Some people will intentionally put themselves in harm’s way under the premise of adventure. They put themselves in the wilderness with little to nothing and force themselves to find food and shelter and survive predators and the elements alike… for fun. That’s crazy. But then there are those who find themselves in a similar situation through no fault of their own, stranded because of an accident or something, and they must fight literally to live or die. That is Milan this week. With injuries and suspensions alike, they must go to the lair of the Eagles and fight for their European competition lives. Pippo Inzaghi’s little brother and his convocation of Eagles are already circling over the stadium looking for their red and black prey, while Montella is leaving his star players on the training table in search of a starting eleven that can survive this match. It is wilderness survival time for Milan.
|A harsh wilderness awaits Milan|
Lazio sit in fourth place, three points and three positions ahead of Milan on the table, but have had some hiccups in form lately. Their current run of form in Serie A is W-W-L-L-W, with losses to Juve and Chievo in January. So they are beatable. But last week, they pummeled Pescara 6-2 away, so I can’t imagine what they could do to our wounded team in their house. Marco Parolo, who claims he is a lifelong Milanista, scored four against Oddo’s Dolphins, so don’t expect any favors on the pitch.
For that fateful slaying of the Delfini, Simone Inzaghi lined up Marchetti; Hoedt, de Vrij, Lukaku, Basta, Biglia, Milinkovic-Savic, Parolo, Immobile, Keita Balde, and Anderson. Lazio are at nearly 100 per cent strength, only missing forward Lombardi to injury. And they are at home at the Olimpico, a fortress that few teams come out alive from. It’s a very harsh wilderness.
|His supposed love for Milan won't stop him from doing the same to us if we let him|
Milan have a defensive injury crisis of biblical proportions. In fact, it is so desperate, Galliani courted free agent Martin Caceres after the mercato closed. That is desperate. In addition to the injuries of Bonaventura, De Sciglio, Antonelli, Romagnoli, Calabria, and some guy called Montolivo, Montella will also be missing Paletta and Kucka to suspension. That leaves Abate as our only starter left on defense, with backups and our Tank also missing. Feels kind of like being stranded in the wilderness in your underwear.
However, a lot of Milan fans are optimistic about this match after the Miracle in Bologna™ midweek. Despite starting with three of those players who cannot play on Monday, Milan finished on eight men plus an injured Poli, and still managed to pull off the win. My optimism isn’t nearly as high because we are starting without those three starters and Lazio are in fourth, Bologna were in 13th. But with the level of grinta our boys showed on Wednesday, in my heart I do believe that anything is possible.
|Our last man standing in our starting defense. Will he be enough to inspire a clean sheet or even a win?|
However it will be a showdown between Milan’s men and Lazio’s predators in the harsh elements at the Olimpico, including the ferocious Lazio faithful. Lazio have every advantage but one: the Milan crest. That crest inspired our boys to victory against all odds on Wednesday. And if they’ve got anything left after that showdown, then Lazio should be worried. For fans, it will be like watching someone stranded in the wilderness, though. And only at the whistle at 90 minutes will we know if Milan have survived to continue their fight back to a European spot.
This post inspired by the music of Siouxsie & the Banshees
Lazio vs. Milan
Monday, February 13 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)
This match will be shown LIVE on RAI and BeIN Sports in the U.S.