Juventus-Milan Preview: Valeri's Choice

For a matchup that has a history of massive referee blunders, mostly going Juventus' way, you would think that the Italian Referee Association (AIA) would carefully choose a referee who appeared to be somewhat unbiased. But no. Rizzoli assigned Valeri to this match, whose history with Juventus is virtually unblemished, and whose history (even recent history) with Milan is just terrible. Normally, I would like to think that either team could win this match, but it seems a foregone conclusion now that it will actually be Valeri's choice.

This just doesn't end well

Juventus didn't win the Scudetto this year. They may not even finish in a Champions League spot. And Juventus directors, one of whom invaded the pitch on Sunday to harass the referee, got absolutely no punishment. None. That is not the first time, either. Paratici and Nedved have been sanctioned for screaming and harassing and even threatening the refs this season a few times, but most of the time there has been no punishment. And then coincidentally, a ref with a history of favorable calls for them is assigned? I have tried long and hard for years to dispel any conspiracy theories about referee favoritism for Juventus, but I am out of excuses. This referee assignment is a kick in the face of calcio. And the game hasn't even been played yet. Look for an official merger between Juve and the AIA soon.

Pirlo deserves to lose this match. After what he has said about Milan after ten glorious years and two Champions League trophies (and more) with the Rossoneri, his words are worse than treason. That's right, he won as many Champions League trophies with Milan as Juventus have won in their entire history. Now tied with Milan and Atalanta on points, Juventus' recent Serie A record is W-L-W-D-W. That last win was against Udinese on Sunday. Had it not been for two late Cristiano Ronaldo goals, it would have been a draw. That is the level they are playing at.

The calm before the abuse

In that match, Pirlo lined up Szczesny; Danilo, de Ligt, Bonucci, Alex Sandro; Cuadrado, Bentancur, McKennie, Bernardeschi; Dybala and Ronaldo. He also reportedly has a full squad for this match,  minus perhaps Demiral, who has fitness concerns. He received a big boost when Chiesa and Morata both returned to training this week, both likely to be available for this match. Plus, obviously Valeri, who is so much more than a twelfth man.

Pioli will also have most of his squad available to travel to Turin. Maldini is still likely to be out, although he is back in training. Castillejo got himself suspended for this match, so Pioli will have a very strong squad. But Pioli does not have the head ref in his corner. Milan have faced a number of very questionable calls this season, but our management does not abuse them. Not even when Valeri sent Ibrahimovic off during the Coppa Italia match against Inter in January. Or when he sent off Donnarumma from the bench last year for saying something that wasn't even that offensive. No complaints.

Everything could be on the line

With so much on the line for both teams, this just makes no sense. Literally, the winner will likely get Champions League and the loser likely won't, amongst other things. It is impossible to imagine a fairly reffed match, and it takes no imagination to guess how this will likely turn out. After the Gol di Muntari, Milan fans have been tormented over and over with referee favoritism for Juventus. I know our guys will give it everything in Turin, but I also know that no matter how well they play, the outcome of the match will be Valeri's choice.

This post inspired by the music of NIN's "Piggy"

Serie A Week 35
Juventus vs. Milan
Sunday, May 9 •  20:45 CEST (2:45pm EDT)
This match can be streamed LIVE on ESPN+ in the U.S.

Juventus-Milan Preview: Valeri's Choice Juventus-Milan Preview: Valeri's Choice Reviewed by Elaine on 11:30 PM Rating: 5
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