The Rossoneri could go top with a win against the Sicilians at San Siro…
Top Spot Beckons
Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri has defined the match against Palermo at San Siro on Wednesday evening as “the most important game” of the season and he does have a point. Stationed second in the table, the Rossoneri have the Milan derby against Inter at the weekend and win against the Sicilians will not only boost their confidence ahead of the match against the Italian and European champions, it could also propel them to pole position in the table.
Milan are just two points behind league leaders Lazio and bounced back from their last week’s draw with Real Madrid in the Champions League with a narrow 3-2 win against Bari in Serie A at the weekend.
Allegri has hinted that he could recall some of the players for this match and also recognises the class that ambitious Palermo possesses.
The former Cagliari coach said, "Palermo will arrive in Milan with a different spirit from what they had before the match against Genoa.
"When teams come to play at the San Siro they are always inspired. Milan will respect them. It will be the most important game we have played so far this season because it arrives just before the derby.
"It will be crucial not only in terms of our place in the table, but also as preparation for the derby.''
Invoking Last Season’s Spirit
Palermo will try to invoke the spirit of last season when they defeated Milan at San Siro. The Sicilians won 1-0 against Genoa at the weekend to end a sequence of three defeats in all competitions.
This win also means that Palermo are eighth in the league standings with 14 points from 10 matches, four points behind fourth-placed Juventus. The Sicilians are still in the hunt for a place in the top four and a victory over Milan on Wednesday evening will be very important in that.
However, coach Delio Rossi is urging caution ahead of the clash with the former Italian and European champions and said, "Milan and Palermo this year have different teams than last, there are different players and formations. But we arrive on the back of a good performance, which was not completely obvious in the scoreline, but the team played well.
"Despite the defeats beforehand we had been playing at a good level, except in Udine, so the players have the knowledge that we are doing well.
"This team may have a thousand faults but they will always honour the jersey.''
Bonera, Oddo and Zambrotta are out because of injuries. Gattuso is suspended for this fixture. Allegri could deploy 4-3-1-2 formation that will see Ronaldinho start ahead of Robinho in the trequartista role. Pato and Ibrahimovic will be the two strikers upfront.
Liverani and Hernandez are unavailable because of injuries. Delio Rossi is likely to start with Miccoli upfront alongside Pinilla with Pastore just behind them in a 4-3-1-2 system.