There are no easy games in football. However, traditionally, upon hearing that our opponent was Chievo, Milan fans could relax and expect a win, as Chievo would typically be near the bottom of the table. But oh, how times have changed. Milan with our mentality issues cannot be expected to beat even a 20th place team if our lives depended on it. But more importantly, Maran has Chievo just ahead of us on the table, and playing consistently better with a team whose wages are a fraction of ours. So while my Chievo previews often celebrate one of the strangest mascots in Serie A, the Flying Donkeys, this time around, I’ve got to respect the donkeys.
|Respect the Birsa|
As was mentioned on the last podcast, Maran has done wonders with Chievo, and they are perched at fifth on the table. A 2-0 win vs. Pescara before the break should still see them confident as they host us Sunday night. Even more so that they are backed by the Bentegodi, one of those more feared stadiums for opposition fans. In their away win vs. Pescara, Maran started Sorrentino; Spolli, Dainelli, Gobbi, Frey, Floro Flores, Radovanovic, Birsa, Hetemaj, Castro, and Inglese. He is likely to be without Cacciatore and Bastien for our match. But Milan fans should fear the Birsa the most. Our very own former Slovenian Messi already has two goals and two assists this season. And he helped sink Inter in their opening match, so seriously, respect.
Montella has seen Zapata return to training this week after a long injury, but no news as of this writing as to whether he will be considered fit yet. He will definitely be without Montolivo, Bertolacci, Fernandez, and Antonelli. Calabria is doubtful after picking up an ankle injury on national team duty, and Honda also trained separately on Friday. Additionally, word is that Bacca will not start, having just returned from national team duty also and training separately on Friday. However the big controversy is who will play in place of Montolivo. Much has been said about Sosa and Locatelli, with fans clearly wanting Locatelli following his amazing performance subbing on for Montolivo before the break. But the only thing that is known is that Abate will be wearing the armband now whenever he starts (as it should be.)
|Reports that Bacca could start on the bench after returning from Colombia|
A single goal in goal differential is all that separates these two teams, with both teams very motivated to put three points between them. But which team will come out on top? Will it be Montella’s young and very lucky team, anxiously trying to put four years of mixed results behind them? Or Maran’s carefully coached, more experienced, and consistently playing well above their level team? It should be a great game, even if longtime fans may be surprised by that prospect. Regardless of the scoreline, it’s time to respect i Mussi Volanti.
This post inspired by the music of Frank Sinatra’s “Come Fly With Me”
Chievo vs. Milan
Sunday, October 16 • 20:45 CEST (2:45pm EDT)
This match will be shown LIVE on RAI and BeIN Sports in the U.S.