Five Finals

Five games left. Well, for Inter, there are six. If they win them all, then that is it. With a completely healthy squad and refs who give them favorable calls, that is entirely possible. In February and early March, no one would have thought that was possible, as they could not score or win to save their lives. But here we are. Meanwhile,  Milan have made a few costly errors, too. But when you miss an average of 7.8 players for 20 matches (that's half the season,) and referees steal points from you and are suspended, thinking about how this might end is too painful. It would be nice to say that we have to win them all, no chance for error. But even if Milan do that, we will likely still be robbed, just like in the Coppa match from the other day. Because there are also still five sets of referees. For our five finals.

Focused on the last five matches

5) Lazio vs. Milan

Sunday we face Lazio in the capital, and we know the date, the time, and the referee: Guida, with Orsato on VAR. Sarri had a flu outbreak on his hands this week, but of course, they have all recovered, and we will be missing more players than Lazio. They also probably still want to wreak revenge on us for our 2-0 win over them in September.

4) Milan vs. Fiorentina

Italiano's Fiorentina are in good form and fighting to stay in the top six. We still don't have a date or a time, let alone a referee for this match, because Italy. But given that the most egregious ref errors against Milan have all happened in home matches, you can put money on something happening here. Plus, they did score four against us and take all three points in November. 
UPDATE: Milan-Fiorentina will be Sunday, May 1 • 15:00 CEST (9am EDT)

3) Verona vs. Milan

Verona currently sit in 9th place and Tudor's side have been inconsistent, but did beat Juve, Roma, and Lazio earlier in the season and had us pinned down 2-0 at home before we came back and beat them 3-2 in October. Plus, the Bentegodi is an intimidating place to play.
UPDATE: Verona-Milan will be Sunday, May 8 • 20:45 CEST (2:45pm EDT)

2) Milan vs. Atalanta

Atalanta are desperate, having a meltdown of epic proportions right now and looking to miss out on Europe for the first time in years. I don't expect Gasperini to take that lying down, and given this will be the penultimate match, he will do everything he can to win. Plus, it's a home game, and the whole referee thing. But if we can play like we did against them in our first fixture, we have a chance.
UPDATE: Milan-Atalanta will be Sunday, May 15 • 18:00 CEST (12noon EDT)

1) Sassuolo vs. Milan

This one is entirely unpredictable. Sassuolo are often our Kryptonite team, Berardi in particular. We lost 3-1 at home to them in November, but there were a lot of extenuating factors in that match, too, such as Bakayoko starting, Romagnoli scoring for us, and ending with us on 10 men. Who knows if it will even matter by then, because four other referees will have had their way with us before this one.

We somehow won that match, but he was still suspended

I have never been a referee hater. I have always defended them and the fact that calls even out throughout the season. That egregious errors are rare and they happen to every team. But this year is different. They haven't happened to every team. They aren't evening out. Not every team has had multiple referees suspended with a pathetic "sorry" from the AIA, and the points remaining the same. Or worse still, the AIA doubling down and backing their refs when all evidence shows they were wrong. 

I have never been a conspiracy theorist, either, but after Calciopoli, I am not naive, either. Isn't it strange how in the capital gains investigations, all 11 clubs charged got off completely free? I mean we are talking major financial corruption, and they all just walked away. Even more suspicious, Inter, of wiretapping and no-charges in Calciopoli fame, (though they were later determined to be the most guilty of trying to influence the refs) are the only club investigated who were not even charged? In a season where they have had multiple favorable calls go their way that ended in three point victories, and their closest rivals, Milan, have had eight points stolen from them in four games? With Milan being the only big club not involved in the capital gains case? Isn't anyone else the slightest bit suspicious about this?

Why should they choose who wins the Scudetto? Or are they being paid/bribed/coerced?

Milan have five finals left. I believe in them. I believe in their heart and their grinta. They have fought so hard against insurmountable odds. With a squad with an €80m/year wage bill, to be ahead of Inter, who has a €140m/year wage bill and has had so incredibly few injuries in comparison, let alone the opposite in ref calls, what this team has done is truly miraculous. Scudetto or no, I will be so proud of them. But if we miss out on the Scudetto, it really does feel like we will have been robbed. I mean on paper, we really have been. It is unfortunate to think that a whistle, some cards, and a VAR screen are what stand between us and a trophy. Worse still, that the trophy will be handed to our bitter rivals, who went five weeks without even scoring and were handed several games by those same refs. Still, I believe that we should keep our heads high and give everything we have for these five finals.

This post inspired by the music of The Sundays' "Here's Where the Story Ends"

Our next match is
Serie A Week 34
Lazio vs. Milan
Sunday, April 24 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EDT)

Five Finals Five Finals Reviewed by Elaine on 9:30 AM Rating: 5
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