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Bari v Milan

Despite being held to a nil-nil draw at the San Siro, Milan's trip to Bari last season was a solid two goal win. Borriello and Pato were on the score sheet and Milan did well to reverse the stifling draw at home and hold a very dangerous Baretto goal-less. This however is a completely different team and Bari is no longer the new kid on the block and being bottom table means Milan must get a positive result to correct last week's loss, but to continue to build momentum from a passionate midweek match against Madrid. Simply put there is no reason why this game should not be an outright clean victory, but when of late has Milan from management to the players, ever done the simple thing?

It is no surprise Bari will deploy a standard defensive minded 4-4-2, so Allegri would do well to counter numbers in the midfield with a 4-3-1-2 instead of the 4-3-3, which I hope is near to extinction at this point. By adding in the CAM, or even choosing a more standard 4 man midfield, it will allow Milan to match the numbers game and create tight passing triangles in effort to break down the stout defensive shape that Bari will most likely present. This however, should also be a match in which Allegri should be able to go to a player like Pippo not just because of his midweek performance but because the demands of the match will be easier for him to handle. In the same vain playing Abate at RB, or resting Nesta in defense should also be considered. I am going to stop hoping for the sight of players like Strasser, but with Prince suspended, and the potential for a standard 4-4-2, this is as good a match as ever to get a player like that some minutes.

The most likely outcome however will be a 4-3-1-2, with Abbiati, Abate, Silva, Sokratis, Antonini, Ambro, Pirlo, Rino, Binho, Zlatan, Pippo. Nesta needs a break, and this is as good a time as ever, I have given up on Gooch, I wish Allegri would do the same on Sokratis and just play Yepes. Ambro could use a match like this to find some form, and while Rino will probably need to come off around the 60th minute, his intensity as of late is too important to leave on the bench. The biggest questions are in the attack with Zlatan coming out and speaking the truth, rightfully so, about the stifling partnership he has with Pato but more importantly Ronaldinho. The danger of Zlatan is his ability to pop in various stages of the attacking third in and around the 18 yard box, with three strikers this becomes impossible. I have a feeling given the freedom to roam he and Pato would have a bountiful goal tally, but it needs to be done and soon so they can start working together and off each other. Pato's form of late has been awful, so let Pippo get his chance, he has certainly earned it. I also don't mind playing Robinho in behind them, but he will have to be on notice to work on the defensive side of the ball to make sure not to slow down any counters, which will most likely be Bari's only method of attack. If he can even give a an average defensive performance it will be miles better than the zero defensive performances of the player(s) before him.

I still can't help but feel a back to basics, well organized, compact, possession minded 4-4-2 would be the better option in a match like this, but again it is unlikely. So simply put everyone stepping on the field needs to match the intensity and passion that Pippo and Rino have reminded us all about this week. If Milan can do that they should win this match by three goals and start pointing this team in the right direction for the Derby!