At the beginning of the season, few would've imagined that Parma would be the favorites going into Sunday's match at the San Siro. But with Milan in tenth, eight points back of the ducali, the hosts aren't odds-on to win. Particularly since no one can remember the last time Parma actually lost a match.
Clarence Seedorf keeps insisting on using a 4-2-3-1 system, but it hasn't brought success to the team so far, and it doesn't seem to suit the players Milan have. Yet the Dutch coach keeps constantly rotating the three players sitting behind Mario Balotelli, in hopes he will stumble on the perfect combination; so far, it has not happened. Against Parma, it's expected that Andrea Poli will play more offensively than usual, sitting behind Balotelli with Ricardo Kaka and Keisuke Honda on the flanks. Captain Riccardo Montolivo and Sulley Muntari will be the two holding midfielders.
Roberto Donadoni will have to do without one of his star players, Gabriel Paletta, whose excellent defense has contributed to Parma's extended unbeaten run -- and earned him his debut for Italy. Felipe will step in in his absence, while Afriyie Acquah replaces the injured Walter Gargano.
With five clean sheets in their last six games (only Fiorentina have managed to break through) it's almost certain Milan's attack will stumble against Parma. But they're likely to be worried about their frail defense as well, coming up against the talent of Antonio Cassano and the quickness of Jonathan Biabiany.
AC Milan injuries and suspensions:
Parma injuries and suspensions:
Walter Gargano (injuredy), Gabriel Paletta (suspended)
Projected line ups:
Sunday at 3 p.m. local, 10 a.m. ET
Stadio San Siro, Milan
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