By Petar Todorovski
AC Milan are preparing for the visit of Palermo, their last game before this weekend’s clash against city rival Inter Milan. It seems that the Milan staff are already thinking about the Sunday derby, but they note that first they have to get “mission Palermo” done.
Last weekend the team from San Siro won against Bari 3:2 in a game that was easy to win, despite the late goal of Bari. Rossoneri controlled the game, they could finish their job much earlier in the match, but they wasted opportunities, giving the hard working opponent an opportunity to get back in the game. Massimiliano Allegri was pleased with the victory, but he still blasted the lack of focus in attack.
On the other hand Palermo had a difficult task last match, but they beat Genoa, their rivals for European competitions spot. They mostly controlled the game, although they netted only once. Mauricio Pinilla scored the only goal just before the half time, bringing all three points to Stadio Renzo Barbera.
AC Milan is currently sitting the second position on table, now only two points short of leaders Lazio. At home they have won three games and were defeated once in five games, having decent goal difference: scored ten and conceded four goals.
Palermo is on eighth position right now, with an average score. They have won and lost four games respectively. Their away form is average too, as they have two victories and two defeats.
For this game coach Allegri announced some changes in the line up. Pato deserved his trust with the last performance and will start alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Behind them this time probably will play Ronaldinho, instead of Clarence Seedorf, who capped an inspiring performance last weekend. Although still doubtful, the incredible pass launcher Andrea Pirlo will take his place in midfield together with Flamini and Ambrosini.
Intrusive defense requires changes, so it’s expected Thiago Silva and Mario Yepes start once again, while Abate and Antonini would play the full back role. Abbiati will aappear as keeper.
Rossoneri will miss Captain Gennaro Gattuso who’s suspended while Onyewu, Bonera and Zambrotta are injured. In Palermo Cassani is doubtful, Liverani and Hernandez are not able to help because of injuries.
As it was already mentioned, Allegri is not satisfied with the scoring rate of his strikers compared to the chances they’ve created. Asked why Super Pippo doesn’t play despite an excellent performance against Real Madrid, he explained that he has a lot of shiny strikers who could give an inspiring cap anytime, alluding that he has to rotate them.
As Massimiliano Allegri and Adriano Galliani claimed, importance of this game lies not only in necessary points, but also this is the game that will build the team spirit for Derby della Madunina next weekend. AC Milan is actively fighting for the Scudetto and have a chance to win it like they didn’t have years ago. Should they win these two games, they would be in pole position up in front of shaky arch rival. AC Milan grows in form and they are able to do it.
The question raised by this situation is why the Rossoneri staff created the necessary pressure for winning both games against Palermo and Inter. Allegri clearly stated that they need to win if they want to clash Neroazzuri in perfect atmosphere. What if they don’t win the next game? There are some great players in Palermo, like super creative Javier Pastore, who can fierce through vulnerable Milan defense anyway (especially slow Mario Yepes would be easy to pick). What would be the team spirit then? Wouldn’t they enter the derby with passion as always? The Palermo match is a game of its own and should be won just because of the three points that could bring the Scudetto in May. Derby della Madunina is something different.