To be brutally honest I am not looking forward to this game at all. All signs point to Sampdoria winning this game easily. They are regaining form, climbing up the table to the coveted fourth spot, and firing on all cylinders, with Cassano coming back to life and the emergence of the 22 year old maestro in the making, Poli. Milan on the other hand are not in form, decimated by injury, and lacking any real direction tactically, and to the naked would seem "ripe for the taking." To make matters worse these two matches, first Sampdoria and then Palermo, both away in unfriendly confines, against near table opponents can prove to be a certain challenge.
As has been the case for much of this season Leo will not have the full squad at his disposal, and this is the proposed eleven at the moment:
Dida; Abate, Thiago Silva, Kaladze, Zambrotta; Gattuso, Ambrosini, Seedorf, Huntelaar, Borriello, Ronaldinho
The most alarming inclusion is Kaladze who has fallen out of favor with Leo and the team. Playing an individual whose heart is clearly elsewhere is not in our best interest as shown with a disinterested Janks a few matches back. I am sure Leo can find a better replacement for Favalli, if he is not cleared fit, and maybe Albertazzi does get finally get a crack!? Zambro is also a bit of a shocker, and I don’t know what the word is on Antonini, and until the squad list comes out this one is up for debate. Seedorf will fill the shoes of the suspended Pirlo, and will most likely be flanked by Ambro and Gattuso. Rino should be fresh, but Ambrosini worked very hard last week and as the season wanes he may fade in terms of fitness and stamina. What is more alarming is the lack of a real backup for either Rino or Ambro should the unthinkable occur, again it appears Leo may be dip down into the Primavera out of necessity!
Upfront, Borriello is coming of a brace and a solid second half against Catania, hopefully he starts this match how he ended the last one. If he comes out flat in the first 45 Milan may struggle against a team that can attack. Ronaldinho will want to improve from last week’s performance and as strange as it sounds, back to basic simple one-two passing may be the key being “dangerous” again. Defenders are swarming immediatly so playing one touch to a wingback or striker and continuing his run, instead of waiting for a whistle, may be just what he needs to find some form for the home stretch. Leo may in fact opt to go with KJH again wide right despite little or nothing from the Dutchmen in the last match, at this point his inclusion is analogous to playing with a man down! If ever a match called for Zigoni, this HAS TO BE IT! The kid can get a run out alongside Borri, and if he stinks up the joint Pippo can come out at half time and hopefully operate as effectively as he did last week alongside Borri. If Pippo could give 90 he would have to start, but he can’t, so there is no reason why Zigoni can’t offer more than the phantom Dutchmen!
5 games left and none of them easy…scudetto hopes drained, second place a distant memory, and third place precariously slipping away… let me remind you this is Post-Maldini Milan…and we may have to get used to it!