After last season, Milan are so lucky just to be playing for the Supercoppa. But we got the easy road, playing Sampdoria, Carpi, and Alessandria on the way to the Coppa final, while Juve had to face Torino, Lazio, and Inter to get there. And it is also thanks to them that we are playing for the Supercoppa trophy, since we won neither the league nor the Coppa Italia final. But since they won both and couldn’t play themselves, Milan are going to Doha by virtue of being the runner up in the Coppa Italia. Literally, Milan are just happy to be here.
|Just happy to be on the plane|
Another reason Milan will be just happy to be here is that they are having a little plane trouble actually getting to Doha. It seems that their flight, arranged by tournament officials, was cancelled due to mechanical problems, and another flight would not be available for about 24 hours. Rather than being grateful for the safety of his team, particularly in the wake of recent plane-related tragedy, Galliani took the low road and complained that Juve arriving in Doha almost 24 hours earlier was a “serious sporting disadvantage” and threatened that Milan would not play. And no, the irony of our shirt sponsors being Fly Emirates and our coach being l’Aeroplanino has not been lost on anyone.
Juventus have every advantage, arriving in Doha a day earlier and already training there being the least of them. It was thought that Allegri would be without Pjanic and Lichtsteiner due to injury, but both were called up and made the trip. Instead, he will only be missing Alves, Bonucci, and Mandragora to injury. How and whom Allegri will lineup will always be a surprise, so I won’t even try to guess. He’s even brought a few youngsters, perhaps to fight fire with fire. But he has actually won the Supercoppa with both clubs, so he can relax, as he has that advantage, too.
|Diesel made them killer new threads just for this match, too|
Milan, on the other hand are just happy to be here. So many other teams deserved to be runners up in the Coppa Italia, but were on the wrong side of the table. Milan do not have their own stadium, nor do we have five consecutive Scudetti, nor does our starting lineup even rival their bench. Oh yeah, and they got an extra day in Doha, I’m sure that will make all the difference.
Additionally, Montella has never coached a Supercoppa, even if he may have won one as a player with Roma. In fact, as a coach, he’s never really won anything yet. Except our match with Juve in October, of course. That was awesome. However things have changed since then in both squads. With the last two matches bringing less than perfect results for Milan, it’s difficult to know how the mentality of the squad will be. And he will be missing Calabria, Fernandez, and Montolivo to injury, even if all of the players are traveling with the squad.
|Donnarumma is always just happy to be here (and the feeling is mutual for all fans, I'm sure)|
This is a final. It’s a one-off. Winner takes all. And Milan are the serious underdogs. If Galliani can stop whining about sporting disadvantages, he might notice that we’ve actually got a slight chance at bringing home a trophy. On the pitch, not in the press. And even if we lose, there’s no shame in losing to this Juventus, who have been built to win not only the league, but also the Champions League. So we should enjoy the chance to have our league match for this week postponed until February and to be playing for a trophy at all under the circumstances. It’s the holiday season, after all, and no one needs a Grinch complaining about time while his team are safe and doing better than expected. Milan should be just happy to be here.
This post inspired by the music of Boris Karloff’s “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”
Juventus vs. AC Milan
Friday, December 23 • 7:30pm AST (11:30am EST)
Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, Doha, Qatar
This match will be shown LIVE on GolTV in the U.S.