Preview: Coppa Italia Final 2016

Date: Saturday, May 21, 2016

Kickoff: 2:45 PM ET  /  20:45 CET (ITA)

Serie A Positions: Milan (7), Juventus (1)

Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy

Well, here we are. Another thoroughly disappointing season, and yet there is still a trophy on the line. After perhaps the easiest road to the final in Coppa Italia history, the Rossoneri face off once more with a Juventus side that has bullied them for years now. Do we deserve it? No. Do we desire it?

Um, maybe?

I mean, it’s sort of a win-win right? If we win, we get a decent piece of silverware and qualify for next year’s Europa League.

But if we lose, we don’t have to play Europa League. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not hating on the competition itself. Whether or not it would benefit Milan to compete in it next year though is another question entirely.

It’s clear that win or lose, this Coppa Italia final will be relatively inconsequential in the history of AC Milan. So though I know it is incredibly unlikely, I’d like to win just for the sake of beating Juventus. If anything maybe we can think of one nice victory when we look at the tricolor badge as we struggle again next season.coccarda-150x150

Run-In

No need for me to compare these two sides statistically again. Juventus are better at basically everything.

Instead, take a quick look again at how these squads got here.

Juventus entered the competition as title holders in the round of 16, and dispatched in order, Torino, Lazio, and Inter, making a real hash of the second leg of that semifinal before advancing on penalties. The Allegri special.

Milan meanwhile, took on the combined strength of Perugia, Crotone, Sampdoria, Carpi, and Leg Pro side Alessandria. Looking back on the Serie A season, maybe it doesn’t look so straightforward for this Milan team, but it’s about as plum a draw as you can ask for.

Missing Pieces

Milan may or may not be without Niang still. If he makes the squad, he won’t start. Antonelli is also out injured.

The champions lose out of Bonucci because of suspension, while Caceres, Khedira, and Marchisio sit with injuries. How ever will Juventus replace them?

Possible Line-up

Abbiati

Abate – Mexes – Romagnoli – De Sciglio

Kucka – Locatelli – Bonaventura

Honda – Bacca – Balotelli

I think Brocchi would start himself if he could at this point, and I know we’ll be lucky to avoid Poli or Montolivo, not to mention both.

Abbiati should start. He deserves it after his years at the club and he’s played the entire tournament so far. The backline is pretty cemented except Romagnoli’s partner. I say throw Mexes out there. We’re sure as hell paying him enough, and a red card, bicycle kick goal, or both, might spice this match up a bit.

Kucka proved to be a solid if limited addition to the squad. Bertolacci really disappointed me. I drop Bonaventura back into the midfield mainly to exclude Bertolacci.

In his place up front I’ve got Balotelli. Everyone’s got their own opinions on Mario and what’s left to say? Without getting into mine, it’s a stone cold fact that he is one of the few on the field for Milan who could somehow win this match.

Has the guy in white ever managed before?

Has the guy in white ever managed before?

What to Watch for:

Danger Man – I picked Mandzukic last time these sides met, and I was correct. But I only picked him then because Dybala was out, and he’s in now, so maybe him. Or Pogba. Possibly all three!

Pride – Do we have any left? I mean if Juventus really wants, this could get embarrassing. I think I speak for a lot of Milan fans when I say that I just want to see us put up a fight. There are merits to us winning or losing, but either way let’s do it swinging all the way. I honestly don’t think I could bear us rolling over in this one.

Forza Milan.

About Dave Lamb

Dave Lamb is a lifelong Milan supporter, public school teacher, and aspiring stand-up comedian living in Boston. You can follow him on twitter @DaveLambComedy

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