Couldn’t have drawn Chievo at a worse time. Five game unbeaten run, a win in Rome at Lazio (never an easy task), a huge draw with Juventus, one would think beating Milan probably doesn’t seem all that hard now does it? The upcoming games against Chievo, Torino, Palermo and Catania are pivotal for Milan as they go into their last games of the season against stout competition of Udinese, Juventus, Roma, and Fiorentina. With the possibility of a very pedestrian four points from the those matches total, the Rossoneri have to assure 3 points in each of the next few games and give themselves a shot at stealing second place from Juventus when the two squads meet at the San Siro. As always best to take care of the game right in front of you and Chievo will not be easy. Pellissier looked game against Juventus, and his three goals were all solid finishes, but the more alarming fact of the matter is that Chievo controlled the tempo of the match for long stretches and give Juventus very little room to play their game, quite frankly it is a much different Chievo team stylistically and far more organized than their visit to the San Siro.
From all accounts of the Lecce match, Ronaldinho should get the start. I have been harsh very often this season, but it was even odder to see some of you be critical in what I considered one of his more solid games. Passes were still erratic, but pace and tempo were there and for once it seemed he found a groove with his teammates specifically Shevchenko on the great link up to Pippo’s goal. What I found most alarming though is that Dinho didn’t pick it up until Kaka was off the pitch, again leaving me to wonder if these can guys can play together at all and find comfort. Many of us have quickly forgotten that Dinho’s early run of success happened without Kaka on the pitch as well. I can’t fault Carletto for gambling on one or the other, but the caveat for me would be to play either one behind Pato and Sheva. Pippo had his limelight against Siena and it was great, but has done very little since, Sheva showed some pace this weekend and may be worth the inclusion if just to shake things up on DiCarlo’s boys come the weekend. If starting is based on past match performances than it only be fair that Dinho and Sheva get the nod.
In that same vain Flamini keeps the them going, but hopefully on the left this time with Pirlo and Beckham. Beckham was given what I can only imagine was a very well needed breather after travel and international duty. It is too bad Kaka was not given the same consideration. Seedorf who continues to struggle with consistency throughout the match should sit as well, but I think he can be helpful in the later stages of the game to add a possession dimension if Milan is holding a lead. He has always been a loyal servant to the club, and needs to be put into positions where he can utilize his strength on the ball and the ability to dictated tempo. When Milan were most dangerous in 07 and at times last season as well, were plays where Pirlo, Seedorf, and Kaka were involved either together or in pairs to create scoring chances, and there is no reason why that can’t continue to happen but with a more possession oriented outcome.
The biggest concern for the Rossoneri going into this match is the defense. The potential for a Senderos Favalli pairing is very real, and considering their lack of past history it is a bit alarming. Not sure exactly if Maldini is injured, being rested, or unavailable but our CB injuries this season have been a absurd. To compound matters Dida is between the pipes so we went from a fairly continuous Abbiati, Favalli, Maldini trio, to a fully new Dida, Favalli, Senderos group. Considering the names Milan has had in the past in that trio, the fact that our starting combo may be those three is terrifying and fully displays the sheer awfulness that our defensive transfer policy has become. Hopefully a young Italian and Tiago Silva will solve that problem going forward, but it doesn’t help the fact the we still need to get through eight more matches.
I can recall last year as we had eeked back into the fourth spot that things looked positive, but it all came tumbling down. We cannot suffer the same fate, and the potential twelve point momentum from the next four matches would be key in keeping the assault on Juventus and comfort in third place. With the news of Carletto possibly being Chelsea bound today hitting all the major sites, not just the tabloid rags, one would have to think that he would want to leave on a positive note if in fact the rumors are true. One would also have to believe that the players would want to send their old pal out with a good season, albeit trophy-less, but a good season nonetheless. Many of your wishes have come true with this news, but for me it is bittersweet. I like Carletto and quite frankly I can’t fault a guy for leaving when his management, Fester and Berlu, rarely addresses his concerns or purchase. If Chelsea give him a shot to build his club, and he succeeds, he will cement his legacy as one of the best, and another Italian goes to England and teaches those pompous prats how to play proper “Italian” football. If he stays, this little rumor can possibly give him some leverage with the brass and he can say, "I will go if you don’t get me the players I want", either way I think Carletto wins, it is the tifosi that may nor may not win on this deal. We will talk more at length about summer plans, but I guess we wait and see until more news materializes. Focus on the games and the return to the CL, the rest will have to sort itself out.