23/04/2011 17:00 GMT
Milan enters the home stretch to their elusive quest for the Scudetto when they take on another relegation-threatened team Brescia tomorrow. With second placed Napoli losing in their last match, Milan now enjoys a six point advantage at the top of the league. The last time Milan lost on the road was in March against Palermo. Since that upset, they have strongly come back to register 3-0 victories twice, once against their fiercest rivals, Internazionale.
Brescia, on the other hand are clearly staring down the barrel. With luck and points running out of their hands, it remains to be seen how they can avoid the inevitable drop. They have lost six home matches this season till date and it remains to be seen if that number increases tomorrow.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Milan go into this tie against the backdrop of their draw in Coppa Italia semifinal against Palermo. With little time to prepare, this could turn out to be a tricky encounter for the men in red and black. However, they are now on home stretch and barring the match against Roma, the remaining matches wouldn’t keep Allegri awake all night. Treating this game as “the game of the season” Allegri focused on motivation to overcome fatigue at this stage of the season. Pirlo is slowly and steadily coming back into the main team and even managed a full 90 minutes in the last match against Palermo. Nesta rejoined the main group just a day before and most likely will not feature in this game. In the pre-match interview, Allegri praised Abate, Emanuelson and Thiago Silva. With Ibrahimovic seeing red on successive occasions, it leaves the door for experimentation on the striker front, but Allegri seems to have found the correct solution to it. With Cassano playing like he could, mesmerizing defenders with his sublime skills before putting the final ball for another player and Boateng playing like he has to score in every opportunity, Robinho has plenty of reasons to smile about upfront.
Allegri had this to say “I think that Cassano, Robinho and Boateng complement each other quite well and our offense will be efficient tomorrow. We have no worries about this. We give due respect to Brescia, who are in good form physically and they have a big game ahead in view of their battle against relegation. We can’t afford to take tomorrow’s game lightly against an opponent who in attack can count on players like Caracciolo and Eder and in midfield have players who, aside from running a lot, are also good technically. If we go into the game with the right mentality our chances are good, it depends only on us. In my opinion, the tomorrow’s game will be the most important of the season. With a win we would make a huge leap towards the title. Against Palermo we did well, especially in the early stages of the game, then unfortunately we slowed down, especially our ball circulation. Tomorrow, we’ll need to play with great intensity for 95 minutes, because Brescia will do the same, looking to cause us problems.”
Milan would go with their tried and tested 4-3-1-2 formation for this game with Abbiati back from injury, manning the posts. Abate has had a truly wonderful season at right back and will continue his duties there with Zambrotta grabbing the left back position. Silva and Yepes would form the central defense. With the attacking instincts of Yepes often overcoming his defensive duties, the onus is on Silva to restore normalcy to the back line and rally the other players around him. Gattuso, Van Bommel and Seedorf would form the midfield. Robinho and Cassano would form the strike-force with Boateng playing in the hole behind the strikers.
Probable starting Line-up: Abbiati (GK), Abate, Zambrotta, Yepes, Silva, Gattuso, Van Bommel, Seedorf, Boateng, Cassano, Robinho
Brescia lost their last game 3-0 against Genoa which left them 19th in the rankings and four crucial points away from safety. To win against the current league leaders and a team 41 points away from them, it would require an out of the world effort from them. On top of that, Milan has only lost twice at home all this season. Brescia coach Giuseppe Iachini had this to say “We know Milan are a great team. They are favorites to win the Scudetto but we must take one match at a time and try to raise our game. We are not giving up on our aim to avoid the drop and we will try to make life difficult for Milan.”
Brescia is likely to start with a 3-5-2 formation with Arcari between the posts. In the absence of suspended defender Davide Zoboli, Zebina, Bega and Accardi would form the three-man defense. Zambelli, Filippini, Zanetti, Hetemaj and Berardi are the men in midfield, assigned with the duties of stopping Milan play their passing game and also create as much chances for their two strikers – Eder and Caracciolo.
Probable starting Line-up: Arcari (GK), Zebina, Bega, Accardi, Zambelli, Filippini, Zanetti, Hetemaj, Berardi, Eder, Caracciolo
TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR
Boateng has truly come into his own once Allegri moved him up the field and played him in the hole behind the two strikers. With his passing game and also aerial ability, Milan are not bereft of the presence of the towering Ibrahimovic. With Boateng creating chances all night long and also trying his luck at some, it remains to be seen as to how the Brescia backline plans to keep him in check.
Brescia 0-3 Milan
With everything to play for, none of the team would wait for the other to attack. Taking chances would be the vital thing in this encounter. This match is equally important for both Milan and Brescia with the win for Milan keeping them on course for their Scudetto and a win for Brescia allowing them to breathe a little bit easy.
TheHardTackle’s BLAST FROM THE PAST
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