Milan v Lecce

Playing a relegation team is never fun, relegation teams are unpredictable, and the closer to the end of the season the more wild they tend to become. Lecce fit’s fits this bill, second from bottom, winless in their last five, two wins away from home all season, this game looks like a sure thing. Look again, with 24 points three points could see Lecce out of the danger zone, and we can’t forget that they are playing our beloved Rossoneri, who have been the pillar of inconsistent and sporadic play all season long.

I find it funny that even as I try and consider Carletto’s lineup, I know that the inconsistency rests solely in the players. If Seedorf plays will he remember how to pass? If Ronaldinho plays will he remember how to run? Which Pato will we get, electric or static? It is a big game of ifs, and as the points become more important and the chances for them get slimmer, it is imperative that whoever is out there is hungry and up for the game. Bottom line is if Emerson looks like a cage rabid animal in Saturday training, then by all means put the man on the pitch, it doesn’t even matter who plays anymore and who doesn’t, this team needs to start maximizing points and assure CL qualifications and at worst a third place finish.

Now I wasn’t exaggerating about Emerson, if the man is hungry then play him, but his hunger seems to have dissipated years ago, but that is the besides the point. Carletto will need to field a solid 11 for this match and needs to take into consideration that Lecce will clog the box and counter like all similar Serie A clubs at the San Siro. That means pace is a must up front and the return of Kaka should help that out a bit, expect Pato to feature as well, and if the past few games have been an indicator I would expect Pippo to play as well. However, I couldn’t argue if Sheva got a run out, even 45 minutes is OK with me. Start Pippo and if he doesn’t find the net send Sheva in right after!? For all the grief we put this guy through he did score midweek against England, and has really been a model citizen since returning to Milan, he has taken all this in stride, and even had the humility to say that he wasn’t playing for Milan and maybe even didn’t deserve a call up for Ukraine, imagine that! The guy is Ukrainian soccer, and he is willing to sit so an active player can go ahead of him, have to respect that.

I would also expect to see Becks and Pirlo in the midfield, and would prefer Flamini to Seedorf a few times over. Flamini has been excellent as of late and there no reason why his hot streak cannot continue. Seedorf’s touch was horrific last time on the pitch and it shouldn’t be rewarded with a start yet again. Defensively the stalwarts of Janks, Zambro, and Paolo are expected, and if fit I wouldn’t mind Bonera, or even Senderos who made small, very small, strides against Napoli. As always strike early, strike often and send this team packing before the end of the half. With Chievo next, who is on tear and shouldn’t be treated lightly, and Torino, Milan need to get in the right mind set to tackle these bottom half teams and prepare themselves for a difficult month of May.

Few odds and ends to finish out…

-Have to say I was extremely surprised with the sentiment on the last post regarding Ronaldinho leaving. I thought I was alone with a little bit of support, but even the Dinho campers seem to have given up. With every match that passes he looks more and more like a player who has lost it, shame really.

-Ivanovic started at RB for Chelsea in the absence of Jose Bosingwa, sure it was against Newcastle, but I was impressed. Good press forward, good pressure and cover, and comfortable on the ball. He was no marauding FB, but his ability to play inside or out, and the fact that he knows how to defend is surely an upgrade over some of Milan’s current defensive gems, ie Favalli and Senderos!

-Dunga was critical of Milan and Carlo Ancellotti, Carletto shot right back saying that other NT coaches ring him to talk about players and Dunga has not, therefore he shouldn’t air dirty laundry like that. In the same period Kaka has claimed his injury was handled poorly at Milan, while he showed signs of quick recovery in the Brazil camp. A lot of he said she said here, and obviously I am going to take Milan’s side, but their injury ward has been far from stellar, and Dunga’s track record of returning finely tuned fit footballers is not so hot either, but a crack in the apparent love affair of Milan and the Selecao may finally be the wakeup call needed to get some young Italian players onto this squad and start the rebuilding process of Milan with a blue shade instead of a yellow one.

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