This match was supposed to be easy. But the easy ones are the trickiest anyway, right? Add to that the sacking of Zenga and the hiring of Montella, and all of a sudden, Milan have no room for error. If we don’t play a perfect game, Sampdoria could drown us. But if we do play a perfect game, the fans will go berserk with the unrealistic expectations and test the mentality of the team yet again. Especially after that overwhelming Trofeo San Nicola victory on Tuesday. So Saturday, we will have to choose between the Devil and the deep blue sea.
|Having chosen the Devil over the deep blue sea looks good on him, don't you think?|
Montella was robbed of his inaugural win as a midseason coaching change on Sunday, so will want a decisive win this round. Udinese beat Sampdoria 1-0, which had to drive Massimo Ferrero crazy… wait, that’s redundant. Anyway, Montella lined up Viviano; Moisander, Silvestre, De Silvestri, Zukanovic; Fernando, Barreto, Soriano; Eder, Muriel, and Carbonero for that fateful trip to the Friuli. It is of note that Cassano played 25 minutes in that match, but he has not particularly impressed yet his second time around at Samp. But then again, he left his heart at the San Siro, so he could prove problematic for us on Saturday.
One giant stroke of luck for Milan is that we won’t have to face off against our former superstar, Djamel Mesbah. Fortunately for us, he is on the injury list, so Mihajlovic will no doubt get a lot more sleep this week. Also on the injury list are Cassani, Correa, Krsticic, and Coda. And of course, Zukanovic saw red at the end of the Udinese match, so will be suspended when the Blucerchiati come to the San Siro.
|Montella couldn't be more thrilled to be at Sampdoria... but he'll still want the win|
Mihajlovic also lost last weekend to Juve, but more than made up for that loss with a breathtaking win over both Serie B big guns Bari and the top team in Serie A right now, the filthy, cold-blooded, spineless Inter. For those spectacular victories, we were awarded the inaugural Trofeo San Nicola, a trophy that was as immense as the spectacular award ceremony that accompanied it. But he cannot rest on the laurels of such unprecedented midweek achievements. Saturday, he is hosting his ex-club and their entertainingly certifiable owner. He needs to win this one.
After giving his bench and Primavera players some time in the friendlies on Tuesday, Mihajlovic will have to choose a starting eleven that is without De Jong, Lopez, Balotelli, and Menez, all out with injuries. However he did get some potentially good news in that Bertolacci returned to full training on Wednesday, so should be available. Despite longstanding rumors of switching to a 4-4-2, it sounds more likely that Mihajlovic will stick with the trophy-winning 4-3-3 for this match, which means more Cerci. But maybe the home advantage will energize the players enough that they can overcome this handicap. Or maybe not. But winning at home would be much better than winning that trophy on Tuesday.
|He scored in his last match, and is now back in training from his injury... will he make the starting 11?|
Let me be clear that as Diavoli, winning is always the best option, even when fans say and do ridiculous things. But coming up against the deep blue sea of Sampdoria, the risks are very high. As Milan are still finding our footing, we have to be very careful not to slip up and lose our way. So while Sampdoria could prove very dangerous, I am hoping the Devil will conquer the deep blue sea on Saturday.
This post inspired by the music of The Cure’s “Standing on a Beach”
Today is Thanksgiving here in America, a time when we gather together with family and friends and share our blessings and give thanks. Even if you are not celebrating, please take a moment to count your blessings today. Feel free to list them in the comment section, too, especially (but not limited too) the Milan-related ones. I know that I am especially grateful for all of you who read, comment, listen or participate in the podcast, follow on Twitter, and more. It is so nice to know that I am not alone in my Milan obsession. Thank you!
Milan vs. Sampdoria
Saturday, November 28 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)
This match will be shown LIVE on RAI and BeIN Sports in the U.S.