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Milan-Verona Preview: Wake Me When It’s Over


Honestly, Milan could be due for a decent performance on Sunday. Or not. But the game falls at 6am my time, so I’m not really enthusiastic about this one. Verona are bottom of the table, yes, but they are also due for a win, especially with their new coach. With the reports this week that Montolivo will be extending his contract, it’s honestly hard to be enthusiastic about anything Milan related right now. So forgive me if I’m short on optimism this time around, and please, wake me when it’s over.

It's always too early to wake up for this happy couple

I fell in love with Hellas Verona after reading Tim Parks’ “A Season with Verona.” The  author went to every Verona match for a season, and lived to tell the tale. Which was impressive, since he often traveled with the ultras. His recounting of his adventures with them helped me see a little bit into Ultra culture and also taught me most of my Italian curseword vocabulary. Verona are the original club from Verona, the diehard representatives of the city where Romeo and Juliet was set. And also the city that once a year blesses the humans of the world with a gift called Pandoro. Now that is something worth waking up for.

Verona are also dead last in Serie A, and just fired Mandorlini, their coach of five years. To prove they want to stay in Serie A, they brought in Del Neri, a seasoned Serie A veteran who in his 30 years of coaching has coached nearly as many teams. That list included two stints with their city rivals Chievo. Also, he looks suspiciously like Inspector Clouseu of Pink Panther fame. Because these things are important to a coach’s credentials. I wonder if he gets free Pandoro by taking the Verona job?

Proof positive of the resemblance (art by @sposatoalnemico)

The Inspector Del Neri has a long list of injuries and suspensions: his first keeper, Rafael, is serving his third game of his three match ban this week, and Hallfredsson will also sit this one out due to card accumulation. Former Milan players Albertazzi and Pazzini are both out due to injury, so we are safe from their vengeance this time. Also injured are Taleb, Matuzalem, Marquez, Romulo, and Fares. However, he will have the rest of the starting lineup that lost to Empoli last week in the Inspector’s Del Neri’s first match in charge of the club. That lineup was: Gollini; Pisano, Moras, Bianchetti, Souprayen; Hallfredsson, Wsolek, Siligardi, Viviani; Toni, and Ionita. Toni recently announced that he will be retiring at the end of this season, so expect him to want to rack up some serious goals this season, starting on Sunday. Which I might be fine with if he sends me a crate of Pandoro for every goal he scores against us. Maybe.

Milan, on the other hand, are coming off of a mindnumbing draw to 19th place Carpi last week, and regression seems to be the overall theme at the club this week (or at least for the last podcast.) Other than making pigs fly or finding that elusive magic wand all of the Serie A coaches keep talking about, it’s difficult to guess what Mihajlovic will do differently. He’s got the same injuries, Antonelli, Lopez, Bertolacci, Balotelli, and Menez. While both Bertolacci and Balotelli both resumed training with the team this week, only Bertolacci is rumored to make the callups, as Balotelli’s injury saw him out much longer.

Finally, something worth waking up for... although it will still be there later...

Whether or not Milan can play like they did vs. Sampdoria a couple of weeks ago and make Del Neri look like his bumbling lookalike character is hard to predict. Inconsistency should be part of the Milan crest these days, it really is our trademark. But anything less, and Verona must know that they could easily grab three points from us, even in our own house. And they have nothing to lose, so will be the most dangerous. I will be okay if I remember to open up a luscious, golden, heavenly Pandoro to go along with this 6am game. Because without the promise of something so delicious, I’m not sure what I would be waking up for. So maybe you should just wake me when it’s over.


This post inspired by the music of Henry Mancini’s “The Pink Panther Theme”


Milan vs. Hellas Verona
Sunday, December 13 • 15:00 CET (9am EST)
This match will be shown LIVE on RAI and BeIN Sports in the U.S.