Genoa-Milan Preview: For the Love of Sheva

Anyone who remembers Shevchenko when he played for Milan knows that he is not only considered a legend, but also beloved by Milan fans. His penalty kick to win our 2003 Champions League trophy against Juventus was one of the sweetest moments in Milan's storied history. But on Wednesday, he is on the opposite bench as Genoa's new manager, and thus the enemy. While it can be difficult to face a Milan legend, we have already done so with others.  This time, more than ever, we need the win to stop hemorrhaging goals and points. And Sheva is a fierce competitor anyway, as much as he also needs his first win as a Serie A coach, he would never want us to be anything less than our best. So Milan need to win this one for the love of Sheva.

We still love you Sheva, that's why we need to win this one

With Genoa languishing once again in the relegation zone, the new American owners sacked Ballardini and hired Shevchenko over the international break. In his two matches in charge, Sheva's Genoa lost 2-0 to Roma and drew on Sunday to Udinese. For that match, he lined up Sirigu; Biraschi, Masiello, Vásquez; Sabelli, Sturaro, Badelj, Rovella, Cambiaso; Ekuban, and Bianchi. He has injury headaches that are comparable to or worse than Milan going into this match. He will be missing Criscito, Cassata, Caicedo, and Maksimovic. Fares and Kallon are both mending from muscle injuries and are still in doubt as of this writing. Also in doubt is ex-Milan player and Genoa's star striker this season, Mattia Destro, who has scored six goals this season.

On paper, Milan absolutely have the edge in this match. However, due to a long string of injuries of our own, as well as physical and mental fatigue from playing every three days all season, Pioli's squad is particularly vulnerable. Having conceded seven goals in the last two league matches, and losing both of those games despite having a 12 match unbeaten streak, Sheva's side face us at a great time to take advantage of our weaknesses.

Can Tomori bring back the intensity and the security?

For this match, as of this writing, Pioli is missing Romagnoli to suspension. The injured players who will miss this match are Rebić, Plizzari, Calabria, and Giroud, with Castillejo still very unlikely to be available as well. Tomori did train with the team on Monday, which is fantastic news for both Pioli and for Milan. However, even his superhuman defending abilities as well as the second match back for the much-missed Maignan may not be enough to overcome the ridiculous errors Milan players have been making lately. 

Milan are playing away at the intimidating Stadio Luigi Ferraris, and also, Genoa did not play midweek last week. But Pioli has a far superior team in terms of quality and has consistency on his side since he is in his third season coaching Milan, whereas Shevchenko is only in his third match coaching Genoa. Pioli may have his slightly shorter doppleganger in Murelli, but Sheva has one of Milan's greatest assistant coaches ever in Tassotti. Like Maldini said, he supports Shevchenko and has many fond memories of playing alongside him, but even at table tennis, he wants to win against his own brother. There will be no favoritism shown, even if there is a whole lotta love.

Can our battle-weary players get the win?

The last two games have been so painful. Milan are playing two teams in the bottom three this week, and desperately need all six points from those matches to get our mentality back. However, those teams are the most desperate for points, and can be the most dangerous, as well. Let's hope that Pioli is able to find the balance of rotation of players and bringing the mentality back. As much as Shevchenko would want to win, I am sure he would also not like Milan to lose, either. Milan need to win this one for the love of Sheva.

This post inspired by the music of Alanis Morrisette's "You Oughta Know"

Serie A Week 15
Genoa vs. Milan
Wednesday, December 1 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)
This match can be streamed LIVE on Paramount+ in the U.S.

Genoa-Milan Preview: For the Love of Sheva Genoa-Milan Preview: For the Love of Sheva Reviewed by Elaine on 2:00 AM Rating: 5
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