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CL Playoff Preview

The funny thing is "fans" will cite superiority on paper, but paper doesn't win football matches.

Dino Panato

PSV is in a bit of a funny spot, much like our own AC Milan. Once a driving force in Holland's top league and a big spender in the transfer market. PSV has turned instead of late, to rebuilding, both with youth and frugality. While there will be always the teams like Real Madrid, Barca, PSG, and City who cook their books and pretend FFP does not exist, there will always be teams forced to comply much like Milan and PSV. Transfers of Marcelo and Strootman, two key players from the spine of this team may prove to much to handle int his short a time period.

PSV plays a traditional 4-2-3-1 under former PSV man Cocu. Historically Milan has coped well against undisciplined 4-2-3-1, and based on the youth of this side and the recent rebuilding they may lack the chemistry quite yet to to be a force. Then again, Milan may be in the same boat and while it would the 4-3-3 will be the formation of choice for Max's Men, it may contain an entirely new look three man midfield in Poli, Monty, and De Jong. Which leads me to the next question, how do they line up?

It would appear Abate will in fact be fit, but DeSciglio may not. Don't be surprised if Constant starts at LB. I described the midfield above, but the question becomes Kevin Prince Boateng. Every year it would appear our dear owner has a pet player and with Pato back to where he belongs, it would appear Boateng is Silvio's new toy. Pretty girlfriend, "hero" against racism, and all around "pretty" boy who can't defend he fits the criteria for Silvio type players. The sort of player the Milan Coach gets a call about the day before that goes like this...

Silvio: "So where are you playing Kevin tomorrow?

Max: "Wasn't going to."

Sivlio: "Remember that time he scored that sweet goal?"

Max: "When, it has been a while?"

Silvio: "I suggest you play Kevin tomorrow, near the goal, four strikers maybe, and make sure his GF is near the stands, near my seat."

Dial Tone...

The thing is, not Max, we all don't want him closer to our goal, as he has forgotten what it means to defend and we all don't want to close to the opponents goal as his propensity to shoot wildly from last season may still be rampant. Seems like the bench is the best choice!? Start Niang at RW, there I settled it!

Abbiati; Abate, Zapata, Mexes, Constant; Monty, DeJong, Poli; Niang, Balo, El Sharaawy

The return of Balo to the CL is exciting, as is the prospect of a flowing hard working three man midfield, it is a far cry the 4-3-1-2 many of us know this team needs for balance and success, but two games won't hurt us. The result is paramount for those hoping, wishing and praying for pretty football, be patient. I want a booked ticket to the CL group stage at this time.