It was Sunday November 30, 2008. I had just arrived in Mexico the previous day for what was supposed to be a week of mojitos, cervezas and my ever favorite carnitas burrito. As I lounged all morning at the pool waiting for Milan’s match with Palermo to begin, knowing I could watch the game in a beachside bar making it all the more inviting. Instead, I was treated to what was arguably Milan's most lackadaisical and lazy performance of the season. Dinho missed a PK in the 27th minute, and with a nil-nil draw at halftime Milan proceeded to implode against a Palermo side that seemed to snap to attention and dominate proceedings with Miccoli, Cavani, and Simplicio netting goals, and Dinho with a consolation PK in the end. On that day I began a festering annoyance with Ronaldinho that I admit has yet to remedy itself or really go away, and a sour start to my well deserved vacation.
Palermo is the epitome of team that simply lacks consistency, which makes a game against them all the more difficult. With wins against Roma(I can never keep those Roma blogs straight anymore!), Genoa and Milan, draws against Inter, and drubbings against the likes of Catania, it leaves you to wonder how this team really operates. Being away from home should be a plus for the Rossoneri, but with danger man Miccoli seeming to strike whenever he decides to, three points here cannot be assumed. This is also a good chance to take a look at highly rated Kjear in the Palermo backline, but we can not be enamored because Cavani cannot be forgotten in the attack because he can be very dangerous. Find comfort in the fact that Milan has been strong at home this season, and exacting a bit of revenge from the drubbing in November should be a top priority.
Carletto would do well to employ the same formation as last week, but leaving Flamini as the odd man out. Based on his performance last week I am wondering how you can leave the Frenchman on the bench and I am sure no one would argue with Carletto if he slots Flamini back in at RB. The main problem resting with the willingness of Flamini to do so, he has said in the past he does not prefer the defensive position, but he needs to get his priorities straightened up. First team football, or subs role, the other option is to replace Ambrosini with Flamini, but with both players having excellent games last week it is tough to make either decision. The comforting fact is that we can probably all agree that Carletto’s choice will be OK in either aspect.
The never ending debate regarding Ronaldinho will most likely start again, but after last week’s match that saw him subbed in, I don’t see any argument that a start for him is necessary in this match. Quite frankly considering his last performance against Palermo, I would say a bench role is A-OK. That leaves Carletto with Seedorf, Sheva, Dinho, and potentially Flamini on the bench meaning he can dictate and counter the flow of the match based on his substitutions in certain scenarios. A lead may see Flamini in place of Becks, while a draw could throw Dinho into the mix. If applied these players could make the team and game more dynamic, and finally afford Carletto some flexibility in his decisions and choices.
With the assault and full capture of second place a very real possibility this weekend, Milan would do quite well to win their fourth in a row and keep pressure and momentum in their favor. Pippo has had a good run of form and Palermo will have their hands full with him, but they can’t forget Pato and Kaka who can turn a game with a simple carving run. As always no prediction, but this little uptick in form has left me in an optimistic mood for the remainder of this season as well as the following one.