Milan host Udinese on Sunday afternoon, a team who are better known for their scouting and mercato feats than being Scudetto contenders. Despite currently holding the 14th place on the table, the spot most recently held by our midweek foes, Palermo, they are still fighting for every point they can get. Milan fans, of course, just want the win. Not for the typical greedy fan reasons, but rather because each win brings us closer to that coveted consistency that will be like a salve to our many wounds in recent years. So it’s not just the American football game being played eight hours later that matters. You know, the one where companies drop more in advertising for a 30 second spot than Berlusconi spent all last year? Yeah, well this one may not have all of the money and pseudo-alternative bands and multiple appetizer and beverage viewing parties, but for Milan fans, this really is the other big game.
|Save the stadium built from food for the big game, Milan just need 3 points from this one|
When we went to the Friuli in September, the result was a 3-2 win for Milan. But don’t fool yourselves, remember Milan were up 3-0 and then conceded two goals in the second half. One of those goals was from Bizarro Zapata™, aka Duvan Zapata, or Cristian Zapata’s double from an alternate Colombia. Whereas our Zapata is a defender who randomly scores, Bizarro Zapata™ is a striker who randomly defends. So which Zapata will triumph this time? At least we know that Milan should be wearing our home kits instead of those third kit abominations they wore last time (and also mid week) that are like having your eyes raped every time you see them.
Udinese’s current streak is L-L-L-D-D. That includes the 4-0 decimation they received from Juve on the opening day of their newly remodeled stadium. Ouch. But they are still a tough little team. Wednesday, they drew with Empoli, and they were up 1-0 for much of the game until they conceded a goal in the 90th minute. For that match, Colantuono lined up: Kamezis; Felipe, Heurtaux, Piris; Bruno, Lodi, Widmer, Adnan, Hallfredsson; Bizarro Zapata™, Matos. For this match, he will be missing Pasquale, Domizzi, and former Milan legend Alexander Merkel to injury.
|Bizarro Zapata™ and our Zapata... which will prevail?|
Don’t forget their captain, Di Natale. He may be benched more often than not, but always has the potential to come on and make a difference. He is often considered one of the last of the great bandiere, but he actually started his career at Empoli and then spent the past 12 years at Udinese. And unlike some of the literal bandiere, who have spent their whole careers at one big club, he chose to stay at a smaller club like Udinese instead of moving to a bigger club for a chance to actually win something. He has a lot of respect from me for that.
While many people will be chilling their drinks and making guacamole for the big game, Milan will be preparing to host the Zebrette. Mihajlovic will have to do so without Lopez, Ely, Mexes, probably still Adriano, and then there is a big question mark next to Bonaventura. There is rumor of a mild muscle strain, but the big money is just on fatigue. You see, having to run over to the Curva and apologize to the fans after every match after carrying the team on your shoulders for 90 minutes does take its toll.
|One of the few Italians backing Balotelli for Euro 2016, Di Natale is all class|
I know some people will be working on their body paint and facial hair dye with certain mascots and colors, but Milan actually have a big game at that hour. Udinese may not be a “big” team, but this match is as important as any other this season. Well, except for the win over Inter, that was a triumph of good over evil and changed the karma of the universe. But still, winning this and playing well for 90 minutes will also be very important, particularly for the healing of Milan fans over recent years of injustices.. Just because it won’t be played between a hundred overpriced commercials or won’t even be televised in the United States doesn’t mean it’s not that other big game.
This post inspired by the music of the Dead Kennedys “Jock-o-Rama”
Milan vs. Udinese
Sunday, February 7 • 15:00 CET (9am EST)
This match will NOT be shown LIVE in the U.S.