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Derby Preview Part I: Story Lines

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The Inter v Milan Derby is always inherently special, but in six days when the teams take the pitch this one is a step beyond special, this one is going to be epic. It is odd how big rivalry games Stateside like the Yankees and Red Sox or Jets and Patriots take on a mind of their own; the story lines, the media hype, and the implications. For the first time in a long time the Derby has just this sort of incredible atmosphere, so let’s take a look at those story lines.

Controlling your own Destiny…

I believe and feel that the Title rests on this match. The momentum shift is one thing, but an Inter win here will require a flawless performance from Milan to end the season and a bit of help in order to win the Title. Not sure about you but I prefer to have matters in my own hands and not having to rely on others, and maybe it is just me but a trip to Udine on the last day of the season simply scares the crap out of me. Bottom line, a Milan win here opens a five point lead, a bit of breathing room, and makes the team controllers of their own destiny. I would take that route over and over every time.

Judas…

It is not secret I never liked the wide-eyed, fluffy haired, often over-rated Brazilian. He built his team last season like a house of cards, and while many were blinded by some solid results when the team needed to galvanize they never rose to the occasion. Few recall that Milan were in fact in first place and a shambolic spring saw this team go from surprise contender to laughing stock and were fortunate not to slip further down the table. Leo was said to have a falling out with the front office and was sent packing in favor of Max Allegri, but no one expected a “Company Man” such as Leo to jump ship to Inter. Hell, I had to listen to some BS sob story from Fester that the only time he ever cried when a player retired was for Leo, I mean are you serious!??! What did he ever do for this shirt that he deserved that sort of emotion, wonder if Fester is drying his eyes now thinking about watching his pal on Inter’s bench? I don’t blame him for taking the job, but if I was ever in his shoes, it would never happen. Sadly it is clear everyone has a price, good riddance…

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18 v 17…

If you don’t know what those numbers mean, maybe you should root for Roma where it is easier to keep track. The new millennium has seen a black and blue mark on Milan’s legacy, and that is Inter overtaking Milan in the number of Scudetti won. I don’t take this lightly, in fact I find it a bit embarrassing and this Derby will go a long way in helping put us back where we belong. I understand this year’s Title only breaks us even, but you have to start somewhere in getting back what is rightfully ours.

The Absence of an Old Friend…

Too bad the FIGC decided that Zlatan won’t play a part in this one. He certainly deserved the ban, but clearly Serie A’s governing body doesn’t have a sense for the dramatics and letting the big Swede back on the pitch to face his Old Club. Zlatan has won a title on every team he has played for from Juve to Inter to Barca, will the streak continue, even with him on the bench!?? I guess we can only hope, but I will continue to reinforce the fact that this team is plenty capable of making this work without him, they just have to believe and play at the level they are capable of.

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Mourinho’s Ghost…

For those that don’t know I have the utmost respect and admiration for Jose Mourinho. His tactics, his vision, his preparation and coaching style are a model for any Coach and even if I can take one percent of what he does and apply it, I have improved as a Coach. While Milan were in a Coaching dead end Inter hired Mourinho and with a treble to show for it, Inter are clearly in the driver’s seat when it comes to being top dog in Milan. Now you don’t have to like Mourinho, but you have to respect him, because even when he leaves a Club he leaves his mark, and the player’s never forget a Coach like him. So when you play Inter, regardless of who is on the bench, you are competing against Mourinho’s ghost and that scares me. Sure Milan beat Rafa’s Inter but as Mourinho would say, Rafa was so bad he even negated what I had done, maybe there is some truth to that, but Leo seems to be A-OK with Mourinho’s ghost on the bench and using it his advantage.

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Feel free to add your own story lines as well; this is going to be a special week culminating on Saturday evening for the most Epic of Matches. I want to do a three part preview with today’s post, a post Wednesday and Friday. Feel free to post ideas and thoughts so I can work them into the posts. We need to be in full force for this one.