In a few days Milan will welcome Napoli to the San Siro, and as comforting as it is knowing Palermo will be welcoming our friends, Inter, it is of the utmost that Milan take care of business before even considering Saturday’s result. Yes I admit this is challenging when Inter plays one day ahead of the Rossoneri, but the point of the matter is that a team can’t bank on another team’s results, they have to take care of their business first and being one point behind Inter in the title race does not yield an exemption from this classic sporting adage.
Napoli is a funny opponent, on a good day they can push Inter to the brink, on a bad day they can be flat out bad. Milan went to the San Paolo earlier in the year and could have bagged a two-nil win, instead all they got was a point as Napoli never quit and broke even in stoppage time. If Milan start with the same fire as the last match it is one thing, but the idea this match is to finish, two ways! The ball in the goal being the first, and the lead with the final whistle being the second, and yes it is alarming that out strikers have not found the net in what seems like eons, but this drought can’t last forever, and here’s hoping it ends this weekend with a flurry.
More alarming than the crisis in front of goal, is the crisis in the backline. At this point Tiago Silva remains the only defender fully fit, with Abate and Antonini being close, and Favalli or Kaladze looking to be the CB partner. Kaladze, as well as Janks, have had on and off falling outs with the Club and neither will most likely be part of match plans unless it is an absolute necessity. I wouldn’t argue with Janks and Oddo getting the start on the wings if Ants and Abate are not ready, but it may be suicide in the pace department. Playing Oddo and Janks over others leads me to small tangent, if I may digress, why is it in Italy the first man off the bench is a “veteran” while in the EPL they turn to a youngster? Sure it may have something to do with the pace of the game and style of play, but Arsene Wenger doesn’t go find a dinosaur to play the wing if Clichy or Sagna are hurt, instead he turns to pacey youngster like Gibbs! I don’t think anyone would argue with Leo if he gave De Vito a run out, but why is it not even an option? If you are going to lose out either way, why not give the kid some minutes? OK end of rant.
So if Leo can overcome the skeletal backline, a problem that will never go away if not addressed, then this game should be no problem right? I do not envy Leo, or his decisions, but if he can put together a solid and balanced 4-3-3, and the team actually comes to play, instead of kicking the ball around the center line, then this match could tip in our favor, and in turn keep the pressure on our pals. They wanted to come and gloat about their CL win, no problem, I will even congratulate them on their match, but they should hold the gloating a little while longer because this thing isn’t over yet...