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Anteprima: Previewing the game between the women of Milan and Florentia

No, not Fiorentina, Florentia. You know, the other Florentines. And like their lampredotto eating cousins, they’ll be sure to give us a pretty hard time, and to make sure we work for all three points against them.

Group hug!
AC Milan

After managing to secure a vital three points in a bittersweet game against Sassuolo, where our intrepid heroes met their former captain (Daniela Sabatino) after the untimely death of her father last July, we now turn our heads towards Tuscany and onto the next objective at hand.

Our next game will be against Florentia, and the game will take place on Saturday, November 30th, at 14.30 PM CET (8:30 am EST / 5:30 am PST).

The Tuscans will surely provide us with a tough test and are not to be taken lightly. So here’s a primer on what to expect when we face them.

In The Background:

Milan first met Florentia in December of last year. The game ended in a 1-1 tie (and that goal for the Florentines, came courtesy of none other than our very own Deborah Salvatori Rinaldi). They then met the team again in May of this year, and Milan won the encounter 1-0.

Much has changed since then, with Milan having changed the most. And yet, despite the massive upheaval they experienced over the summer, Milan have managed to somehow get better, as the core of the squad that remained is now much more mature, wiser and more importantly, experienced enough to handle the pressure that comes with playing in Serie A. They now have enough experience to handle games against opponents on the lower half of the table, and have hopefully learned how to avoid dropping points against them as well.

After all, it was around this same interval of the season last year, that the old Milan would have dropped points against the likes of Tavagnacco and Sassuolo. Instead, they won both encounters, albeit after playing two underwhelming matches where they weren’t as sharp as would be when they’re playing any of the Big Teams in the league.

Nonetheless, a victory is still a victory, so let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth and take it for granted.

A lifetime ago
AC Milan

Milan have managed not to lose a single game this season, despite running a rather tough gauntlet of opponents. They currently sit in second place in the Serie A table, just two points behind league leaders Juventus.

Conversely, Florentia have only won three of their previous seven matches (including a surprise victory over Roma). They also managed to tie their previous encounter against Empoli last weekend.

However, they’ve managed to do just enough to sit seventh on the Serie A table. Not bad, considering how much more experience and structural support the teams above them have.

All things considered, Florentia have performed pretty admirably so far this season (as have of course, Milan).

What to expect:

Maurizo Ganz will deploy the usual 4-3-3, virtually employing the same tactics and formation that has given him a great amount of success so far. Though going into this, we must also keep in mind that a few of the Milan players unfortunately, were underwhelming last week, chief among them being Nora Heroum.

If Ganz is to make any change in tactics this week, it will most likely be in regards to her, as he’ll move her from playing in a more advanced role as a striker of sorts, and back to playing in the midfield as a mezzala. Playing her in her usual position should suit her more, and bring back her confidence as well. Here’s to hoping it will work.

In addition to this, let’s also hope that the real Valentina Giacinti will also be back this weekend, and not the unfortunate, pod person that was playing in her place last Saturday. Also expect her fellow Valentina (Bergamaschi) to eat a few goals and to miss several seemingly easy chances (and for us to scream in agony because of it). It must however, be noted that she usually makes up for it for her inability to score in other ways, most notably with her speed as she contributes to the defense (as was demonstrated in the derby against Inter, as she helped keep Gloria Marinelli out of the game, with the only exception being that unfortunate lapse that led to Marinelli’s goal). Bergamaschi brings with her a wide array of skill sets that makes her a vital contributor to the team, and one should not downplay the importance of this, or how instrumental she’ll be in helping us secure a victory this week.

Also worth noting is that Deborah Salvatori Rinaldi is l’ex della Florentia, as she managed to play for both Fiorentina and Florentia at different intervals. This also explains why she was given such ‘kind’ treatment by the Fiorentina fans when she played against them (where they booed and whistled her at every turn), as both she and Giacinti were on the receiving end of their negative jeers (with Deborah being a target due to the fact that she played for their rivals).

If the Florentia faithful are anything like their Tuscan cousins, they’ll be sure to give her the same ‘kind’ treatment as well.

Fortunately though, Deborah is a Big Girl, and is not the type to cry and whine after being on the receiving end of some mean comments. Deborah and the rest of the Milan women are tough, and they’ll respond to these comments on the pitch, by letting their game do the talking for them.

It remains yet to be seen if in fact, Deborah will be able to play this weekend, as she was last seen exiting the pitch on crutches, due to the fact that she is currently suffering from a case of plantar fasciitis. As much as we’d like to see her play this week, we must also prepare for the inevitable possibility that she won’t be available for this match. The only good news here is that Ganz has a surprisingly deep bench that he can go to, and that will allow him to replace her if need be (as Sandra Žigić demonstrated in the game last week, though it will most likely be Lady Andrade who will start in her place).

Whoever starts though, will have to be up for a challenge. Florentia are no pushovers, and a victory against them will most likely come after a hard fought and scrappy match.

That is of course, assuming everything goes according to Mr. Ganz’s plan.

Actual footage of Maurizio Ganz during a game
Know Your Meme

Here’s to hoping it will.

Final Thoughts

Given the rather tough spate of opponents Milan had to run through prior to this point, the Rossonere will most likely feel a small amount of relief knowing that they’ll be playing in a rather low profile encounter this weekend.

The spotlight will be off of them for once, and they’ll be relieved not to have the shiny, bright light being shone in their eyes as they play. They’ll still however, feel a small amount of pressure to perform, but it won’t feel as stressful as let’s say, playing in a Big Match would. Though they also can’t let their guard down, as they are still in the running for a Champions League spot, and dropping any points against Florentia might lead a public that is usually quite patient with them, to start to ask questions of them.

Here’s to hoping they can avoid the prospect of having any of those questions raised by performing well enough to win this game.

As I’ve said before, Florentia are tough, but our girls are tougher. And the only way to prove this, is to take home all three points against them this Saturday.

(And yes, I am reusing a line from a previous article because I’m that lazy. Leave me alone.)

Possible Formation:

Milan (4-3-3): Korenčiová, Vitale, Fusetti, Hovland, Tucceri, Čonč, Jane, Heroum, Bergamaschi, Giacinti, Lady Andrade (Or Salvatori Rinaldi)

Match Info

Where: Stadio Santa Lucia, San Gimignano, Italy

(See above for the specific date and time.)

How to watch:

TimVision (Italy only), the official AC Milan app, and on Florentia’s Facebook page, as they have a deal with the Italian media company, Tvedo, to stream their games.