Parma sits in thirteenth place in the table, one point behind Milan with only one win in five games, but this not an easy opponent. In case you didn't know, former AC Milan Legend Roberto Donadoni sits on Parma's bench, and while his seat always seems as hot as Max's, an old friend doesn't always mean an easy victory. Last season, in two matches against Parma, Milan scored six and conceded one, but this is a different team, and the results can no longer be assumed.
The last two matches have shown some clarity in terms of tactics and formation and if Max goes back to the 4-3-3, he will require some defensive surety in the midfield because this little nuisance of conceding goals is becoming a problem. DeJong has not exactly provided the galvanizing force many had hoped for, but he still should be given a bit of patience, instead the team as a whole seems to lack the bite on the tackle and the urgency in pressuring the ball they have had in the past. Time often cures all that ails, in terms of team chemistry, but the impatience surrounding the team from management to the Curva, to the blogosphere is a bit absurd. This is a new team, with young players, something many have craved for years. Now they have got their wish yet these same fans are so quick to judge!? I prefer the play to do the talking, and it time it will come good. As for Saturday, I would expect the following:
Abbiati; Abate, Mexes, Acerbi, Antonini; Monty, DeJong, Nocerino; Urby, Robinho, El Sharaawy
The congestion of the fixtures means certain players can use a rest, but the desperate need for results may trump that need. Acerbi can spell Bonera or Mexes, but for all the ill will I have given the Frenchmen he appeared to calm the back line a bit against Cagliari and was a leader at Roma, not sure why he can't do that here. Midfield gets Nocerino back, and while Boateng would be a needed body, he simply doesn't even deserve the bench at this time. Pazzini rests on the front line with Robinho back healthy, and the potential for a very dynamic attacking trident, subbing out Urby on his current work rate and form would be a shame, but it could allow Robinho wide right, and Pazzini back to the middle. I guess you can also play Pato at some point, this would assures that injures himself late in a game that ideally already has Milan winning, instead of a crucial match later in the fixture list. I know it's an awful thought, but one that is far more likely than not, sadly.
Fourth match of a crucial seven game swing...see you Saturday!