My feelings for AS Roma have never been a secret. In fact I can firmly say with great conviction that the only good thing about AS Roma, players and fans, is Julian over at the Italy Offside Blog. Guy is a class act, but the rest you can keep! A Club always carrying a sense of belonging to the hierarchy of Serie A, but always seeming to forget that such respect is earned and not simply granted. Always a bridesmaid and never a bride, AS Roma are the Buffalo Bills of Serie A and instead having some humility and hoping to someday turn the corner, they complain about everything but the real problem, the Club itself. Now they have new owners and maybe even a new direction and vision, but at the end of the day they will still be what they have always been, pretenders. So it is with great pleasure I write this post knowing that if Milan can manage a single point in the Stadio Olimpico they will be crowned Serie A Champions! Personally, I want all three points, and I won’t be happy with anything else, and Milan and Allegri should feel the same way, time to show i Lupi who the Lions are. Seven years ago it was against Roma that Milan clinched their last Scudetto and it’s time for a little Déjà vu.
Roma come into this game with CL aspirations, and a fair bit of turmoil. Will Montella stay? Carletto be brought in, or will they opt for Mazzari? What happens with the iconically overrated Francesco Totti? Is he part of the plans of the new American owned AS Roma? Will Roma come good and buy the rest of Marco Borriello? All questions that will surely be answered in due time, but they matter little right now because Saturday’s game carries the weight of a Scudetto for the Rossoneri. On a side note Roma will be without the services of Simone Perotta and the Prince of Rome, Daniele De Rossi, I make note of this because if Milan earn all three points this will surely be brought up. Expect something to the effect of, “Well De Rossi was out, so we were not at full strength.” This is true, but last time I checked his red card against Bari was warranted, and getting suspended for arguably your team’s most important games of the season, the difference between European football or not, is not exactly the mark of a leader, present or future. Being suspended from the National team earlier in the year and now this, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the last we saw of De Rossi in the boot, and maybe a change of scenery is in order for an occasionally talented player with the brain of a fourteen year old. We watched Zlatan make a complete fool of himself this season with red card infractions, and he was chastised, rightfully so, but Milan continued to do what was asked of them, win matches. No excuses.
In the end we know our opponents quite well, and historically this has never been an easy match. In fact the last match against Roma was a blemish on our record, and reversing the result is the first order of business. Something Allegri has done quite well this season and should continue to do so. Milan receive a rather welcome boost of Zlatan and Pato returning, this is in addition to Pippo potentially being match fit. Last week’s striker dilemma seems solved, and it is up to Allegri to decide who the partnership will be. I for one have an eye for the dramatics and playing Cassano in Rome would do just that, but pragmatic approach of Robinho and Zlatan with Prince behind is the more rational and logical choice. I would expect Van Bommel to return to his CM role, but Ambro could be used their as well depending on fitness and intentions for the midweek trip to the fortress of Palermo. That game matters little though with the Scudetto on the line in this one, best foot forward here, and one game at a time. I would expect his choice of Ambro or Van Bommel and Seedorf or Pirlo will set the lineup for midweek with Gattuso and Flamini potentially swapping as well.
Defensively some bad news has come out with Abate possibly not being fit. This is actually a problem because he has become a stalwart at the RB spot, and easily one of Italy’s top RBs of the campaign. Having him for both matches is a plus, but an Oddo sighting may be in the making. Let’s just hope we get the Oddo from Napoli earlier in the season and not the one from Palermo last season! Hopefully he can work off the rust he has been accumulating in the stands. I would expect Zambro to get the nod at LB, but his old legs won’t make two matches, which leaves Allegri with another choice. The CB pairings should continue to remain the same with Nesta and Silva holding down the fort. As you can see Allegri has some serious choices to make, but again I expect the pragmatic safe approach with the following lineup:
Abbiati; Oddo, Nesta, Silva, Zambro; Rino, Van Bommel, Seedorf; Prince; Zlatan, Robinho
Pato should remain at the ready, he has a habit of bringing his best against Roma, and I would love to see him start, but it is best he doesn’t risk getting re-injured so soon. This gives Allegri options midweek, and we will have ample time to discuss that as the week progresses, let’s simply take care of business in Rome first.
So here we are, so close, and while I understand that it may not even happen this weekend, I really hope it does. Beating Roma, winning the title, and building momentum for Palermo! What more could a Milan fan ask for? As stated in my last recap, enjoy this moment, title’s are inherently special and if things do go Milan’s way take a minute and savor it. For some it may be their first Title as a Milan fan, for others it may be their third, fourth, or fifth, in the end they all mean something, and you will always remember the feeling when your team won the title!
Sorry for lack of photos lately, there are some sever lag issues with word press making it almost impossible to post photos without babysitting the computer. I hope it is resolved shortly.