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A Scary Opponent

I will be honest; Brescia scares the crap out of me. I know you look at them fourth from bottom on the table with only a handful of points and you ask where does this fear come from, it seems a bit unwarranted considering they haven’t even earned a point in the last four mathes but if you look at their fixture list it tells a bit of a different story. Three wins: Palermo, Roma, and Chievo and two draws, Juventus and Inter, that’s all I need to, know that this game is going to be far more difficult than it would appear.

Every season or two in almost every league there is team who is mired in a relegation dog fight but finds a way to bring their A-Game against the big boys, and this year it looks like Brescia. It doesn’t help that they also like to defend deep and counter, a Milan kryptonite, while having the players in Carraciolo and Diamanti to change a game rather quickly. Thankfully they lack much else in the sense of game breakers and the new found balance in Allegri’s formation should avoid any major counter attack catastrophes. But this game should not be taken lightly and after countless of weeks of waiting for Pirlo to be fit and try the CAM role on for size, I may finally get my wish.

pirlobr1It will be fitting because of Pirlo’s connections to Brescia, but also because it will give him a chance to operate with a reasonable amount of space and time, two things crucial to him regaining some sense of match form and fitness. I have little doubt about his function in an advanced role, but my newest apprehension is based on his propensity to sit deeper than Clarence and therefore force Zlatan and Robinho to check deeper, or leave a large gap between him and strikers for Brescia to operate him. Both problems are easy to handle, but the cornerstone of this rebirth of Milan has been a compact and balanced formation and anything that jeopardizes that is better off parked on the bench.

It also helps that the team has only conceded one goal in the last four matches, in all competitions, and that strong defense has helped mask the fact that the strikers are not finishing their chances as readily as they are given to them. This makes me chuckle because our new summer signed strike force was going to assure clinical finishing, when it has in fact been the defense and strong midfield that has been the key to victories. The chances have been there, which means it is only a matter of time before a flood of goals, but the question is simply when. Seedorf, Zlatan and Binho were all guilty last week against Samp, and you figure eventually these chances will find the back of the net.

With an entire week free of matches the players have received a well needed rest and Allegri can send his strong squad forward. I would expect:

Abbiati; Abate, Silva, Nesta, Antonini; Ambro, Rino, Flamini; Pirlo; Binho, Zlatan

Granted I expected this lineup last week as well, but this week looks more like reality. There is a chance Yepes plays for Nesta and Zambro for Antonini, but getting Antonini back match fit is important because playing Bonera has been a recipe for disaster no matter the match. I am really hoping to see Pirlo in the CAM role and this is really the perfect match for it and letting Binho and Zlatan run wild yet again will only continue to forge their partnership further. Have to wonder if Pato will be able to duplicate what Binho is doing with the Big Swede when he gets fit??