Club Focus – Milan – Getting ready for Juventus

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The win over Napoli has definitely helped bring down the pressure on Milan and given them some reason to smile. In the past two days Vice-President Adriano Galliani has been loudly rejoicing last Monday night’s team performance and in particular that of Massimo Oddo and Robinho. The right-back was named man of the match by Sky Calcio and the Brazilian was not just the creator of the goal that saw the Rossoneri take the lead against the Partenopei but showed a willingness to sacrifice for the team that has never been seen before. Galliani remarked that those are examples that Milan’s players are not finished just because they are aging and that the signings made in summer were the right ones. He even stated that this Milan can win the Scudetto.
There is no time to dwell on past victories, as another tough test lies ahead – the Old Lady is coming to town for Saturday’s night match. Juventus will be without their man of the moment Milos Krasić, banned for two matches after TV clips show that he dived to win the penalty against Bologna, but after the poor performance in their last match the Bianconeri will be looking for redemption and for a much needed win. There is some good news for Coach Massimiliano Allegri as he recovers some of the injured players. Massimo Ambrosini, Ignazio Abate and Luca Antonini, who has now completely recovered from his clash with Christian Maggio, have started training with the team. In Thursday’s session, Thiago Silva spent the first part of his training in the gym and the rest on the pitch for some running and playing with the ball and should be on the starting line-up on Saturday.
Allegri should confirm the 4-3-2-1 module. In defence, he could play Thiago Silva and Alessandro Nesta in the middle, Antonini on the left and Daniele Bonera on the right. The dilemma that the Milan Coach is facing is in midfield between Kevin Prince Boateng and Clarence Seedorf. Go for the youth and the strength of the Ghanaian or the quality and the wisdom of the Dutch? The other two places in midfield are firmly in the hands of Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso. The stamina of Ringhio and the geniality of Pirlo make of the two a sort of ‘untouchables’. The other problem puzzling Allegri is the attack. Robinho is going through a good moment of form and should be playing behind the two strikers, which means that Ronaldinho, who is also available, should be in line to start the Champions League match against Real Madrid. Zlatan Ibrahimović is making the most of his goal instinct and seems to have blended quite well with the team, but Alexandre Pato so far has not shown the quality that we all know he has, halving the attacking potential of il Diavolo.
Ibra has scored 6 goals between Serie A and the Champions League but knows that life is not going to be easy when it will be Giorgio Chiellini to take care of him on Saturday night. “Chiello is the toughest defender I have ever played against” said the Swede today. “One I suffer a lot. He doesn’t give you an inch and doesn’t let you breathe. A very fair player, a true warrior”. Ibrahimović is looking forward to his duel with Chiellini and this tells you about his fighting mood. On the contrary, it is not easy to guess how Pato will prepare for the match from a mental point of view. The young Brazilian has been a shadow of himself in the recent matches. Since coming back from injury he has struggled to find the form and does not seem on the same wavelength as the rest of the team. His body language is not that of a happy man at the moment.
He will most likely retain his place because it is always a tough decision to leave someone of his calibre on the bench and Allegri will be hoping for the young Brazilian to find form and goal sooner rather than later. Juventus may not be doing exceptionally well at the moment but they cannot be underestimated. The progress made under Gigi Del Neri is evident as the team is assimilating his ideas with each passing game and they will mount a serious challenge on Saturday. Allegri needs all his men to give their best on the night and cannot afford any faux pas if they want to be in the fight for the title, as Galliani is expecting.
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