Tuesday, August 2, 2016

ICC Tournament: AC Milan vs. Chelsea FC


As I’ve written earlier this summer, friendlies are typically good tuneups for most teams and their upcoming seasons. But not for Milan, not this summer. In fact, these friendlies are likely to simply be the calm before the storm. Especially these friendlies against the “big” European clubs. Despite questions about Montella’s preferred system, no one can really blame Montella for anything at this point. Without a transfer market to speak of and with all of the delays of the sale of the club, he has to be given a free ride on these friendlies. While Milan winning another meaningless friendly sounds nice, I don’t think anyone is expecting it. So don’t hold your breath.

Let's just hope we can open their sparkly new stadium with our heads held high

This match will have the distinction of being the first game played at a brand new American football stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings. So whatever happens on the field, this match is already historic. So historic, they actually sent a Vikings helmet on a tour of Milano. So hopefully anything that happens in the game only adds to that unique distinction rather than takes away from it.

Let me just say right here and now that despite this picture, Milan are NOT in negotiations with the Minnesota Vikings.

Let’s start with no red cards. Chelsea’s Fabregas was sent off in their first ICC match against Liverpool for a nasty challenge. Let’s not see any of that again, please? Especially if we have to watch Conte, Chelsea’s new coach. That’s more than enough ugly for one match.

Last season, Chelsea finished 10th in the Premier League. If that happened under Conte’s watch, those players might not still be alive. Needless to say he is ruthless in training and a great motivator, so likely Chelsea will not be sitting back as if this is “just” a friendly. Although to be fair, they lost their first friendly, 2-0 to Rapid Vienna. They won their next two friendlies, and then lost 3-2 to Real Madrid in their ICC match on Saturday. But considering Real are the reigning Champions League champions, I assume that Conte spared their lives, at least for one more match. They may not be so lucky if they are not successful against us.

I would not want to be whomever he is screaming at right there

For that Real Madrid match, Conte lined up Begovic; Azpilicueta, Terry, Cahill, Ola  Aina; Pedro, Matic, Oscar, Willian; Loftus-Cheek, and Bertrand Traoré. Substitutes he used were Courtois, Moses, Chalaobah, Cuadrado, Hazard, and Batshuayi. Hazard scored the brace for them.

From from the overly enthusiastic and dramatic Conte, we come to his antithesis in coaches, Montella. Vincenzo “everything is fine, I’m not worried about transfers, players can eat whatever they want and are enjoying trainings” Montella saw his side lose 2-0 to Liverpool on Saturday. And he lost some players to injury, too. Reports are that both Bertolacci and Antonelli are out injured for this match. In all honesty, no injuries would be the goal for this one. His previous starting lineups were rather strong, but perhaps as this is the last match for this tour, he’ll start some bench players, who knows?

Conte kills by screaming and with his bare hands, Montella just gives looks that kill

Yet again we are pitted against a team who fell from grace this season, only this time that team also has a brand new coach, too. But in transfers alone this summer, they already outshine us, so luck would have to put on the red and black and sing Inno Milan for us to see a result. I'd rather that luck focus on us not tarnishing someone else's shiny new stadium. Also hoping for Conte to not rip any seams celebrating, but knowing that it’s less likely that we’ll see Montella celebrating, I personally go into this match hoping for no new injuries. Anything better than that would be great, but I’m not holding my breath.


This post inspired by the music of The Prodigy’s “Breathe”


International Champions Cup
AC Milan vs. Chelsea FC
Wednesday, August 3 • 9:30pm EDT
This match will be shown on ESPN2 in the U.S.