Mid-week hero Filippo Inzaghi and Milan will look for a repeat of the mid week display in the Champions league when they entertain Bologna this weekend. There have been suggestions that Milan can only turn on the style when playing in the limelight of Europe’s premier competition, however, it is up to Coach Leonardo to disprove this and produce the goods in the domestic league. Both teams had a poor outing last week, a lacklustre Milan drew 0-0 away at Livorno whilst a sorry Bologna were lucky to only lose 2-0 away at Chievo. Manager Giuseppe Papadopulo will be under as much pressure to deliver as the Milanese boss – current form sees the Rossoblu float dangerously above the relegation zone. This game really does stack up to be a must win affair for either side – a draw will not silence the Rossoneri’s critics nor will it help Bologna’s plight. Leonardo in particular will be in a hurry to change his image of floundering novice to that of a stylish young talent.
Milan changed their team for the win in Merseille. Ronaldinho, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Marek Jankulovski were all left out in favour of Inzaghi, Andrea Pirlo and Mathieu Flamini. The changes worked, a victory and a performance was achieved and Milan look ahead to the weekend, however, it is what Leonardo does next that will interest the Milanese faithful. Ronaldinho has not been at his best since being at Milan and is the hot topic of debate – is he too big a name to be left out? Is the gamble of leaving him in, waiting for the moment he explodes back on the footballing map too great a risk? Is he simply past his best as a player? Questions too surround Huntelaar, there is no doubting his record in Holland but this does not mean that he will automatically be able to perform in Serie A. Inzaghi can cut it in this division and has the proof, he is also in form and Milan needs the goals.
44 Oddo – 13 Nesta – 33 Thiago Silva – 18 Jankulovski
10 Seedorf – 16 Flamini – 23 Ambrosini
7 Pato – 9 Inzaghi
Bologna have so far failed to impress. Their season began with stalemate draws against Fiorentina and Bari and these were quickly followed by loss to Chievo. Bologna have so far gone from a 3-5-2 to a 4-5-1 formation then reverted back to original setup. These changes in formation have mainly been to sort out which attacking option Giuseppe Papadopulo wishes to run with. Marco Di Vaio was declared fit to play against Chievo after recovering from a heel injury that has kept him out of the season so far. It is evident that Bologna desperately needs him to open his account for the season and get near his last season tally of 24 goals. Goals will strongly depend on Giuseppe Papadopulo settling on his front two this weekend.
13 Portanova – 6 Britos – 21 Zenoni –
14 Guana – 5 Mutarelli – 8 Mingazzini – 10 Bombardini – 7 Valiani
9 Di Vaio – 22 Osvaldo
When the teams walk out onto the pitch at the San Siro this weekend there may be some interesting selections in both sides – particularly the home side. It will be a test for Leonardo to see if he picks the form players and not those who perhaps sell more merchandise despite having not looked the finished article. This fixture is more important than it may look, victory for either team will make the season so far look very different indeed. Three points for Bologna will suddenly make the two opening draws look very credible and the game against Chievo overshadowed by a big scalp. A Milanese win will see them collect their second victory on the back of a Champions league win with only the memory of a terrible derby display still etched in the mind. Defeat for either and the season will look bleak, with a cloud overshadowing previous results, a draw to will not help either avoid talk of mediocrity in Mondays papers.