San Siro, Milan
August 29th,2010 – 7:45 Pm GMT
The Italian Serie-A league kicks off this weekend with AC Milan hostng US Lecce on Sunday evening in San Siro. Milan would not like to take last season’s Serie B champions lightly, as it was their feeble performances against the newly promoted teams in 2009-10, which saw them slip to the bottom half of the table for first couple of months.
After a below par pre-season, Massimiliano Allegri’s real challenge begins this weekend. The new Rossoneri manager might give a go ahead to some of his new signings on Sunday night, considering they are playing a newly promoted team. Allegri, who was voted the best Italian manager twice since 2008 season, led Cagliari to finish in the top half of the league table last season, in spite of having a limited budget. But Managing Rosseneri would be a completely different test for him as this will be his first major assignment with one of the most decorated clubs in Europe.
Milan’s back-line, which leaked quite a few goals at some very crucial moments during last season, looked solid with their new signings in the warm up fixtures and Massimiliano Allegri will be hoping to continue the same form in the league as well. Pato, who sustained an injury in the Emirates Cup, has been declared fit and would add a lot of weight to the attack of the Italian giants.
On the other hand, Lecce, who have beaten their Sunday night’s opponent only once in their last eight meetings, would be aspiring to use this fixture, to pass on a message to the rest of the eighteen teams in the mix that they certainly won’t be any pushovers. Lecce will predominantly rely on their prolific goal scorer Corvia to rattle the defense of the Milanese club throughout the ninety minutes. Corvia was the chief reason behind the success of Lecce in their Serie-B campaign. Even if the Salentians manage to snatch a single point from this clash, they would feel satisfied. Whereas Milan will be looking to thrash the minnows to send across a signal of intent to Inter, who start their march towards an unprecedented sixth straight Italian title.
Milan’s players would try to shift the focus of their fans to football from the numerous on-going transfer talks which have linked them from Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the 26 year old Robiniho. Milan are outright favorites for this weekend’s David-Goliath fixture, but yet – wasn’t it David who conquered Goliath?
Milan Possible Starting Line-up:
Abbiati, Zambrotta, Nesta, Silva, Antonini, Flamini, Ambrosini, Boateng, Pirlo, Ronaldinho, Pato
Lecce Possible Starting Line-up:
Rosati, Sini, Gustavo, Donati, Giuliatto, Mesbah, Ferrario, Olivera, Munari, Corvia, Bergougnoux
TheHardTackle’s Player to watch out for
The pony tailed Brazilian, who almost left the club in the transfer market, stayed back only after Berlusconi’s intervention. He again finds himself at the helm of Milan’s midfield and would surely love to improve upon his fifteen goals and seventeen assists tally of last season. He returned back from injury by netting a scorching goal against Juventus in a friendly match couple of weeks back. On his day, he still possesses the skills to be the best player on the planet.
AC Milan 2-1 US Lecce