I don't know which task is more impossible...keeping a clean sheet or scoring a goal at the Calderon. I have been massively critical of this team under Seedorf, for reasons I believe to be both fair and reasonable. Seedorf was meant to be a shining star, a solver of problems, and a godfather to a new Milan. Instead it is has been the same old clunker with a haphazardly applied coat of paint and passed off the real thing. This is a good analogy for Milan, sure they wear the same kit and have the same air, but if you look a little closer this is just a ruse.
Now this bunch, winless in their last two matches travel to a very hostile place against the top team in La Liga. If that wasn't hard enough to swallow, the fact that Ateltico has only conceded 21 goals with a +42 goal differential in comparison to Milan's +1 goal differential should down right scare you. This wont' be easy, but the again nothing worth doing or achieving ever truly is. It would appear Seedorf has taken the Rafa Benitez Liverpool blueprint. Roll out crap on the weekend, abandon ship in the league, and put all your eggs in the CL basket. The funny thing about Rafa's Scousers is that it worked, not just once or twice but for nearly four years in succession. Pool fans will tell you it was A-OK by them, the team was built for the rigors of the EPL anyway, they were made for European nights. The point is when I look at Milan, I am not even sure they built for a five a side kick about!?
The first match versus at the San Siro was a solid one. Milan showed glimpses of strong balance and determination to win the midfield. The goal came down to a defensive error, a common theme all season, but the team's inability to find the back of the net continues to be alarming. My initial point here still stands and Seedorf needs to consider his options. Score and keep a clean sheet or win by two are the only ways to book their ticket to the next round, and both of those seems like giant mountains to climb!
Option 1 would require a crafty choice for Rami's partner, with Bonera being the front runner. You also have to relegate Urby to the bench in favor of DeSciglio and Abate. Clarence seems entirely unwilling to do this and when he is eventually canned he can look back at this as one of his many errors. With Montolivo out the Essien/DeJong combo is an easy choice, but his comment about resting Muntari for Tuesday was an odd one. Does he prefer the Ghanian alongside his countryman? Will he deploy the Bison further up the pitch or rely on Poli as his CAM to break up play in the center of the pitch. The wings regardless of option 1 or 2 must be Taarabt and Kaka with Balotelli at the top, unless Urby moves into the wing spots and Kaka into the middle, which starts to look more like option 2.
Option 2, which frankly scares me, would deploy four out and out attackers which sadly would mostly include Robinho. Milan would then be required to attempt chance after chance on goal allowing Ateltico to bite on the counter. I fear Seedorf is more an option 2 guy, but must recognize this is what Simeone wanted in the first match and will surely want it now at home. Ateltico is very comfortable taking whatever Milan can send their way, so coming up a bit more negative may be the cagey choice, it is no secret I am all option1.
So as we draw closer to tomorrow, I think this will be a turning point for me personally. The right choices and the right performance will go a long way in getting my support back on the Seedorf bandwagon but I have never been one for hope and luck, which it would appear Milan will need a lot of considering the last few matches. At the end of the day, the players and Coach matter little, and regardless of the result these are still my colors. Things could always be worse and will it seems I am mentally prepared for a loss here, the truth is the work to bring this team back to glory has yet to even begin.