Fiorentina-Milan Preview: Second Chances

Less than two years ago, Fiorentina’s Champions League qualification spot was left up to fate, or more specifically a particular Milan team and Fiorentina's Tuscan rivals, Siena. In that last game of the 2012-13 season, Milan were awarded a soft penalty to equalize, both teams were on ten men, and then Mexes of all people scored the winner to give Milan the coveted third place instead of Fiorentina. The controversy was voiced quite loudly by Viola supporters, as they claimed their rivals threw the game, having nothing to lose, and accused Milan of getting too many penalties, the ref of foul play, amongst other things. But Monday they could possibly get a second chance at a third place spot, not ironically by taking down the team that “stole” their third place finish two years ago. But then again, Milan could use a second chance or two these days, too.

De Jong scored against Fiorentina in October, but he's injured now... will someone else step up?

Fiorentina actually come into this match in fifth place, four points behind both Lazio and Napoli. So even dispatching with us Monday night won’t put them in third, but it will be three points closer to that target. A target Montella and company are sure to want to achieve after having been spanked 4-0 by Lazio on Monday and getting a frustrating 1-1 draw in the Europa League on Thursday vs. Roma. For the Europa League clash, Montella lined up Neto; Gonzalo, Basanta, Alonso, Tomovic; Badelj, Pizarro, Valero; Joaquin, Ilicic, and Salah.

However, for Monday’s match, Montella has quite a few players missing. Tomovic is suspended for this one, and he is also missing Bernardeschi, Lupatelli, G. Rossi, and Manteca to long-term injuries as well as Tatarusanu, Gomez, Pizzarro, and possibly Savic to more recent injuries. The team will also be tired, as this will be their third game in a week’s time, but perhaps that disadvantage will be balanced by their playing at home.

Ilicic scored for them at the San Siro in October, and he scored on Thursday, too. Preview of things to come?

While Milan could be haunted by exes such as Aquilani and Gilardino, Milan have a few players who could haunt Fiorentina, too. For example, our captain, Montolivo, was also their former captain. Although he didn’t leave them under the best of terms, and he is injured anyway. Then there’s Cerci… also not a fan favorite in Florence. Okay, so maybe Pazzini will haunt them, I don’t remember any bad blood when he left. Needless to say, though, there will be a lot of emotions and a lot to play for.

There will also be a lot of Milan players not playing. Poli is suspended for this one, and then our injuries include: Zapata, De Sciglio, El Shaarawy, Agazzi, Mastour, Armero, Zaccardo, De Jong, Montolivo, Rami, as well as possibly Alex, Albertazzi, and Essien (although the last three returned to training with the squad on Thursday.) Good thing Galliani believes in large, overpaid squads, so we have enough players left on the roster to field eleven bodies.

Maybe his past is just what Milan need for our future... or at least for three points on Monday

How Inzaghi fields those bodies is another question. Which system will he use this time? Will Honda ever play at his natural position? Will Menez play as a false nine or does it even matter anymore, as we all know he will hog the ball until he loses possession or earns a penalty? With fan morale even lower now than at the end of Allegri’s reign of terror, I can only imagine how low morale must be within the squad. Especially since Berlusconi suddenly has no more time for Hip Hip Hooras on Fridays. All I know is that in October, we played to a draw, which denied Milan… wait for it… third place, a spot we can only dream of now that we sit in tenth going into this match.

I guess what I’m saying is that both teams need a second chance… Fiorentina want that third place spot, and Milan just want to stay clear of relegation, I think. (Although some at the top also want that third place spot, but they probably also believe in leprechauns, fairies, and world peace.) And to you people drinking the Kool-Aid who think we are winning this thing outright, please just keep that Kool-Aid high to yourself, okay? I’m tired of picking up the pieces of your unfounded optimism and drying your tears after each match. Do I want to win? Hell yeah. Do I think it’s likely? Probably as likely as leprechauns and fairies solving world peace for us anytime soon. But let’s be realistic: overall, Fiorentina have been improving this calendar year, while Milan… well we are keeping the Suicide Prevention Hotlines in business. If we can’t give ourselves a second chance and a precious three points, then it is only fair that we help Fiorentina with their second chance with a win at home. Either way, drinking is recommended. That’s all you need to know.

This post inspired by Prince and the Revolution’s “Purple Rain” album

Fiorentina vs. Milan
Monday, March 16 • 19:00 CET (2pm EDT)
*note the time difference due to Daylight Savings Time
This match will be shown on RAI and BeIN Sports in the U.S.

Fiorentina-Milan Preview: Second Chances Fiorentina-Milan Preview: Second Chances Reviewed by Elaine on 11:58 PM Rating: 5
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