Sunday, September 14, 18:45 Hrs GMT
Parma will be looking to avenge their opening day loss to Catania as they welcome Milan. Mirante’s error led to a Rodriguez goal and the club, which was supposed to play in the Europa League, found themselves at the bottom of the Serie A table.
AC Milan will be looking continue their happy start to the new season with a victory over Parma this weekend. The club has strengthened almost all of their departments this summer and as a result, Inzaghi now has as many as seven strikers to choose from for his first team!
Team News and Tactical Brief
Parma will be missing the services of Biabiany, who is out through injury. The previous season saw a rejuvenated Parma under Donadoni, who led them to the sixth place in the league table. Sadly, they were considered ineligible to play in the Europa League as their UEFA license was not renewed due to overdue tax debt. This led to such a situation where Torino, who finished seventh, were granted permission to play in place of Parma.
With metaphorical eggs all over the place, President Tommaso Ghirardi produced his resignation only to withdraw it later as according to him, no one of significance turned up to buy his signature. The desire to escape the sinking ship was suddenly replaced by a sense of duty as Ghirardi vowed to take the club back to its rightful position in the league. Parma made some last-minute deals to bolster their squad with the addition of De Ceglie and McDonald Mariga. The arrival of De Ceglie was necessitated by his playing time at Juventus, while Mariga was a free agent who was picked up, now for the fourth time by Parma. Donadoni will be hoping for good things from both these players, although the coach has complained of a large squad after the closure of the transfer window. However, the most important acquisition was that of Lodi and he will add some muscle in the Parma midfield.
Parma will deploy a 4-3-3 formation with Mirante in goal. The back-line will be formed by Cassani on the right, Gobbi on the left with Paletta and Lucarelli forming the central defensive pair. The midfield will be formed by Jorquera on the right, Acquah on the left with new arrival, Lodi playing through the center. The forward line sees the likes of Palladino and Belfodil lining up next to Cassano.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-3): Mirante(GK); Cassani, Paletta, Lucarelli, Gobbi; Jorquera, Lodi, Acquah; Palladino, Cassano, Belfodil
Milan will be missing the likes of Montolivo and El Shaarawy due to injury. The latter got injured during the international break, although a speedy recovery is on the cards. Freed from suspension, Mexes and De Sciglio have returned, which will bolster the Milan back-line considerably. Inzaghi is likely to stick with Alex and Bonera for this match, even though he is spoilt for choice in the center-back department with Rami, Mexes and Zapata all being fully fit and raring to go.
Milan had a heck of a closing day as far as transfers are concerned with two players coming in. Leading up to the penultimate day, it was assumed that Biabiany will move to Milan, with Zaccardo moving in the opposite direction and Milan paying the rest in cash. Pictures with Biabiany in Milan scarves were uploaded on the official site only to be removed moments later when the deal collapsed due to Zaccardo. As a result, Milan will be using the winter transfer window to offload him. Among those who came in were Van Ginkel and Bonaventura, although the latter came in only to spite cross-town rivals Intenazionale. The club is putting all their eggs in Inzaghi’s bucket and only time will tell if he will make Milan worthy title contenders in a few years’ time.
Inzaghi will field a 4-3-3 formation with Lopez under the bar. The Spaniard impressed in his very first match and his late penalty save only went a long way to show what Milan needed desperately at the back – a leader. The back-line will be comprised of Abate on the right, De Sciglio on the left with Alex and Bonera playing as the central defensive pair. De Sciglio will play a much deeper role for Milan as compared to Italy, where he featured as a wide midfield player in Conte’s 3-5-2 system.
The midfield will be formed by Poli on the right, Muntari on the left with De Jong playing through the center. The loss of Cristante has been offset by the arrival of Van Ginkel, who is likely to be used quite heavily by Inzaghi in this season. The forward line has been formed to score on the break with fast players complementing a solid midfield enforcer like De Jong. Honda will start on the right with Menez shifting to the left in place of the injured El Shaarawy. Torres will start his first match for Milan as the central striker.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-3): Lopez(GK); Abate, Alex, Bonera, De Sciglio; Poli, De Jong, Muntari; Honda, Torres, Menez
Player to Watch Out For
Fernando Torres (AC Milan)
His arrival at Milanello saw mixed reception from almost the Milan faithful. However, as the club has revamped the squad totally according to Inzaghi, this was one striker whom the coach liked. Although this arrival was totally due to the cash generated after Balotelli’s departure, over the time of the international break, Milan fans seem to have warmed up to the arrival of Torres after 10 years (according to Galliani). Not only is he an experienced player who has won it all, at Milan he will not have anyone breathing down his neck for the first-team spot. Till now, Menez has been deployed as a false nine, but with El Nino around, Milan finally have a central striker (Pazzini being mostly out through injury). This is Torres’ chance to prove himself to Del Bosque, who have moved on to Costa and rightly so.
Parma 0 – 1 Milan
Milan are on the road for the first time this season and nothing will spur the players more than a victory at the Ennio Tardini. This is the first time Donadoni and Inzaghi are meeting each other as coaches in Serie A and it will be quite interesting to see how they stack up their teams against each other. A fascinating contest is surely on the cards but at the end, Milan might just pull ahead of the hosts.