Your teams are in. Zlatan misses the game through suspension for a slap – although Milan insist it was a friendly slap, in the same way that Genghis Khan was just messing around when he devastated large parts of Asia and Europe – but the good news for Milan is Pato has shaken off his injury problems and starts. Still they'll have to do without Kevin Prince Boateng too.
Milan: Abbiati, Abate, Mexes, Thiago Silva, Antonini, Nocerino, Van Bommel, Muntari, Emanuelson, Pato, Robinho. Subs: Amelia, Zambrotta, Nesta, Mesbah, Ambrosini, El Shaarawy, Inzaghi.
Juventus: Buffon, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini, Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Estigarribia, Borriello, Quagliarella. Subs: Storari, Caceres, De Ceglie, Pepe, Del Piero, Vucinic, Matri.
If either team wins tonight they'll be top of the table. Milan currently top the table but Juventus – with Pirlo and Buffon excellent this season – are on their longest ever unbeaten run in the league. If you're going to quibble, they do draw a lot of games so I'm afraid we may have to settle for a 7-7 bore draw tonight.
Coverage of tonight's match doesn't start on ESPN until 8.15pm so we'll be in the safe hands of Betfair's TV feed for the first half an hour. If I start spouting betting tips while describing a goal, you know who's to blame. If, on the other hand, I get all the information wrong, then you know normal service has resumed.
Big news elsewhere. Pointless has been promoted from its 5.35pm timeslot to primetime on a Saturday night. They fiddled with the format now though and there's a ridiculous picture round. I knew TV was dumbing down but this is beyong the pale.
Here's a stat from Serie A expert Paolo Bandini – he knows how to say dead long words in Italian and everything – that I was going to pass off as my own: "Zlatan has missed 16 league games since signing in August 2010 and Milan have lost only two of those: both away from home - against Palermo 1-0 last season, then against Napoli 3-1 this season. Otherwise they have won 10, drawn four." So playing without him isn't the disaster some might think.
Right. Evan Fanning has had to stick £10 into his Betfair account so we can watch the match, this is one professional firm we're running here. Now to try and figure out how to claim it back on expenses, I don't think there's an option for "Gambling."
And we're off. "As you're watching on Betfair TV, Tom, do you fancy a friendly bet that if Inzaghi gets on, you'll not get to the end of the match without typing the word offside at least twice beside his name," says Justin Kavanagh. "Come to think of it, even if he warms up he'll probably stray offside." Well, we've kind of types his name twice already. But, no that is not a bet I am willing to take.
Buffon has to clear the ball early. At the other end Abbiatti claws away a good cross from Lichtsteiner. Here's Lou Roper: "Curious teams: why are Nesta and Ambrosini on the bench and the wretched Mexes and unconvincing Muntari given starts? On the hand, Vucinic and Matri haven't been in great form, but neither has Borriello (who isn't as good to begin with). What's going on here?" Dunno. This wouldn't happen if we were watching it on William Hill TV.
Corner for Milan. They ponce around with it on the edge of the area. Things then get even slower when it comes to Robinho and he messes around with it long enough for Juve to win possession.
Muntari whips a long ball forward but Pato doesn't get forward on to it and Juve deal with the threat easily enough. Emanuelson then has a chance on the edge of the area but fluffs his shot. Milan are the more aggressive side early on.
Nocerino gets on the edge of a Muntari cross. He taps it across the six-yard box but no-one can get a touch. "Re: Your comment that this wouldn't happen if we were watching it on William Hill TV," said Justin Kavanagh. "I bet it would." You can get 10-1 on that on Ladbroke's at the minute.
Brilliant tackle by Muntari – excellent so far – wins the ball off Bonucci. Milan surge foward and win a corner. They haven't managed to fashion a chance from any of their set pieces yet though and Juve clear. "I smell clever conspiracy: Zlat suspended, but Mexes and Muntari play to nullify his absence and the MBM 'invests' GBP 10 'to acquire the Betfair feed' (ESPN3 are streaming the match) securing the dividend paid on the resulting 1-1 draw," says Lou Roper. "Serie A lives and the tea kitty sorted at Guardian Towers!" We have a tea kitty? They always make me drink out of the toilet bowl. I like orange squash though, so it's fine.
GOAL!!!!!! Milan 1-0 Juventus (Nocerino 14) That one's been coming. Juve give the ball away and Nocerino trundles forward, unleashes a shot that's deflected and Buffon is helpless. Juve only have themselves to blame – that's the second or third time they've given the ball to Milan in their own half.
Juve really have given a masterclass in woefulness tonight. They give the ball away again and Milan win a corner. "Really looking forward to this match if for no other reason than to wipe the performances I just watched by Bolton and Blackburn out of my mind," says JR. "Both of them deserve to be relegated based on their play today alone." I reckon it would take a 5-4 thriller to wipe that little lot from your mind.
Juventus are now failing to be fouled properly. Marchisio is clattered on the edge of the area but the ref waves play on.
Lichtsteiner has found some space on the right so far and his cross is deflected for a corner. Milan trot back to defend but the ball swings over the area and Milan pick it up to counter-attack.
Some top quality jinking from Robinho wins Milan a corner. Thiago Silva then gets a blow in what is known as the "upper thigh" in polite company. Milan celebrate – they're convinced that Muntari headed it over the line. I am too. And the rest of the world. And the rest of the solar system. The ref isn't though and he waves play on. Replays show it was a yard or two over.
Wonderful save from Buffon to deny Robinho, who was clean through on goal. I think he got it with his forehead. "Are you able to grab a glimpse of how excited the terraces are a San Siro from your betting stream? I am sitting In a train heading home to Copenhagen and have no possibilities to watch," says Lars Bøgegaard. After that non-decision it's safe to say they're a tad animated.
"JR neglected to mention the Wigan-Villa 'classic' as another wonderful candidate for showcasing The Most Exciting League in the World (TM) brought to us by you know who," says Lou Roper. "And that's just three matches from today's fixtures!" As I always say in these situations, thank the lord Wolves were around to save the day. This game, by the way, is an absolute barnstormer. A great advert for Betfair TV.
Pirlo attempts a token shot for Juve, possibly just to make their half-time stats look a bit better. It sails wide anyway. Van Bommel clatters Marchisio. Juve actually look surprised at that one for some reason.
Robinho slinks into the area and Juventus only just get it away. Juve are in dire need of some cataclysmic weather event to descend and end the game prematurely.
41 min: Emanuelson is hacked down by Barzagli as he skips down the left. Milan have a free-kick about 25 yards out and Barzagli has a yellow card. Thiago Silva stands five yards off the ball, his shot deflects off the wall and Van Bommel hits the rebound just wide.
Juventus are a bit better as the second-half approaches, in that they're only being outclassed rather than overwhelmed. Milan spread the ball around in defence.
Vidal almost equalises for Juve. The ball comes to him on the edge of the area and his shot flies just wide of the post. For now, a shot from distance will be the only way they'll score.
Half-time email: Ben Green at 101 Great Goals has sent me this video of The Goal That Wasn't. It Clearly Was.
quotable notable and the greatest living man of letters." I think this one from Gore kind of sums up Juve's evening. "It's not enough to succeed. Others must fail."We're back. Pepe is on for Estigarribia and El Shaarawy is on for Pato. Fabio Capello is in the crows and looks all the better for not being in the England job. Then again, who doesn't? "Good evening Tom," says Ryan Dunne. "I don't follow Serie A much (although am looking for footballing distractions from the current plight of the Glorious Glasgow Rangers), and am curious if Juventus' Vidal lives up to the burden of sharing a name with a
El Shaarawy nearly latches on to a through ball early on in the second-half. "How about Milan as shock dark horses for Champions League?! Muntari is immense and Robinho can score against anyone," says Stephen Robinson. "Also isn't the not-given Milan goal another in a long line of reasons for goal line technology." Hang on, Stephen, Milan have to get past the might of Arsen... Oh.
51 min: El Shaarawy is through again but he's off this time. The teenager has made some good runs in the first few minutes of this half and has been far better than the off-pace Pato. Vidal has a hoik from distance.
Juventus have been consistent: they're as bad defensively in this half as in the first one. A terrible backpass gifts a corner to Milan but the home team make a hash of it.
Vucinic is on for Borriello.
Robinho and El Shaarawy are pulling Juve all over the place, they're beginning to unsettle me slightly and I'm sat in an office in London.
Abate is left all alone on the right and his driven cross is deflected for a corner. It's overhit though. Muntari then narrowly fails to get on the end of a through ball into the area.
Milan are keeping possession, safe in the knowledge that even if they do give away the ball, Juve will only pass it back to them.
Another bad pass from Pirlo, he's been very quiet tonight. "I thought Guardian Towers overlooked a Norwegian fjord with perma sunset," says John Street. "I didn't know you were in London. I'm sorry." We had actually bought a Norwegian fjord for the office but some idiot bought a Norwegian Ford instead, which each member of staff only gets to use once every three years. I can't even drive so I just sit in it listening the radio and eating Revels.
"Juve will never give up," says Betfair's commentator. He's right too: Quagliarella has a chance two yards out and Abbiati saves brilliantly. Quagliarella is immediately taken off for Matri.
Emanuelson is on for Ambrosini who will add some beef in case Juve mount a few more attacks. Free kick for Juve on the edge of the area but it's wasted.
Terrible pass from Abbiati nearly gifts Juve a good chance. There's been a lot of gifting in this match, many of the players have been models of generosity. "What do you say on exiting the Norwegian Ford," says Phil Maynard. "'Our revels now are ended'"? I usually leave the coffee ones to be honest with you. In fact, if anyone sends in 7p, they're yours.
Milan scramble the ball away. This match has been much more even in the last 10 minutes. Milan really should have killed this game off. Juve have the ball in the net through Matri but it was flagged offside. He wasn't though. More BRILLIANT refereeing. "Sweden play much better and have more victories when Zlatan is not playing," says Leif Ove Lindgren. "In European qualifications since 2005, Sweden have lost one and won nine without him. With Zlatan Sweden have won only eleven matches out of twenty. He's simply not a team player and Milan will surely win tonight because they don't have to pass Zlatan all the time."
To the referee's credit he has given equally bad decisions in favour of both sides. Muntari is booked for a crunch on Pirlo.
Lovely move form Milan: they pass it across the line as they surge forward. But Robinho fluffs the final shot and Buffon saves.
This time Matri's goal counts. Pepe puts in a brilliant cross and Matri diverts the ball into the net. A lovely, sly finish.
Milan's defence had started to zone out in the minutes leading up to that goal. This game was there for the taking. If this does end 1-1, we may hear about Milan's non-goal again a few thousand times.
That goal has put some fizz back into Milan but they're running out of time. "Milan, in the Champions League, will be beaten by the next team they face," says Ben Dunn. "Arsenal were shown to be the defensive shambles they have been for a year. They were so poor even Ibra looked like a Champions League boss (he isn't). And I watched the Juve - Milan CL final back in the day and it was pish."
Can Juve take this? Vucinic steams forward but he ends up steaming into the area and out for a goal-kick. He forgot to pass - easy mistake to make. And Vidal is sent off for a hack on Van Bommel. I'm sure that's supposed to be the other way round.
Robinho is felled by Pepe and the ref shows the yellow to the Juve player. Milan have a free-kick around 35-yards out. Four minutes of injury time ...
Thiago Silva's free-kick heads for the ball, the ball eventually ends up in the box but Buffon dives in to win the ball for Juve.