It was this morning that I have finally resigned myself to the fact that Inter’s lead has in fact become insurmountable. For what seems like the infinite season that Millan has yet again been knocked out of scudetto contention this early in the season. Sure there is plenty to go, and the lead is eleven points, but this is a different Inter, this is Mourinho’s Inter, and they don’t look all that collapsable anymore.
So as Milan prepares to take on Cagliari, it leaves us with new goals on the season.
Fourth place and a CL spot is now an ABSOLUTE MUST, and the integration and preparation of new defenders must also become a goal as we prepare for next season. The problem with a fourth place finish is that fact that nothing can be taken for granted in the Serie A. Sure Inter could lose the lead, but it is more likely that Milan will be clawing tooth and nail with Juventus, Genoa, Fiorentina, and Napoli for the fourth and final spot. There are no easy games in Serie A, and with each and every team capable of playing defense and striking on the Milan killing counter, the Rossoneri will have to remain focused against every team they play.
Cagliari is one such example of team who is well organized, capable of defending, and can strike on the counter. Allegri has Cagliari in seventh spot on the table, and it is not because of flashy play, it is because this team has given fits to all clubs, and has won four out of the last five. The one thing Milan has going for it is that this match will be at home, where Milan has been far more successful than past campaigns.
The Channel 4 projected lineup is as follows, and if Dinho can make the fitness grade then he must play, but if not then Carletto can finally shake the XMAS tree schackles and play something a bit different.
Abbiati; Zambrotta, Bonera, Maldini, Jankulovski; Beckham, Pirlo, Ambrosini; Seedorf, Ronaldinho; Pato
With no Dinho on board then this is the smartest formation, I would give Pirlo a rest in favor of Flamini and I would move Becks up a spot and Seedorf into the middle where Pirlo once stood, to rest Pirlo but also to play a bit like Milan did earlier in the season when Pirlo was out. The free flowing fantasista has not been the same since his return and he may need some time to recover and refind his form. If Dinho is not around then Carletto can role out a combo of Pato and Pippo with Seedorf or Pirlo behind them in a more attacking role and then have a mid line of Becks, Flamini, and Ambro.
I am almost not adverse to the inclusion of one youngster into the winning eleven in each and every match. So Darmian, Antonini, Cardaccio, and Viudez could be given one match at a time or at least 25 minutes as a time as they are slowly integrated and given solid match time as the season wears on. Granted I would like these guys to play in low pressure situations, but the fact of the matter is that Milan doesn’t really have any more low pressure situations. Give them time, one at a time, see what they can do, and if not part ways and find some more!
To lighten the mood a bit, Avia, our newest Milan Offside Paparazzi pundit has send over some videos of his trip to Ibrox. Special thanks to Fetyani, the media guru, for making these videos blog friendly.