Milan, especially the curse of conceding on set pieces. Look for more Bonera, at right back, left back, midfield, attack… please anywhere but at center back.

All of these Nerazzurri pictures are hitting a little too close to home

It’s our last fixture of the first half of the season. We currently sit in eighth place, one point ahead of Inter. That could change for better or worse going into the second half of the season. (Also, I will be waking up at 5am for this one, let’s face it, that’s the most important thing.) So let’s hope that playing at the San Siro, in front of all of those kids and families will be enough to motivate this team to take down another Nerazzurri team, even if their heartstrings are tugged on. As Abbiati pointed out, the San Siro used to be a place people feared to play at. We need to make it that way again, even if it’s only one lower table team at a time. Home is where the heart is.


This post inspired by the music of Ludo’s “Love Me Dead”


Milan vs. Atalanta
Sunday, January 18 • 15:00 CET (9am EST)
This match is being shown on RAI and BeIN Sport in the U.S.