Where We Are
FIORENTINA (5-3-2, 6th in Serie A)
A sense of injustice is not an unfamiliar feeling to a Fiorentina fan, but the rancour carrying us into this tricky fixture is compounded and intense; not only did a terrible decision deprive us of the chance to deservedly tie the game AND suspend the invaluable Juan Cuadrado for this game ... but we left the field after our best team display of the season with zero points out of three.
Perhaps it is a blessing in disguise then, that we are forced to turn our attention immediately to another big match. All the same, the short turnaround doesn't leave Vincenzo Montella with the best of options. Already thin on the front line, injury problems to David Pizarro and Marko Bakic, as well as the continued absence of Matias Fernandez, leave la Viola thin in midfield as well. We'll need everything that ex-Milan Massimo Ambrosini can put in, having just returned from his own injury in time to face his old club. The return of Gonzalo Rodriguez will certainly bolster the defense, although a minor illness might also trouble the central defender. Joaquin should take Cuadrado's place on the right, while Vargas' natural width and power is favored to the pace and touch of young Ryder Matos behind the flying Giuseppe Rossi.
Where They Are
Milan (3-3-4, 10th in Serie A)
Other than an impressive home draw against Barcelona, the beginning to the rossoneri season has been disappointing at best. Mario Balotelli seems to have again lost his way, several absences leave Milan very short on defenders, and Massimiliano Allegri continues to inexplicably leave Andrea Poli on the bench, probably because he is too creative and might disrupt the delicate brand of defensive hoofball Milan have favored of late. So far this season, the only bright spots for Milan fans have been the two players that insist on playing with the ball despite Allegri's best efforts: returning hero Ricardo Kaka and youngster Valter Birsa. Despite Milan's current inconsistency, the frontline contains enough talent to present a problem for any team if it starts clicking.
Recent on and off the field disputes have made Milan - Fiorentina quite spicy in recent years, and I wouldn't expect this one to be any different. Milan are desperate for a big win to kickstart their season, while our boys will badly want to react positively to the Napoli match by beating another strongly disliked rival. Last season's 1-3 triumph was one of the high-water marks of the fall campaign and moved us to fourth in the table; a duplicate result could put is in the same spot and prove an invaluable launching pad into winter. Let's hope for another great performance, no funny business, and a feel-good Saturday!! Forza Viola!!
Milan (4-3-1-2-1) Abbiati; Abate, Zaccardo, Zapata, Constant; Montolivo, De Jong, Muntari; Mazzoleni; Birsa, Kaka; Balotelli
FIORENTINA (4-3-3) Neto; Tomovic, Gonzalo, Savic, Pasqual; Aquilani, Ambrosini, Borja Valero; Joaquin, Rossi, Vargas