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'


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'