Once upon a time, the matches between Palermo and Milan were massively entertaining spectacles between two of the premier sides in Serie A. This year, both sides are barely recognizable, not just because of the unknown names on each squad but also the style of play and place in the standings. Palermo and Milan have struggled mightily to begin the 2012-13 season. Neither is content with the showing so far and each desperately need three points from tonight’s fixture. The names and numbers might not be there but the match will still produce the fireworks seen in the past.
Palermo heads into this game off the back of two consecutive cleansheets. The problem is that while the defense has been excellent, the offense has been anemic. When Miccoli doesn’t score, nobody scores. And given the poor game Miccoli had against Siena, the fact that nobody else stepped up is cause for concern and gives life to the rumors of signing a striker in January. To his credit, Miccoli took full responsibility for not securing the three points against Siena. He had the best chances to score and didn’t take advantage of them, but the team needs to move on and others need to step up and provide help.
Gasperini has promised no turnover for the Milan match. The only question mark was in regards to Munoz, who had yet another monster of a game despite sustaining a leg injury that required stitches. He toughed it out and performed well. It looks like he’ll be able to play though. If for some reason he doesn’t, Gasperini would opt for Mantovani in his place, while Santiago Garcia would get the nod in the midfield. The style of play is there. Many would say that Palermo deserved three points from each of the last two games, but the results have not come yet. Had Palermo won those last two games, the outlook would be decidedly different than what it is right now.
Milan have been woeful. They have completely rid themselves of the old guard and their team now consists of new faces and plenty of youth to a once-aging side. Allegri has been at the center of constant criticism for the way he has Milan playing and the lack of results domestically and abroad. He finally has gotten the original Glass Man back in the form of Pato and can deploy him from the start against Palermo. Joining him is the main bright spot for Milan this year: the young Pharaoh, Stephan El Shaarawy. The Italian leads Milan with six goals and has truly showed why Milan put all their faith in him. He’s dangerous from anywhere on the pitch and Palermo’s defense will have to make sure they keep an eye on him tonight.
Probable Palermo Lineup
Munoz – Donati – Von Bergen
Morganella – Kurtic – Barreto – Mantovani
Ilicic – Brienza
Palermo bench: Benussi; Cetto, Garcia, Labrin, Pisano; Bertolo, Giorgi, Rios, Viola, Zahavi; Budan, Dybala
Milan sit only three points away from Palermo, who on seven points are joint third last with Chievo and Bologna. The Rosanero have the luxury of playing at home where historically they’ve performed well against the Rossoneri. A win would put Palermo level on points with Milan and provide a spark to the team that decidedly need one. In order to get the three points, though, Palermo need goals. Should the triumvirate of Miccoli, Ilicic and Brienza not produce, Gasperini will need to make a change sooner than he did versus Siena. Dybala was lively in the small amount of minutes he received and Budan has yet to earn significant playing time. Both could prove useful against a once-stalwart defense that now features players like Bonera and Yepes. Milan have a tendency of shipping away goals away from home (7) but they also score frequently away from home (7). Palermo need to play as well as they have in the last two games while being more lethal in front of goal. This is a match that could dictate how the rest of the matches prior to the winter break play out. Milan could be the right team to break out.
SIAMO TERRONI E CE NE VANTIAMOOOOO!!!!