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Finishing in Udine

Serie A has always been a funny place on the last day of the season; some teams already have their bags packed for vacation and are willing to do some "favors" to be paid forward sometime in the future. This isn’t the case with this one. Udinese need a single point to secure Champions League football and with Lazio close behind I don’t expect Milan or Allegri to mail this one in. Sure we may see some youngsters with 30 minutes to play, but expect no less than the best from the Champions of Serie A.

The last time these two teams met at the San Siro it turned out to be my match of the Serie A season if you crave end to end action, a true show piece for fun attacking football. Wasn’t the cleanest game, and dropped points for Milan were not good, but watching that match again this week simply made me smile, scratch my head, and tip my hat to Udine for giving us pure hell. Cassano was a hero in that, as his vision and passing helped Milan fight back, and I am curious to see if Allegri goes with him from the outset. It will also most likely be the final match for Andrea Pirlo in the Red and Black, and the least Allegri can do is give him a chance to be applauded off the pitch. If you missed my take on Pirlo, please have a look, if you prefer to watch instead of read, behold:

Not much more I can or am willing to say about Pirlo here, I said enough in the last post, but in the end both player and Club are going different directions. There is no one to blame, no reason to harbor ill will, and in the end the team will survive, we will survive, and so will Pirlo. Never easy to say goodbye, but with goodbyes come new opportunities...

Now dry your eyes and onto the lineup, for me the choices are rather simple, stick to what worked:

Abbiati; Abate, Nesta, Silva, Zambro; Rino, Ambro, Pirlo; Prince; Cassano, Zlatan

Have Merkel, Strasser and maybe Beretta ready for the second half and let it ride. I would expect this one to be a bit cagier because that point means the World to Udinese and being able to celebrate it with their home fans after a strong season would be much deserved. I have the utmost respect for Udinese and they way the do business and groom youth has to have them atop Serie A in that category. It is no surprise big clubs are often sniffing around at players like Isla, Sanchez, and Zapata. Pay close to attention to Kwadwo Asamoah, a player I have always rated highly, and one that Allegri seems to appreciate as well. He is the perfect bull dog midfielder who can play any role in the midfield line, as well an advanced position behind the strikers if needed. Being a National teammate of Prince helps too, and maybe my wish will finally come true! For those clamoring on about how Milan “need” creative midfielders next season, watch Kwadwo and you will see pretty clearly what Milan need, (hint: it isn’t creative) and it rhymes with ASAMOAH…

I have to admit I am relieved that this game isn’t a must win for Milan, because Udinese is some serious competition. They play with pace and width, and while I would be happy to see them earn a draw, the little devil inside says THRASH THEM! Am I a jerk for wishing this, maybe? But in the end I want my team to show superiority, so any result seems to please on this day. With this we end the final match preview of the 2010-2011 season, a season that was a roller coaster ride of fun and emotions and saw us with hands on a Scudetto. For those of you still harboring some ill will about how Milan won the title, maybe a bit too “dull,” I ask you, and end with this…would you be willing to trade it in? I know my answer…let’s see you defend yours.