I have endlessly jotted down notes for this Derby for a few days, but no matter what I scribble down I still find myself caught in between the voices in my head. Part of me wants to be rational, logical, even cautions about this match. Thanks to the recent run of form I have finally healed from the last derby, but there is always a part of me that never forgets. I want to assume the worst, hope for a draw, or even a solid performance. The problem is this other voice in my head is screaming for revenge, victory, and an ass kicking so epic that it paralyzes our greatest rivals. As I read previews, injury reports, and statistics the tension continues to build the little voice that wants revenge is winning!
What happened in the last game is a thing of the past and if Inter fans want to use it as fuel for the fire then so be it, the mistake is their own. Since that loss Leo and the Rossoneri have re-routed this ship, and to borrow a simple sporting cliché, this is an entirely different team. A new formation, new faces, and a new set of tactics that have seen an outburst of goals in 2010 that has made all of Serie A and Europe take notice. Gone is the calculated, cautious Milan, that absorbed pressure and hoped to counter without a real sense of pace, instead we move forward through the wings, up the middle, and keep defenses honest and opposing attackers off the ball. Slow, aging players are gone, and so are worried and tired faces instead they have been replaced by a smile.
If Inter fans think their captain can bottle up the reborn Ronaldinho, than they are in for a rude awakening. This guy has heated up and the smile says it all, he is enjoying his time on the pitch and while some of us were skeptical he would ever find that smile again, with it came the pace, vision, and venom that made him so special in the first place. It is understatement to say that his performance is pivotal in this match, we know, they know it, and he knows it bur for the first time since he has put on the Rossonero, even I believe he can deliver.
His supporting cast will probably match the one from the weekend, with Becks filling in wide right for an injured Pato. Borriello will once again be the man in the middle and his recent form should give fits to Lucio and the makeshift Inter defense who was barely troubled in the last match. Behind the offensive trio will be Pirlo who has also been awakened from his slumber of poor play to be crucial in the Milan build up. His move in front of the two DM’s was Leo’s latest masterstroke; his passing and movement has made the swith well worth it. Depending on Mourinho’s DM choice, Stankovic?, he will have his hands full in shutting down Pirlo.
Behind Pirlo, my vote is on Ambro and Flamini, but if the Frenchmen can’t recover, than Rino should be ready, but this time with a level head. Ambrosini is well rested and playing like a true Captain, whoever his partner is, there goal is to keep the danger man Wesley Sneijder off the ball so Milan’s attacking prowess can shine through. While Stankovic was a beast in the last match, he didn’t have to worry about Milan attacking, the demoralized squad did little going forward and if he decides he can have the keys to the midfield like he did in the last match, then this team will make him pay.
The biggest worry is the recovery of Alessandro Nesta, as Rino put it so matter of factly just a few days ago, “Nesta is more than just a player.“ He is a leader and a marshal in the back, but even know I can’t help but feel his partnership with Silva has taught the Brazilian more than a thing or two, and that even if Nesta does not reach full fitness by Sunday, Silva will carry the mantle. In the first game Silva looked merely like a child among men, trying to find a place, but his growth is ever apparent and Milito and Co should be worried. On the wings there is a pace that was nowhere to be found in the last Derby and even counter goals are no longer the kryptonite they once were.
Maybe I am being overly optimistic, and maybe the voice of reason should and will shine through before Sunday, but I can’t help but feel a genuine excitement about what this team is capable of and how being within striking distance of the Scudetto has changed their outlook for the good. While I have a fleeting respect for Inter, their Coach, their bloggers and even a handful of their players, I speak for myself, and maybe many tifosi of Serie A, that I am completely sick of these guys winning titles. So if you support Juve, Napoli, Fiorentina, Genoa, or even Roma stand up and help the Rossoneri show these Snakes who the Lions are!
If I find the voice of reason again at some point before Sunday I may together a more rational and cautious post but for the moment all I can think of and hope for is a WIN. FORZA MILAN!!!!