Pouting, poaching Pippo the key to Kaka conundrum

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AS Roma-supporting friends of Serie Aaaaargh! deny they will be in front of their plasma screens next Sunday.

But even if they will never openly admit it, they will be just as engrossed in the outcome of the Milan derby as they will with tucking into their pizzas.

Although a weekend in the Eternal City was as enjoyable as ever and witnessing not one but two candidates for goal of the season was a bonus, Milan is the only place to be this week.

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Even the calcio-starved Brits are getting a taste of the good life thanks to the Beeb keeping tabs on Becks, who they must hope doesn’t run into a Spanish boot and go the same way of Ricky Kaka.

The Brazilian was kicked all over the San Siro by Reggina’s ninja-like assailants, with a combination of stealth and nifty rotation system - where no player ever committed two consecutive fouls - finally saw Ricky succumb to a fatal blow 20 minutes from the end.

How the Nerazzurri fans have been laughing on this bright Monday morning at the news that the greatest danger to their title hopes will be sidelined for the game of the season on Sunday.

However, their smiles may not be as wide this time next week if Carlo Ancelotti chooses to start Filippo Inzaghi alongside Alexandre Pato in attack.

The obvious solution to Kaka’s absence is to play Ronaldinho or Clarence Seedorf (or, god-forbid, both of them) but the Rossoneri need to win and who better to turn to than Pippo.

Still as puny-looking as ever and possessing that incredulous pout whenever he is deemed to be offside, the most annoying trait of all – for the opposition anyway – is that he knows where the back of the net is.

While Pato won’t say boo to a goose, Inzaghi will get under the skin of Ivan Cordaba, Walter Samuel and especially Marco Materazzi, which may give him that extra spilt second needed when playing off the shoulder of the last defender.

The man for the big occasion. Just ask Liverpool fans...

When he replaced Ronaldinho on Saturday, he looked as sharp as a razor with Beckham enjoying whipping in some tempting crosses for the poacher-king, who twice went close to sealing a late victory.

That cameo outing should be considered a dress rehearsal, and Ancelotti doesn’t need reminding that Inzaghi has scored four times in the derby, not to mention finding the net in the Champions League final in Athens and the World Club Cup final in Yokohama.

He’s the man for the big occasion wherever it may be, and this time that just happens to be at the San Siro on Sunday.

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