What can I say now that hasn't already been said? Should I preach for calm or patience? Should I remind the tifosi that we are not bottom three in the table and in danger of relegation? Should I mention that we are STILL competing on three fronts, despite the rough patch? Do tifosi need to be reminded that all Clubs go through a rough spell and even Juventus is due? At the end of the day I can remind and remain calm, but that can and will only be for me.
Saturday Milan travel for a high noon EST kick-off in Udine. The same Udine who I respect tremendously and admire for their business practice, playing style and player development. While the most sincere of fans pray every night to their deity for oil tycoon ownership, Udine fans simply smile and watch true miracles unfold. Sell promising players, no problem, just bring in more talent. Italy's version of Arsenal never gets the credit they deserve and as they sit very near the top of the table, a mutually assured destruction of Juventus v Milan in the next few weeks, could see Udinese sneak off with the title. Their could be worse things?
All fun and games aside, my respect for Udinese runs deep, almost to the point of jealousy envy. I was never one for teams that were haphazardly assembled by check book instead of groomed through team building. The best teams always find a way to supplement their core with the proper players then scout and build from within, and Udinese is Italy's shining example. Throw in the fact that they play some interesting tactical football in the 3-4-3/3-5-2 and you have an exciting team all around. Now I may like Udinese, but it matters little come Saturday because Milan have it all to gain, or more importantly all to lose.
I was going to propose a lineup of who could play, but upon further review it makes more sense to post who can't:
Christian Abbiati, Mario Yepes, Alessandro Nesta, Rodney Strasser, Mathieu Flamini, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Alberto Aquilani, Alexander Merkel, Alexandre Pato, Gennaro Gattuso and Antonio Cassano are all still unavailable with their physical problems. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Mark Van Bommel are banned..
Sure injuries are no excuse, every player on the roster is a Milan players and should be able to step up and bring their A-game right? But have you ever seen a crisis like this one? All the while we are still in second place, not second from bottom, second from top!
Here is the squad:
Goalkeepers: Amelia, Roma, Piscitteli. Defenders:Abate, Antonini, Bonera, Mesbah, Mexes, Thiago Silva, Zambrotta. Midfielders: Ambrosini, Emanuelson, Nocerino, Seedorf, Cristante, Innocenti. Forwards: El Shaarawy, Inzaghi, Maxi Lopez, Robinho.
Throw them on the pitch in whatever way you see fit, Plan A, Plan B, or Plan C, who am I to judge? You want to throw strikers in the midfield, defenders in attack, midfielders in goal, fine by me!? In the past few days I have read and seen it all in the comments, so nothing surprises me anymore. You think Pippo should play 90, when he could barely run for 45 last time out, A-OK? Start Cristante and Innocenti in a pressure packed game, why not? I think El Shaarawi can play CDM, buddy of mine did in FIFA12, he smoked me, has to work right? I think Piscitteli is ripe for a debut as well, we aren't going to win anything this season anyway, may as well throw caution to the wind...
Hopefully I got a laugh out of some you, but in the end I guess I borrow words from Allegri, "time to grit our teeth" and all we can do is hope for the best...I will be here either way...