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Cesena v Milan

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On Saturday the big focus on everyone’s mind will be the starting lineup for AC Milan. Will it or won’t it include all four attacking players in the winning eleven? Cesena is probably relishing the distraction, and to be rather matter of fact we should be less concerned about who plays and more concerned about finding a way to beat a team that could potentially pose a big problem for AC Milan. Last week against Roma, Cesena proved a rather tough nut to crack. Roman fans will blame their lack of finishing for the nil-nil draw, but Cesena’s organization, solid play in the midfield, and the ability to counter with pace are all issues that have plagued Milan in the past and again must cope with in order to get three points out of the trip to Emilia Romagna.

These three points are far more important than just the table. These three points actually prove Milan’s match against Lecce was in fact a true representation of AC Milan 2010-2011, instead of a good game against a mediocre opponent. Three points also justify the purchases of Zlatan and Robinho! Imagine for a moment if Milan goes impotent on the attack and don’t score while KJH and Borriello bury goals for their respective teams!? Not exactly a good omen. To make matters worse Milan’s record against newly promoted teams last season was poor, out of a possible 18 points against Parma, Bari, and Livorno; Milan were only able to earn 9! A loss to Parma and two draws with Livorno are to blame, but the fact that 9 points were dropped in matches in which good efficient teams should win, says a lot. Yes it is a new season, new coach, and new players, but again, not exactly a good omen!

Allegri has not bowed down the pressure of the Milan brass, fans or the media and seems to be keen on starting Robinho on the bench. This is smart for balance in the match at hand, but also intelligent because of the upcoming CL match against Auxerre. Both matches are win-able, but planning for both and making sure the team is fresh and ready to perform is a must. Alessandro Nesta will be rested as a precautionary measure and Sokratis looks to have earned his first start for the Rossoneri. With that said the lineup appears close to last week’s with Zlatan filling at CF and Ambrosini being partnered in the midfield by either KPB or Rino due to the fact that both Seedorf and Flamini are nursing minor injuries. It would probably be prudent for Allegri to rest Zambro as well for the CL match, but the current lineup will most likely look like this:

Abbiati, Antonini, Silva, Sokratis, Zambro, KPB, Pirlo, Ambro, Dinho, Zlatan, Pato

By choosing this lineup it gives him an opportunity to rest Dinho or Pato in favor of Robinho, and even potentially throw Abate into the mix at RB or midfield to get players a breather for Wednesday. The hype surrounding the team has been ridiculous and it is actually shaping up as a good test for Allegri and how he handles all aspects of his first “busy” week as the manager of AC Milan. In fact all the hype even got former manager Arrigo Sacchi to comment on the current state of Milan, and his feelings towards the new signings. While his view was not exactly favorable and he feels as though success is not as sure as we all hope it will be, it will be interesting if the legend is proven wrong. His claim is that Milan will struggle to be a cohesive unit; I wonder what Mr. Sacchi will say about Milan’s pursuit of Balotelli

Either way this season is shaping up to be more excitement and entertaining than any of us could have ever imagined, now let’s just hope we have some success to match. Let’s get the three points and keep the good times rolling, every win now is chance to make sure we are not crying about dropped points later.