Juventus-Milan Preview: Week 38's Big Matchup That Means Nothing at All
When the 2009-10 Serie A fixture list was released, the matchup of Juventus v. AC Milan on the season's final weekend was looked at as a potential Scudetto decider.
The schedule was set up for some great drama. The two teams that were expected to be Inter Milan's closest competition for the league title would be facing off against one another in what is always Serie A's best games of the season.
Well, there are two games that will determine who wins the Scudetto this weekend, but the battle between Juventus and Milan won't be one of them.
After a roller coaster season for Milan and a complete failure of a season for Juve, the two giants meet on Saturday with seemingly nothing to play for whatsoever. No Scudetto implications, no European implications, nothing at all.
That's the unfortunate truth. A game that usually has so much riding on it has been relegated to basically nothing.
The Bianconeri's finish is set in stone—seventh place and a spot in the Europa League qualifying round come late July.
Not exactly what people expected back in August, huh? Cue the sad trumpet music.
So Juventus enters the final game of the horror show that has been the 2009-10 campaign with history already being made and another "milestone" on the brink of happening as well. And it's not the good kind of history.
It's the stuff that nobody wants to ever happen—especially a club with such a rich history like Juventus.
The loss against Parma this past weekend marked Juve's 14th loss of the season . That, ladies and gentleman, is a figure that has never been seen in Torino before.
There could be more history be made in Milan on Saturday. If Juve allow three to find the back of the net—which, no matter what team is the opponent, is entirely possible—then they will break the record for most goals allowed in a single season.
To add insult to injury, this could be the final game in a Juventus uniform for two of the past decades biggest stars—David Trezeguet and Mauro Camoranesi. Rumors have been swirling that both Trez and Camo, and to a lesser extent goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, will be on their way out during the summer transfer window.
Camoranesi could start because of injuries to other midfielders, but it seems unlikely that Alberto Zaccheroni will hand a starting shirt to Trezeguet. If last weekend's match against Parma is any indication of playing time,. the poacher extraordinaire won't get much of a sendoff indeed it is his last with Juve.
It's unfortunate, but that's the reality with Zac making the decisions.
No matter what the result, after 90 minutes on Saturday, all of the pain and frustration that has been caused by this horror show of a season will finally come to an end.
Possible Starting XI (4-3-1-2): Buffon; Caceres, Legrottaglie, Chiellini, Grosso; Camoranesi, Poulsen, Felipe Melo; Candreva; Del Piero, Iaquinta
Much like Juventus, Milan's place in the standings has already been determined—a third-place finish and a spot in the Champions League qualifying round.
However, all is not right in Milan.
For one, the squad has taken a total nosedive since their 3-0 thrashing of Juventus back on Jan. 10 at the Stadio Olimpico.
What caused it? Well, losing Alessandro Nesta certainly was one of the biggest injury blows this season in all of Serie A. The same can be said about Pato being sidelined for a large portion of the campaign.
Put together the loss of those two key figures—along with plenty of other players in the Milan lineup—and you have a team that not only fell out of the Scudetto race, but also risked finishing out of the top four. Not exactly what the Milan had in mind.
But wait, there's more.
On top of the squad completely going down the tube, Saturday's match will be Leonardo's final game as Milan manager . The second half slide has seen the temperature under the Brazilian tactician's seat rise significantly and the announcement of his departure isn't much of a surprise.
That means, for the second consecutive summer, Milan will be preparing for the transfer window, the Champions League qualifying stages, and looking for a new manager.
Much like Juventinos, Milanistas just want the season to be over with. It's easy to understand why they have that kind of view.
Possible Starting XI (4-2-1-3): Dida; Zambrotta, Thiago Silva, Favalli, Antonini; Pirlo, Ambrosini; Seedorf; Pato, Borriello, Ronaldinho
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