Friday, May 21, 2010

new blog

Next season's blog can be found at the URL below. See you there!

end of season


Its the end of another story. A story that wasn't a fairy tale even if the ending somewhat resembled one. We had a new, young coach who left the club because he refused to be dominated by the President. And we had an unlikely candidate become our best player and being pivotal to our European qualification.

This season, we witnessed the worst defense Milan have had in recent history. Abate and Antonini were employed at fullback position. Our central striker was Marco Borriello and Pirlo continued his dismal form for yet another season running. Flamini was benched in favor of Ambrosini, and that counted in the big games. The lack of a hard man in midfield enable teams to run riot and we were on the receiving end of 4-0 scorelines. We fans suffered remarkable humiliation in Europe and Milan became a laughing stock. So pay attention and you would know that not much has changed since last year.

However credit must be given to Leo who tried to make a difference. Even though he is complimented and congratulated beyond rational limits, Leo did takea bunch of hags and newbies and accomplished European qualification that even 'double' winner Ancelloti couldn't at one point in time. Ancelloti still had Kaka and Maldini. Leonardo on the other hand had an impotent Hunterlaar and and a lame Favalli. Kudos then to the departing coach.

Standout player for me, by far is Ronaldinho. He has been the most consistent player for the team. He leads the domestic table in assists and has scored a good number of goals. If Borriello had taken his chances, Borriello would have won probably won the Capoconnoneire and Ronaldinho would have been rewarded by UEFA for most assists in a season in football's recorded history. Alas, Borriello was too preoccupied with his dashing charm and hairstyle and less on the job of scoring goals. We saw very little of Gattuso and Inzaghi, even Seedorf. This is a very good sign. Silva performed bravely this season without the tutelage of Nesta. The Brazilian did all he could to save the face of the club from a defender's perspective, but when you form a line of defense with Favalli, Abate and Antonini, being Lucio also wouldn't help. Nesta kept things tidy at the back with his partner for large parts of the season it was a two man show.

Pato. This lad convinces me and goes the mile to bring me back to square one. I still don't rate Pato. Are you shocked? Not surprised, many are when I tell them the same. Agreed he is very young, but that is his problem. He is very young. He would do very well at a Chelsea or a Manchester United. But sadly, AC Milan is not a club for someone like him. The pressure on him is telling; this to such an extent that he goes missing, quite literally. Either he is having a bad game or he is injured. He has his days when he is almost unplayable, but there are many youngsters like that in Europe.

After yet another disappointing season, we now look at the transfer period to give us hope. We are linked with a host of promising names; Krasic, Dzeko, Otamendi and the likes. Not fancy names, but names that could make a positive impact at the club. Allegri seems favorite to take up the reigns for the coming season. A new era beckons? Let's hope so.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

farewell leo


AC Milan 3 Juventus 0

If you have read my blog of late, you would have seen the face above quite often. This is probably the last time you will see it in my blogs, be relieved. A fitting farewell for a man who the world believes has done a very good job with the squad that he had at his disposal. I think he has done a good job, but he could have done better. But I have repeated that on a number of occasions, so wont do that again.

This game should have ideally been a mouthwatering clash. Two of Italy's biggest clubs in a season finale. But alas, it was just a random tie with no real significance. Both clubs have experienced misery this season. After the game, I had no doubt which of the two clubs was in a more miserable condition. Juventus have lost 15 games this season, a club record not matched since 1962. Not sure they want to match it again, but so apathetic was their display, I don't think having hope is going to bring any solace. We rolled over them. How many times have I said that this season? You can only imaging how poor Juve were, unless of course you have watched the game. Antonini finished better than Iaquinta, Ronaldinho scored two goals with admirable precision and Milan dominated a game that should have been equally balanced. Call it drive from the players to bid adieu the coach of their team in respect or call it the apathy of the Bianconeri. The result speaks for itself. Seedorf had a good game and so did our defense. This hasn't happened very often this season, has it? Which brings me to wonder, how hard must Zaccheroni have tried to mess Juve up? I wouldn't have succeeded if I willfully tried. Yes, Juve don't have the best team in Europe, but a 3-0 loss to Milan, given the team Milan have is unjustified. Am I being ungracious to Leo's men? No, just being real.

Season has ended, its been a horros show of sorts. The wait has been painful. Now the wait begins for a new coach, a new team. More on that later. For now, lets stand up and applaud for Leonardo, for what he accomplished in his first season as coach, given his resources. Lets be glad, that his season ended in 'honor'.

Milan - Antonini 14', Ronaldinho 29', 68'
Juventus - /

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

behind closed doors

Giuseppe Sculli

Genoa 1 Milan 0

There are two ways a team can respond while facing failure with remarkable consistency. It could either emerge from the shadows like Batman or sink like the Titanic. AC Milan's run-in as been much like the latter. By the time you read this, the season would be over. Leonardo would have left the club and Berlusconi would have said for the umpteenth time that he should be coach. Fans would have protested in vain. Life wouldn't have changed much.

But its worth commenting on. Genoa have made concrete efforts to build their team after a stellar season. This season hasn't quite been the same but they had the ammunition and the defense to hold Milan at bay. Appalling work rate by the visiting side added to the result favoring the home side. Borriello characteristically misfired in front of goal. His season is still considered to be a success. Much to the extent that United have apparently bid 21 million Euros for the striker. Klass-Hunterlaar isn't compatible with Borriello and questions can now be raised on whether he is big club material. The goal we conceded though should be testamant to the fact that we have the most miserable defense amongst the top clubs in Europe. Text book header from Sculli as he was left unmarked. The man to be faulted here is Borriello. Well, surprise surprise. Neither can he attack, nor can he defend. Lippi however thinks otherwise. How else would you explain the call up to the national side.

Leonardo has had a tough time against the big sides. Or even the reasonably big ones. The goal was scored in the 57th minute and the coach couldn't gather a goal in 33 minutes against Genoa. Not saying they have a poor defense, no. Even if Criscito shackled Pato for most of the game, taking shots at the most out-of-form keeper in Italy should have helped. But we didn't do that either. However, the team bounced back against Juventus. Surprisingly.

Genoa - Sculli 57'
Milan - /

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

vague viola


AC Milan 1 Fiorentina 0

It's safe to say, Milan have been incredibly unpredictable this season. Just like how Fiorentina have been incredibly indifferent this season. Explains why this result surprises me and doesn't, both at the same time. If calculations be regarded, this was supposed to end in Fiorentina's favor. They have a better team, a better coach and are more driven than we are. But here we are, securing a place in next season's Champions League, arguably, undeservedly.

With Leo set to leave at the end of this season (thank goodness!), the team are adamant to end this season with 'honor'. I chuckle everytime I read/write that statement. Well, they have taken one step closer with this result. Our best player this season stood out, once again and won the game for us. I must admit that it would have been relatively easier for him with 3/4 first team opposition defenders out with injury. A few realizations dawned upon me after this game. Zambrotta and Antonini should take skating lessons; they are used to falling on the pitch when they are expected to stand tall and defend. Borriello can be transferred to a mid table team where he can be a 'prolific' hitman, because the number of chances he squanders, if converted can win us the Scudetto for the next 3 seasons. Huntelaar is over-rated, period. Seedorf needs to be reminded of his age and shown periodically where the goal actually is. Finally coming to Pirlo, he can be cast in a Hollywood flick as an invisible character. Think horror, slasher flick? Pirlo can rake millions because he is perenially anonymous. He would create a niche for himself in the industry. Not to mention the number of hours he spends at the salon when he should be practicing his set pieces.

With 2 games to go, I can't wait for this campaign to end. Ridiculed, insulted, torn apart, frustrated, humiliated, angered. Some of the feelings that I have experienced. With Leo leaving, these feelings might not necessarily reduce in intensity, but surely in number. Anyway, let's focus on Juventus and Genoa. Honor? We'll see.

AC Milan
- Ronaldinho 78' pen
Fiorentina - /

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Leonardo Sacrimento

Palermo 3 AC Milan 1

I know, its not plumetting, but plummeting. But this post is about getting your basics right. The face that you see in this blog post is one that angers me beyond comprehension. After the game, Leo stated that he would like to end the season with honor. Considering we are facing Fiorentina, Juventus and Genoa, I hardly see that happening.

Inter beat Atalanta 3-1, and Palermo beat Milan with the same scoreline. I can see more than one similarity there. The coach states that the poor performances are due to a lack of first team players playing in these games. Yes 5-6 first team players might be missing, but is the second string so deficient in quality that we crash and burn against a team like Palermo. Take a look at the 3 goals Palermo scored. A well organized defense would not have allowed any of those goals to be scored. Absolutely catastrophic defending! Such textbook mistakes that even a rookie isn't allowed to commit. But Leonardo is a tactical noob who happens to have amassed a wealth of knowledge about the sport. Well, he certainly snoozed during the course on basics. On the first goal, who was guarding the far post? On the second goal, why was Massimo Oddo performing a ballet move. And on the third, why was the above mentioned veteran staring at Miccoli's plums instead of closing the latter down? Oddo was played at centre-back for the second game running. Whatever happened to Darmian and Albertazzi? Jankulovski's legs have gone numb and yet he gets a start. Verdi, someone? We play over the hill players, out of position, and expect to end the season in 'honor'? Leonardo has done more damage to this team, from a brand perspective, than he has helped in bringing us European football qualification places. I am shocked that he is still holding the reigns of this team.

There are talks of Tassoti and Galli handling the team next season. Not many people have warmed up to the idea. I think its a plan worth executing. Why? Tassoti has worked with Ancelloti for awhile and his level of experience surpasses that of Leonardo by miles. Yes, he doesn't have Leo's pretty face. But neither does Fabio Cappello or Alex Ferguson. What matters is that he gets the basics right, with any team he gets. We might not win, but we certainly won't plummet in this fashion.

Palermo - Bovo 9', Abel Hernandez 19', Miccoli 69'
Milan - Seedorf 55'

Monday, April 19, 2010

leo leave

Leonardo Sacrimento

Sampdoria 2 AC Milan 1

I have liked Leo in his approach, but have never condoned his genuine love for tactical retardation. Leo is everything you don't want in a coach. And when you are playing a team desperate to win the 4th spot, you never play Bonera in central defense, especially when the opposition has an explosive strike force. Even after you have committed that error, you never play a full back in the same position when you are one man down. But Leonardo has had an entire season to learn common sense and has shown no signs of learning it.

We have had an awful run of results and I dearly wish that we lose the remaining games too. It would surely disclose to the world our true quality as we have portrayed a fable of sorts deceiving many. Borriello seems to be thriving amidst this mess. Ronaldinho is still putting in endearing performances. Mancini continues to miss open goal chances. But I have one man to blame. Why would you play Mancini when you need to score goals during a drought period? Why would you play Seedorf deep in midfield? No, you wouldn't, but Leo would. Bonera's horrendous tackle will tell you volumes about his ineptness. Yet he is played. Don't we have youngsters who could and probably should be given a chance? We are out of the running for the title, we never were in it in the first place. We are struggling with our hags, then why not try out some young blood. After the defeat Leonardo has the audacity to say the team had no motivation. Mister, it is your job to see that they are motivated! I could go on and on about what a failure this novice has been, who should have quit in dignity after disgracing this team at the hands of United and Inter. But he is still warming the bench.

He has done some fair bit of good work, but that doesn't suffice. Not when he is managing AC Milan. His appointment was a big mistake, if he decides to stay on, it will be a bigger mistake. Thankfully, Milan are letting him go at the end of the season. Credit be given, the bloke did get some flukes right in Dida and Inzaghi. But if he says that Abate, Ambrosini and Antonini have been finds of the season then we all know what to expect come the new season; this obviously if he continues endorsing inappropriate role.

Sampdoria - Cassano pen. 59' , Pazzini 92'
AC Milan - Borriello 20'

Monday, April 12, 2010

end of a dream

Marco Borriello

AC Milan 2 Catania 2

When you are a fan of one of the biggest football clubs in the world and you see your team go down by two goals in the first half, in your own ground, being completely outplayed by a minnow, it's a feeling equivalent to being sawed alive. Fiorentina had stalled Inter in their march towards the title, and what we needed to do was take advantage of the slip up. But we take our brotherly love a bit too seriously.

Catania took the lead from Lopez's opener. The former Barcelona man has been the signing of the January window of sorts for the Rossazzurri. AC Milan made lame attempts to equalize and the away side decided to take the game seriously. The counter attack resulted in the second goal. Ricchuiti who had assisted Lopez for the opener got onto a free header (which Antonini should have cleared) and headed home the away side's second. After the game resumed, we found ourselves back in the game as Borriello headed from close range. Favalli was replaced by Flamini as Ambrosini moved back into a centre back role. Whenever this happens, it freaks me out. Leonardo went overboard as he brought on Inzaghi and Mancini. As usual, it worked. Catania were pushed back into their own half. Abate's cross was chested down by Borriello who shot with his weaker foot past the keeper with 10 minutes to go. Ambrosini wore the clown's hat at the back and with Dida behind him, he found a mate. A series of howlers followed, but Lopez couldn't make the most of it. The game ended in a draw.

This marks the end of the dream. In the last one and half months, we had our chances to take a substantial lead over Roma and Inter. But we all know how we responded to the easy fixtures. From here on, we play Fiorentina, Juventus, Sampdoria, Palermo and Lazio. We are 3 points behind Inter and 4 points behind Roma. With due respect to the other teams in the competition, the top 2 have a much easier run in. To overtake them and win the league from here on would be preposterous. The challenge now however, is to hold onto the 3rd spot. We have a 10 point lead over 4th placed Palermo and Sampdoria. But never say never, yeah?

AC Milan - Borriello 48', 80'
Catania - Lopez 12', Ricchuiti 37'

Friday, April 9, 2010

still chasing

Davide Astori

Cagliari 2 AC Milan 3

It's a bit hard to update games as soon as they are played because I don't have net at home. Soon though, things should be back to normal. However, by the time you read this, Cagliari would have sent their coach Allegri packing. A shocking decision, I think. We could not have won this game if not for Astori, who revealed his love for the club by scoring an own goal.

Borriello opened the scoring by mocking the defense with a simple turn. Milan could have gone 2-0 up but Antonini failed to convert. Our defense without Nesta simply comprises of 4 blind men who constantly run into each other. That is what happened on the equalizer. Huntelaar some two minutes later scores a blinder, not the kind of goal you would associate with a misfiring hitman. Borriello should have made it two for himself when he combined with Ronaldinho, and the Brazilian's pass was volleyed over. Quite obviously, the miss came back to haunt us as Pirlo characteristically lost the ball in midfield causing our static defense to forgo another goal.This time it was another youth product, namely Matri who was drawing the applause reminding Galliani of another poor piece of business. We were gifted our third. Marchetti knocking Abate's cross onto Astori who turned it into the goal. After the restart, Ragatzu's effort skimmed the crossbar. Favalli was going around in circles as he embarrassingly tried to defend against the young striker in Ragatzu. It was all Cagliari in the closing stages as we tried to grind out the half. Dida had to produce a spectacular double save on Larrivey to keep Milan in the lead. The final whistle was sounded bringing relief to the away side.

Cagliari have been going through a blue patch in form, there is no denying that. Yet, we had to play our guts out to win this game. Complaining I am not, all I care about it is the result. Whether you win by a metre or a mile, winning is winning. But maybe that doesn't apply, if you are AC Milan.

Cagliari - Ragatzu 17', Matri 32'
Milan - Borriello 7', Huntelaar 19', Astori (o.g) 37'

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Ignazio Abate

AC Milan 1 Lazio 1

5. That is the number of players missing from our first team. But you would still expect the team playing at home to pick on a lowly Lazio side. The side from Rome haven't had an admirable season. Struggling in the bottom half, they would have come to Milan anticipating a defeat, so when they drew, the delight was evident.

Roma winning in the weekend should have given Milan enough belief to win. But the old men decide to put in an indifferent performance, like there is nothing to play for, nothing to lose. It's worst when you ardently follow a team and they play with such indifference.

Seedorf thrived in the play-maker role, creating and shooting at every given instance. Flamini worked his socks off and also provided a world class save to keep the scores level. Inzaghi was painfully wasteful and Borriello was ineffective, yet again. Antonini made a hash of a clearance giving Lazio the opportunity to equalize. This again raises questions on the quality of our fullbacks. I like Antonini, but I don't see him having sufficient talent to be employed in the fullback role. Likewise, Zambrotta, who is clearly past his prime. Antonini did strike the bar later on in the game with an enthusiastic shot, but that wasn't enough to redeem him. Lazio were reckless in their chances and probably should have taken more from the game. Abate is another player I would like to talk about. Abate is our new Brocchi, plays with his heart on his sleeve, but largely lacking with the final product. He needs to pay close attention to what he does with the ball, as his off the ball movement and work rate is amongst the best their is in the team.

Cagliari now; aren't an easy opposition. They got players who can trouble us, ironically players from our camp. Matri and Astori, for example. We will have Pirlo and Ronaldinho back for the game, should provide us with more bite up front. It's going to be a nail biting finale, I think.

Milan - Borriello 18' (pen)
Lazio - Lichtsteiner 33'!v=9y2LzQaZO-E&feature=sub&videos=hqcKE42D7cY

Friday, March 26, 2010

is it over?

Andrea Pirlo

Parma 1 AC Milan 0

Questions need to be asked. Answers need to be demanded. The press in Italy are not too demanding, it seems. But the fans disappoint me further. How can the Rossoneri faithful sit and watch their team lose 5 games in 30? Since 2005, our team has taken a disgraceful dive in form and in stature. Still, the management tends to get away with the same stale excuses. The fans were made to believe in the title, but this result just brings us back to our feet giving us a taste of reality. How good are AC Milan really? AC Milan 0 Manchester United 4, AC Milan 0 Inter Milan 4, AC Milan 2 Manchester United 3 etc. Such periodic alarms are required to tell us that the honeymoon period is just that.

Parma are not a great team. With Dzemailli and Palsochi out, they shouldn't have been too much to deal with. Yet, we blame it on luck when Bojinov scores in the last minute. The fact that Parma rolled over us and barely gave us a sniff at goal is overlooked. Leonardo deserves a bit of stick for this result, but he is labelled a magician for bringing us this far. How about thanking Jose and Juve for giving us the chance to come this far? Leo is barely a tactician. He has been smothered against the big boys. Case example when he faced off with Alex and Jose. Guidolin isn't a poor manager by any stretch of imagination, he has built a formidable side in Parma FC. The Italian truly dabbled with Leo in this game. Pirlo had one of his better outings. He worked hard and if not for the usually wasteful Inzaghi, would've had an assist to his name. Ronaldinho took the day off, so did Marco Borriello. Flamini worked hard but continued shooting everywhere but at the goal. And how would you have guessed, that our usual hero would turn the villain in this game. Abbiati's awful clearance led to the goal, but the forwards shouldn't have let this one goal make such a huge difference.

I think the dream has come to an end. Roma's game at the weekend might spice up the race for the title, but only for those involved in the game. I would love to see Roma win the Scudetto. It would be a wonderful reward for the Roman resurgence. Why not us? Two words; run-in.

Parma - Bojinov 90'
Milan - /

Thursday, March 25, 2010

home sickness

Walter Mazzari

AC Milan 1 Napoli 1

Gone are the days when teams used to tremble as they walked the tunnel of the San Siro. When they faced the crowds shouting down at them. When they shook hands with the players dressed in red and black. Now, teams come home, outplay us and walk with their heads held high.

Napoli completely played us off the park in the first half. Starting from making a mockery of our defense for the first goal to Flamini providing a world class sliding tackle to keep the game alive, Napoli were taking the game to us. Lavezzi was running riot. Inzaghi somehow managed to get on the end of Ronaldinho's cross to head home the equalizer. Gargano, Maggio, Quagliarella,Hamsik and Lavezzi had their efforts denied by Abbiati. Milan on the other hand barely threatened. But when they did, they disappointed. Mancini had a splendid chance to win the game but shot right at the keeper from point blank range. Reason why Inter have kept him warming the bench since his arrival to the fashion capital.

Question is, is this a team that is fighting for the title? Napoli aren't an easy team to play, but then when you are playing at home and when you are Milan, you simply have to be the better team. Period. Yes, injuries have decimated the team, but these excuses aren't justified at this level, not anymore. Inzaghi scored the goal, but I still cringe when I see him on the pitch playing for us when we have Huntelaar on the bench, fit and raring to go. I still think he is the best of the bunch. Even if his records don't support my view.

AC Milan - Inzaghi 26'
Napoli - Campagnaro 13'

Thursday, March 18, 2010

becks breaks

David Beckham

AC Milan 1 Chievo 0

We have probably seen the last of David Beckham as a Milan player. A phenomenon of sorts, he was given a king's reception when he first arrived at the club. But his departure wasn't scripted as fabulously as his arrival was. I have personally considered him to be a pop star's hubby, a fashion figure. But seeing him play for Milan, giving his all at 34, made me think, he is one guy who actually deserves all the hoo ha he gets. Sadly, it's all over.

Injuries piled, as Beckham was given a start. Milan wanted to redeem some pride after the forgettable night at Old Trafford. The tempo that Milan played at the San Siro was quite high. Clattered challenges and disrupted play not providing for pleasurable viewing, neither keeper was being tested. Chievo were given time and space to play and almost punished us, as their shot hit the post. Instead of controlling the game, we were rushing into attacks not utilizing possession well. It appeared as though some amateur was playing FIFA 10. Beckham's work rate and heart was admirable, truly motivating. Leo decided to go ultra-offensive, as he brought on Inzaghi for Gattuso. Second half was more purposeful, but we couldn't do anything with our chances as Yepes was marking Borriello strongly. Pirlo's characteristic pointless performances amaze me as to how he lasts on the pitch for the whole game. Beckham had a glorious chance as the wonderful pass from Ronaldinho was begging to be put away. But, well he didn't take it. Inzaghi could have easily had a hatrick. The veteran has clearly lost his touch. Seedorf comes off the bench and scores with a pile driver! Oh, what a delightful sight that was. The noise at the San Siro was deafening. I suppose this indicates how much the Scudetto means to the tifosi.

With Becks out, we are now in serious problems concerning fielding a strong 11 and having a decent bench. We aren't famous for squad depth, and now that the top spot is only a sniff away, it would be a shame if we didn't contend for the title till the end. Inter's progression in the Champions League is a good sign for Italian football but more so for us. They can continue staying distracted and dropping points as we breathe down their necks. Napoli next, but with Pato and Seedorf returning to main team, our firearms are locked and loaded.

AC Milan - Seedorf 91'
Chievo - /

Thursday, March 11, 2010

david's homecoming

David Beckham

Manchester United 4 AC Milan 0

My last post was titled 'give me more'. If you read it, you would have understood that I was asking for more effort, more goals, more of a favorable result. AC Milan then go on to give me the exact opposite. It's becoming a trend now. Moments before kick off, the tifosi received news that Pato, Antonini and Nesta were sidelines due to injury. I am sure many would have switched off their TV sets and headed to bed right away. A funeral was on it's way. United were going to 'celebrate' it in style.

Right from the start, Ferguson used his experience, and attacked a make-shift Milan defense. 3/4 defenders weren't first choice. Ferguson must have told his boys to attack the hags. And so they did, being duly rewarded. We did have our chances initially, both Ronaldinho and Huntelaar making a mess of neatly gifted opportunities. Rooney had to score and he did, inevitably. Bonera was knocked off like a 6 year old as Rooney guided his header past Abbiati. From then on, the blokes from Manchester went on to play one of their best games this season. United defense was sturdy and won all the aerial challenges. Vidic and Ferdinand partnership was impervious at times. After letting in the first goal, the visitors lacked any motivation, imagination or creativity and were performing a formality for the remainder of the game. United were pressing from the front giving the men in black very little time on the ball. The Milan forwards however went on a walk every-time the team lost the ball. 

After the break, Bonera was replaced by Seedorf, and we had Ambrosini pushed back to perform the centre half duties. This was an invitation to open the floodgates and for United to have their own party. The rest as they say is history. In the very first minute, United ripped open the comical line of defense at the back for Rooney's second. Huntelaar then had a chance to put some life into the tie but his shot goes amiss. Park's doesn't. Beckham was then brought on to introduce some nostalgic element. He turns out to be our best performer! His shot from distance should have been a goal, unfortunately it was hit straight at Van Der Sar. One amongst the many realizations that I had was; Ronaldinho is no longer good enough to play at this level. His form in the Serie A is a false alarm. Beckham played like a possessed man, his crosses near deadly. He backtracked, stole the ball, opened up play. But one among the many hags called Inzaghi, who was caught offside 3 times in 15 minutes, couldn't convert a simple tap-in from a Beckham delivery. United clearly were the better team, and thoroughly deserved to progress. This was an extraction of sweet revenge for the happenings of 2007.

I was embarrassed from what I saw. Humiliated by the thrashing received so graciously by a team that I love. I couldn't believe I had set an alarm for this game. Had to swallow lumps of saliva to digest what was happening. Yes, a detailed description of how I felt. I was particularly angered by a few players on the pitch. Borriello - needs to be sold asap. His quality isn't sufficient and is inconsistent for a club of AC Milan's magnitude. He is a big game choker and simply lacks the technical ability or strength to play at this level. Huntelaar should join him on a plane in the summer. I have defended the Dutchman for long, but I have truly run out of excuses. He cuts a sorry figure time and again and it makes perfect sense as to why Madrid sold him. Pirlo needs a successor and quick! He moves slower than a snail, and you could have a crippled man marking him and the lame would still get the better of our 'midfield maestro'. Silva isn't ready and without Nesta seems lost. Abate and Jankulovski need to be relegated to the reserves. Sure the former is hardworking, but running around the park is called running around the park. It's not called football. I wont bother to comment on Bonera. The longer he stays injured, the better it is for the club and the fans. Finally, Leonardo. What he has done with this club is significant. But it is a bit over-rated. Our competitors in the Serie A have had a largely indifferent season. Inter have slipped so many times that I think Mourinho would be pleasantly surprised and possibly amused to find his team leading the pack. But Leonardo is largely unimaginative and isn't the man for the job. I am not judging him based on 90 minutes. But we have succumbed to heavy defeats under him when playing against Europe's elite. He is too attack minded and is a noob when it comes to tactics. Coaches of Fergie's calibre would eat him alive. We need new, young, skilled players. But we also need a man who can take us out of this mess. And his name isn't Leonardo Sacrimento.

United - Rooney 13', 46', Park 60', Fletcher 87'
Milan - /

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

give me more

Mathieu Flamini

AS Roma 0 AC Milan 0

I watched on as Milan put in one of the best attacking displays I have seen this season. Flamini ran the show for the Rossoneri. One of his finest performances since his move to Italy. I was left craving for more. A feeling similar to that of Flamini's, who would be itching to become a starting figure for AC Milan.

Roma haven't been beaten since late last year. They have shot up the table to every one's surprise. A few months ago, I would have been amazed if Roma found themselves challenging for European spots. Now they are in with a realistic shout for the title!

They started with a clear intent as they bossed Milan for the first 15 minutes. De Rossi and Baptista went close. They used the length and breadth of the pitch to come at AC Milan. But the visitors started to find their way into the game, albeit their finishing letting them down consistently. Ronaldinho was largely anonymous during the first 45 minutes, but even considering his poor showing, Milan should have been ahead at the break.

We created enough chances in the game to win the Scudetto. But our incapacity to finish was alarming. Huntelaar was being played in Pato's position. The Dutchman wasn't coping with the demands of beings a flank forward. Pato was sorely missed. Borriello saw the board and walked after a horrendous outing. As my friend said, he is Gilardino's heir at Milan. The Italian hitmen constantly go on a holiday when the situation gets a bit tense. Borriello had enough chances to score a hatrick. But he chose to make a mess of every opportunity that came his way. AS Roma started getting desperate as they resorted to long range shooting in the hope of some luck. Ronaldinho had a free header from a Beckham delivery, but he nodded it wide. Huntelaar also missed a free header which would haunt him for a few nights. Many things in the world will not be proven even if there was abundant proof to prove it. Pirlo stinks at taking free-kicks, but still finds himself lining up to take them. Many fans would like to know why he is still being employed to perform a task he clearly isn't good at.

We played a superb game in front of a packed audience away from home. That can be taken as promise. I am not going to lash out at this team and brutalize them with abuse for not having won the game. I am going to congratulate them on showing Italy why they are still AC Milan. Why with a bunch of washed out players, we can outplay the team that has been on the ascendancy for the last few months. Winning titles remains an unrealistic objective. Then why frown over dropped points? Yes, Totti and Mexes weren't playing. De Rossi wasn't a 100%. There were favorable factors. But looking beyond excuses, this game has prepared us well to face the mighty Manchester United. Confidence would surely be high. Just this time, give me more.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

lucky duck unlucky


AC Milan 3 Atalanta 1

There is probably no questioning the starlet's repertoire. He is a fascinating talent. And one look at his recent record might tell you that he is in some fine goal scoring form. But look deeper, and you will realize that it's primarily because he is riding on luck. He tends to find himself at the right place at the right time. You might argue "hey that's striker intelligence". I'd tell you that this is Alexandre Pato, not Fillipo Inzaghi. I must admit that I am happy to type his name after every game, but the consistency with which he is scoring these scrappy goals irritates me. This because I know he is capable of so much more.

Ronaldinho's overhead kick should have been rewarded with a goal, but his shot lacked placement. Both teams seemed to deploy a counter attacking strategy, the Orobici especially with their speed. Jamie Valdes was always able to get ahead of the defense. Tiribocchi too had his share of chances, but Nesta had a leash on him. No much later, Ronaldinho's backheel was received by Ambrosini, whose deflected cross fell into the path of Pato, who unleashed his volley. He has been scoring with some volleys recently, which is also how Borriello usually finds his name on the score sheet. Pato got lucky once again, with a chip from Ronaldinho being deflected off the striker into the back of the net. 2-0 at half time.

Atalanta did find a way back into the game, after some atrocious defending by Bonera gave Valdes an opportunity to drive one past Abbiati. Bonera redeemed some face after he was brought down in the opposition penalty area. Ronaldinho missed his 3rd penalty of the season, but Borriello pounced on the ball to make it number 9. Official news is that Ronaldinho is being replaced with Pirlo for penalty taking duties. No guarantee with the Italian though. Word. Pato then limped off after pulling a muscle in the 78th minute, and is out of action for 7-10 days. Thankfully, Gattuso got himself booked and wont make the trip to the capital next week.

4 points short of Inter. 4 points clear of Roma. 2nd place seems like a cosy nest at the moment. But pushing higher probably is high on the agenda. With us (practically) crashing out of the Champions League and Inter on their way to the QF, you'd reckon that this race is not over yet. Yes, its not over yet.

AC Milan - Pato 29', 40', Borriello 62'
Atalanta - Valdes 56'

Monday, March 1, 2010

it's all about winning

Alberto Gilardino

Fiorentina 1 AC Milan 2

'He wasn't successful at the club'. Debatable, but the fact that isn't is he was at the club and was treated fairly. Yet, his celebrations bring a sense of ingratitude towards the club that made him an international figure. I have always liked and supported Gila, but after this game, I have begun to think otherwise.

We suffered in the game. Fiorentina were more organized, committed and hungrier for the result. So maybe the win wasn't a fair one. But since we won, I don't really care. Winning matters, at the end of the day, only winning matters. 3 points on the table can't be substituted for anything else really. Can it?

Vargas and co. were running into and around the visitors. Abbiati was having one of those tough nights, as he was asked to pull out a save in mid air to deny Vargas. Both clubs were going close with their shots, with keepers at either end palming the ball away from kissing the net. Borriello and Pato would have hoped to have been more clinical, as they scuffed some good chances. Barcelona boy Keirrison almost made the most of Jankulovski's error but yet again, Abbiati had to come to the rescue. Huntelaar was Leo's last throw of the dice, and how uncharacteristic of the new MVB to score. Stunning finish at near post as Frey was sent in the wrong way. Wonderful one-two with Ronaldinho before the goal was scored. Keirrison was denied by Abbiati from close range and Vargas got Abbiati into an athletic mood. 92nd minute and Pato scores the winner! Undeserved as it might be, it would have left the Viola frustrated after having put in a top performance. Getting lucky is part and parcel of being a winning team.

The string of wins puts more pressure on Inter, who are surely looking over their shoulder. Milan are putting in a set of impressive results even if the output on the given day isn't up to the mark. While playing well is very important, winning is top priority. It's time we started discarding class and begin being brutal in our game. Not hinting at opening up the Calciopoli books again, no, but requesting a change in mindset and effort. Win, just win.

Fiorentina - Gilardino 14'
Milan - Huntelaar 81', Pato 92'

Saturday, February 27, 2010

abbiati to the rescue

Christian Abbiati

Bari 0 AC Milan 2

Headlines always tend to glorify a certain magician from Brazil. But the man who minds the net and supports fascism is often overlooked. Even if he provides the team with greater stability when compared to an aged ogre who is paid millions for letting in goals. Christian Abbiati is one of the most under-rated keepers in European football. He is no Buffon, but reliability is something he offers.

Bari came to defend, and use set pieces to cause us worry. If not for Abbiati, this game would have ended in a draw. He denied Barreto twice, from a free kick and a penalty. Our finishing up front has been dismal all season and there are no signs of that changing. To be solid at the back is therefore the only other option. Nesta and Silva have their days, but seeing Abbiati behind them makes me breathe a sigh of relief. Both our finishes during this game were exquisite. We created a lot of chances and took only two of the several chances. But we stayed firm at the back, and many a time that is what counts. Ronaldinho continued his fine form. Borriello got acrobatic and was successful yet again. Pato has found his scoring boots. All this is most certainly promising. Bonera is a misfit at left back and as we had seen midweek, wouldn't suit at centre back either. He should head the exodus with Kaladze in the summer. Fiorentina needed us to be lucky. This game required us to be professional. Bari had taken points of the big boys in their previous outings. But we didn't let them get away with it this time. Inter have gone through a bit of a blip. Looking at the table now, this is going to be a title race to remember.

Bari - /
Milan - Borriello 43', Pato 69'


Wayne Rooney

AC Milan 2 Manchester United 3

Many have often wondered, who is the best player in the world? Many have said its Messi, others believe its Ronaldo. I think its Wayne Rooney. An unconventional choice. Yes. With good reason, may I add. He has been in electrifying form this season. Predictions said that United will collapse with the departures of Ronaldo and Tevez. Rooney had to step up, and boy has he!

If we were going to get anything out of this game, we had to stop this industrious monster. Question was, with the creaky defense, would we? The writing was on the wall. We couldn't. Ronaldinho got lucky with the opener, and so did Scholes with the equalizer. We dominated the first half, but Huntelaar and Pato's finishing had gone on their honeymoons. Ronaldinho continued to demonstrate a threat from his shooting, while all other opportunities simply went by without causing a crease on the wrinkled face of Ferguson. However, in the second half, United came out the stronger side. Scoring the goal against the run of play, Milan's confidence got deflated and the third was a sucker punch. Valencia and Nani were running circles around our wing backs, and the crossing was therefore top notch, resulting in the uncharacteristic headers from the Englishman. Seedrof however scored with a peach of a finish. Bonera's incompetency to handle crosses has been amplified with Rooney's first as the Italian was coolly brushed aside before the looping header gave United the lead. On the second, Rooney's sheer brute force ripped the defense apart. Nesta and company were made to look like clowns on the football pitch. Such has been the case when we have played against a top top side. Yet, we go into the market and bring in two wingers in the winter. Some team management this is.

Will we turn this tie around? Flatly, no. Logic says this isn't possible. United are a winning machine. History has it, that they don't need to play well to win. We can't grind results out. Going to Old Trafford and turning in a performance to walk away with a 2-0 is asking for the stars, especially with Rooney hoping to add to his tally. If you are a Milan fan, redirect your attention to the Scudetto race, as the Champions League is only going to be another high profile outing. But dare I say, miracles do happen.

AC Milan - Ronaldinho 3', Seedorf 85'
Manchester United - Scholes 37', Rooney 66', 74'

Thursday, February 25, 2010

fair play di natale

Antonio Di Natale

AC Milan 3 Udinese 2

Apologies. Sincere apologies for having taken so much time to have resumed blogging. I moved continents and now am in Australia. So the shift has been a bit difficult. And for all practical purposes, I haven't had an Internet connection. But hopefully, now things should stabilize. 4 games need to be updated. They will be.

This was the last game that I watched in India before leaving to Australia. And watching Huntelaar score delighted me. Poachers have become a rarity in the game, and to see one at the age of 26 gives me some hope. Silva and Mancini made their way to the exit after injuring themselves. This caused some reason for concern. However, Ronaldinho opened up play once again as he set up Pato for the second. We managed to get some breathing space, but we were terrifically uncertain at the back. Dida was his clumsy self, and was constantly gifting the opposition with goal scoring opportunities. Flores has Dida to thank, as the Brazilian clowned around with a simple save. The second half had Udinese starting on a strong note. However, a certain Dutchman had his own ideas of dampening the resurgent Zebrette spirit, as he took his second with great aplomb. There was a dip in character from Udinese after conceding the third but Di Natale was having none of it. Udinese were crossing very well and Sanchez was giving our full-backs hell. Our passing in the final third was slack. Pato decided to switch off and that reflected in his careless passing of the ball. Beckham then gave Pato some company as his pass to Di Natale almost resulted in a goal. Favalli for all his experience, played Di Natale onside, and the Italian finished beautifully, giving his side a glimmer of hope. Beckham put in one of the worst performances in a Milan shirt that afternoon.

Di Natale was splendid. His runs, his movement, and also his extremely well taken goal. He commended Nesta when the latter put in a perfect tackle. He didn't go down in the box, under Dida's challenge, which could have resulted in a penalty and with Dida being sent off. This at a point, when there was plenty of time left on the clock and Udinese could have staged a comeback. But the veteran striker put in a very professional performance and needs to be congratulated on doing so. Something the media very casually overlooks.

AC Milan - Huntelaar 7', 57', Pato 39'
Udinese - Flora Flores 45', Di Natale 86'

Highlights -

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Daniele Bonera

Bologna 0 AC Milan 0

If you expect me to go lambasting Milan for this result, then you better stop reading right now. I have learned my lessons and chastising this club for poor performances consistently isn't something I'm going to indulge in. Why? Because it gets repetitive and boring. We aren't contending for any titles this season, so being pretenders, we will blow hot and cold throughou. Facts speak for themselves.

Mancini had trained very well and was given a chance from the start. Bonera, was deputising for Nesta. Finally, after much soul searching, we have found our man. The only question is will he stay fit. As a classic 'big team-small team' struggle, this game too was one sided in possession and chances. Our defense was unmoved by any threat that Bologna threw at us, much so I don't think I have seen a stronger display by the rear guard anytime before this season. All the moves the opponents started were nipped at the bud. Chances were being created, but execution was painfully poor. Can't blame Borriello, as he gave his all, and was orchestrating the moves up ahead. Ronaldinho was on hibernation mode for most of the game, save a few brilliant passes. Mancini decided to keep his game at a low profile. Seedorf turned in one of the classic anonymous performances. Ambrosini continued his fine form. But our best player was, wait for it, Andrea Pirlo. He was all over the place, challenging, creating, shooting. This is the Pirlo who is acclaimed world over as one of the finest on the planet. If only we could get to see more of the same.

Roma moved ahead of us into 2nd place with a lucky win over Fiorentina, Inter decimated Cagliari and Juventus are giving us competition on who will hit mid table quicker. Going by our potency and our lack of grit against the weaker sides, I don't think Juve will have it easy in their pacy slide. Leonardo's chocolate box image is still to turn sour. Will he, only time will tell. But lets give him time. Its not like we are in a hurry to win a trophy. We never have been.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

no. 30

Amantino Mancini

A few years ago, Roma were a great side. A side with world class players. A certain Brazilian carried that honor. All that changed when he decided to chase the euros and painted himself black and blue. Irony so had it, that his career also turned out to be portraying the same colors. 11 starts in 18 months at Italy's best club wasn't where Mancini had perceived himself. But he has been given a new lease of life, a second chance of sorts.

How many times have we seen an Inter outcast shine in Milan colors. I see something similar happening to this fallen winger. At 29, he isn't particularly young. But he provides the Rossoneri with much needed cover. He can play on either side of the wings, or through the centre if need be. He requires an opportunity to prove the world wrong. Galliani has given him just that. This transfer surprised me, but unlike all the surprises that Milan throws at the world, this one is rather pleasant. Its economically viable for a cash strapped side like ours. As its a loan deal, there isn't a multi million euro fee attached, and we have the option of buying out half his contract come season end for £4 million. Fair deal, a very shrewd one if I might add. He is also willing to cover at RB, a position that has been unaddressed throughout the season. Lets not forget that he started playing in that position.

He is no Cafu, and he will not emulate the legend. But if he can recover atleast 70% of his form at Roma for us, we have a lethal player in our ranks. Mancini is a good athlete, low on confidence, and being provided with an opportunity for redemption. One of the few recipes for success, this. Factors indicate a positive outcome. What's more, we got to hold on to a useful Czech.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

penalty dependence


AC Milan 1 Livorno 1

When our strikers decide to take the day off, the rest of the team goes diving in the box claiming penalties. This, even if they tripped on themselves. We were aware that after the last couple of games, we had to re-establish our repute. And therefore, we started attacking relentlessly. It was nice to see Abbiati guarding the posts. He brings a sense of security in the absence of the klutz called Nelson Dida. Even though we had a monstrous amount of possession, it was down to players like Beckham to test the keeper. Ronaldinho also found himself in the thick of the action as he hit the post from distance. Livorno finally showed why they are such a poor side when some awful keeping gifted Ambrosini the opener.

Borriello was injured and he made way for Huntelaar at the stroke of half time. I was relishing the prospect of watching him play, but was left very dejected by the Dutchman's performance. Livorno found their equalizer, as Favalli made a poor clearance, and the defense was left waiting for the flag as Lucarelli rushed past a motionless bunch of noobs to slot home the equalizer. Huntelaar used his footballing intelligence to get into positions, but just didn't have the finishing touch to him. On the basis of this game, Huntelaar isn't going to win anyone over. We persisted with the tactic of crossing the ball into the box, especially when there was only one player from Milan and the rest occupying the box were Livorno players, clearing the ball with absolute boredom.

Just to make things clear, Livorno is an ordinary Italian football club. Not good enough to draw against a global giant. So we should be dispatching them with great authority, but instead we dig a hole in the ground and hibernate there out of shame as the world watched. Complacency should be removed from our side if we need to give Mourinho food for thought. If we continue in this fashion, then we wont be looking up, but down. Roma, Fiorentina and Napoli are catching up. So our superfluous targets will come crashing down, and we might need to start working on securing the 4th position in the league. Too much ambition can lead to disaster. Therefore we need to count on the points that are available to us and grab them. Or else, Zaccheroni might be breathing down Leo's neck. The Brazilian wont be too keen on it. So Leo, wake up and smell the coffee!

Scorers -
Milan -
Ambrosini 44'
Livorno -
Lucarelli 53'

Game Highlights -