Ennio Tardini, Italy
September 29th 2012, 16:00 GMT
With only one victory from the five matches, Parma are not having the best of times in Serie A. With former Milan hero, Donadoni at the helm, Parma are hoping to rebuild their squad slowly and steadily. With Milan only two places above them in the league standings, Donadoni will be hoping for an upset. However, Allegri has not lost to Donadoni so far, and it is one record he will hope to continue.
Milan finally broke the San Siro curse and won 2-0 at home against Cagliari. Although no one expected an upset, still a victory was needed to boost the flagging morales at Milanello. The victory reduced the immense pressure on Allegri for sometime, but he knows very well that he needs to perform in order to continue at the helm. The last game also saw the new hero emerge from the red side of Milan – El Shaarawy.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Parma will be missing the likes of Santacroce, Palladino and Belfodil due to injury. Influential attacking midfielder, Valdes will be missing this match through suspension. This will be a big loss for Parma as their attacking intents will be a lot less potent with him on the sidelines, and that too against Milan. After the opening day loss to Juventus, Parma trounced Chievo, only to lose to Napoli after that. Their topsy-turvy season continued as they were held on successive occasions by Fiorentina and Genoa. Ex-Milan great, Donadoni will be hoping for a reversal of fortunes when he takes on Milan this Saturday.
Parma will be using a 3-5-2 formation with Mirante under the bars. Their back-line has remained the same throughout the five matches played so far. Paletta forms the heart of defence, ably aided by Zaccardo on the right and Lucarelli on the left. Only once had Parma used a 3-5-1-1 formation, but that too saw the same defence and midfield combination. Parma’s wide midfield means that they like to play with width and at the same time attempt a large number of long balls to get the ball to the final third. Even though most of their attacks come from the left, they are pretty vulnerable when it comes to a fast counter attack from the wings.
The five-man midfield will see Musacci coming in for Valdes, while the rest of the players pick themselves. Rosi and Gobbi will be the wide midfielders and they will be supported by Parolo on the right and Galloppa on the left. The forward line sees the combination of ex-Juventus player, Amauri and Pabon.
Probable Starting Line-up (3-5-2): Mirante (GK); Zaccardo, Paletta, Lucarelli; Rosi, Parolo, Musacci, Galloppa, Gobbi; Pabon, Amauri
Milan will be missing the likes of Strasser, Didac Vila, Muntari and Flamini for this match. The good news is that Pato is once again back in training having spent the last week training in isolation at Milanello. Robinho is also on his way back but both these players are unlikely to play any part in this match. Also, Zapata and Boateng are available for selection after having served their suspension period. The return of Pato is indeed a source of good news, but Milan are unlikely to put all their eggs in Pato’s basket.
After seeing the ineffectiveness with his favoured 4-3-1-2 formation with the current squad, Allegri has wisely moved to a 4-3-3 formation. A coach needs to field a formation according to the strength and weakness of his available squad and not force others to play somewhere they are uncomfortable in. Keeping this in mind, it is only logical that Milan can no longer play a trequartista with the current squad. The defence line also sees the return of Zapata and he will have to be very careful not to repeat his antics from the previous match.
Abbiati starts this match under the bar with Bonera and Zapata deployed as center-backs. Abate has returned to the main squad after an injury lay-off and he should feature as right-back against Parma. Another new find of Milan, De Sciglio is likely to start as left-back. The Milan midfield will comprise of Ambrosini at the center as he is likely to play more as a defensive midfielder than a central one. Montolivo is likely to feature on the right with Nocerino playing on the left.
The forward line will see the pairing of El Shaarawy on the left with Pazzini playing through the middle. Emanuelson will play as the right forward, having played in a similar role in the previous match. With him being deployed almost everywhere on the pitch, Milan seem to have found the ultimate utility man.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-3): Abbiati (GK); Abate, Bonera, Zapata, De Sciglio; Montolivo, Ambrosini, Nocerino; Emanuelson, Pazzini, El Shaarawy
Player to Watch Out For
Stephan El Shaawary (AC Milan)
El Shaarawy had limited or almost no opportunities to play in the first team in the last two seasons when Ibrahimovic and Cassano were playing. However, with the departure of both the aforementioned players from Milan, El Shaarawy now has clearly set his mind on being a first-team fixture for Milan. With news of Pato and Robinho on the verge of a comeback, Allegri will be having a selection problem on his hands. However, this is one problem which every coach hopes to have with a team of Milan’s stature. ‘The Prince‘ will be looking to score at will and since he also helps out in defence, Milan can hope for a man-of-the-match performance from him.
Parma 1-2 AC Milan
Milan will be looking to pick up all three points on offer at Ennio Tardini. It will be a tough match, specially when facing Parma at home. Parma are no pushovers at home and knowing that, Milan will have to go the extra mile if they want to get their season back on track. Milan will be looking to Pazzini and El Shaarawy to deliver the goods, all the while keeping a keen eye on Pato and Robinho’s return.