Serie A Preview: AS Roma v. AC Milan

Date: Saturday, December 20, 2014

Kickoff: 2:45 PM ET (USA) / 20:45 CET (ITA)

League Position: Milan (7), Roma (2)

Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy

A roller coaster few weeks for Milan culminates in a clash in the capital as Serie A heads into its winter recess. With both sides coming off of important wins and a few weeks of rest to look forward to this should be a rip-roaring affair and if both sides play up to potential, it could be a demonstration of the best that calcio has to offer. Read More

Milan v Napoli Post-Match Comments

82% passing success. That is Milan’s completion for passes throughout this entire season. Why do I bring this up? To tell you that it’s X% better or worse than last year, to give a statistical imprint of what trend is emerging? Actually, just to illustrate how statistics should always take a backseat to common sense analysis. Kobe Bryant is putting up incredible scoring numbers and attempting massive numbers of shots while breaking scoring records. But anyone who watches him, still sees a top-10 all time player, but one hampered by injury still, who takes up too large a portion of his team’s available spending cash, and then complains that the rest of his team are scrubs. Looking at the stats doesn’t always help you understand the situation. 

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Serie A Preview: AC Milan v. Napoli

Date: Sunday, December 14, 2014

Kickoff: 2:45 PM ET (USA) / 20:45 CET (ITA)

League Position: Milan (7), Napoli (5)

Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milan, Italy

Calcio is a cruel and fickle game. After a rare burst of positivity following the victory over Udinese, I and many of my fellow Milanisti came crashing back to earth when the entirely toothless version of the Rossoneri left the field in Genoa last Sunday. It doesn’t get any easier for a squad and manager still looking to find their way, or any way for that matter, as old rivals Napoli prepare to invade the San Siro. Read More

The Montolivo Piece

This is the third draft of this piece. The first one was called “Montolivo: The Wrong Choice” but that sounded a bit strong. So I deleted it, started again, and came up with Montolivo 2.0, “How Could This Happen?” but by the time I reached the third paragraph “how could this happen” had been answered; scrap it. The third time I think I have the tone right. But let’s just go ahead and air some things out right away so you can decide if this is going to be something you skip to the comments and start trashing now, or if you’ll wait until the end to do so.

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Serie A Preview: Genoa v. AC Milan

Date: Sunday, December 7, 2014

Kickoff: 9:00 AM ET (USA) / 15:00 CET (ITA)

League Position: Milan (6), Genoa (4)

Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Genoa, Italy

A chance to rejoin the top 5 waits for Milan as they visit Gian Piero Gasperini and his surprising Genoa side this Sunday. Off the heels of a much improved if not totally convincing win over Udinese, the Rossoneri will face a resurgent (don’t laugh too hard) Alessandro Matri and a team unbeaten in their previous 8 Serie A matches. Genoa are on a good run of form no doubt, but if Milan expect to beat Napoli and Roma in the coming rounds they’ll need to prove they can clip Il Grifone’s wings first. Read More

Serie A Preview: AC Milan v. Udinese

Date: Sunday, November 30, 2014

Kickoff: 9:00 AM ET (USA) / 15:00 CET (ITA)

League Position: Milan (7), Udinese (8)

Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milan, Italy

Milan started fairly brightly in the derby last Sunday before one-too-many individual errors finally did them in. Of course El Shaarawy still ended up with the hopes and dreams of Milanisti everywhere on his foot, and he will want to forget the result just as quickly as the rest of us. The point earned kept the Rossoneri stuck in 7th place where they will remain when 8th place Udinese comes to town. Read More

Serie A Preview: AC Milan v. Internazionale

Date: Sunday, November 23, 2014

Kickoff: 2:45 PM ET (USA) / 20:45 CET (ITA)

League Position: Milan (7), Inter (9)

Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milan, Italy

Always an important occasion, this season’s first installment of the Derby della Madonnina comes at a critical time for both Milanese sides. With just one point separating them from each other, and a few more separating them from spots in Europe, new manager Pippo Inzaghi and even newer Inter manager Roberto Mancini should have little trouble firing up their squads this Sunday. Read More

Serie A Preview: Sampdoria v. AC Milan

Date: Saturday, November 8, 2014

Kickoff: 2:45 PM ET (USA) / 20:45 CET (ITA)

League Position: Milan (7), Sampdoria (4)

Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Genoa, Italy

Well, so much for being hard to beat. It’s back to the drawing board for Pippo and Co. as Milan face a tough trip to Genoa to take on a solid Sampdoria side. Mihajlovic’s men are seeking to prove they’re for real in the hunt for third place and it will take more ideas than the Rossoneri have had seemingly all year to break them down. Read More

Serie A Preview: AC Milan v. Palermo

Date: Sunday, November 2, 2014

Kickoff: 2:45 PM ET (USA) / 20:45 CET (ITA)

League Position: Milan (4), Palermo (15)

Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milan, Italy

We’re right around where we want to be, but it still doesn’t feel that great does it? The feeling that we should be more comfortably where we want to be is hard to shake, and will definitely be something we may look back on with regret later this season. That said, Milan have made themselves hard to defeat this season as one of the only four one-loss teams left in Serie A. What we need to do now is get back to scoring goals and we’ve got a real opportunity to do just that with Palermo coming to town. Read More

Cagliari v Milan Post-Match Comments

Let’s get this out of the way quickly: I don’t think Milan played poorly against Cagliari. I don’t think there’s need to panic, and I don’t think that between Monday and Friday of this week that the situation Inzaghi has found himself in has changed. The stakes remain the same.

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The race is wide open for third place. The footrace for the Scudetto is out of reach for Milan, and never really was a feasible outcome. That being said, the lack of a strong candidate for third is both a missed opportunity for Milan – draws at two newly promoted sides can go either way, but I can’t escape the feeling Inzaghi’s side should have taken full points from at least one of the two encounters at Empoli and Cesena. 

So what exactly is the verdict for now? Sort of exactly what we expected. Inzaghi isn’t a magician like Clarence Seedorf, who waved his magic wand used his magical antidote to remove the bad habits built up over the better portion of a decade of “half-assery” from the Milan board. Back up to the summer, Milan compete in an open race for third place, sound about right? Best case scenario sees Milan finish where they are right now. So why the doom and gloom?

Yes, Milan’s midfield is poor. Yes it’s disconnected from the attack. Yes, Alex has these moments that make Zapata look like a world-class athlete. Yes, any sort of set-piece has a greater than average chance of going in the net against Milan. Yes, the squad is disjointed and uneven in several areas. Yes, Mattia De Sciglio and Stephan El Shaarawy have made little to no progress this season in their developments. Yes, Hachim Mastour is stuck in the oblivion between the first team and the primavera, not really being apart of either for an extended run. Compare these issues to the issues of last season, and you’ll see while things are far from sunshine and rainbows, the larger existential issues facing Milan simply aren’t as prevalent and aren’t pushing down on the players themselves as was clear through last year especially.

But against Zeman’s Cagliari, a hit or miss offensive side granted: one with the knowledge and coaching to go out and put goals in the net, Milan were reasonably in control defensively. This isn’t to say that Ibarbo shouldn’t have scored his open net goal, nor his several one on ones, or many of the other gilded edge chances Cagliari had. What I do want to point out is that they didn’t go in, which regardless of the luck of Rami’s boot making the last ditch challenge, or De Sciglio’s slide on Ibarbo near edge of the box, they (by and large) worked. Defense is about keeping goals out, and since this side looks built on a house of cards anyway, regardless of how it happened, keeping the score down to one goal is a start to build on. Let’s be honest, this Milan side will not be relying on the clean sheet.

So the issue then seemed to be in attack, rather than defense, at least for now (the midfield has been picked apart already this season – see previews and other post match reports). What was the issue with the Milan attack?

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Stephan El Shaarawy isn’t scoring goals, which is a problem for a lot of supporters. Against Cagliari (like any other game) the time was just right for SeS to break his goalscoring duck, but it didn’t happen. That’s not to discount his play this season, which I’ve been pleased with. His first touch is terrible this season, but after the amount of injury layoffs he’s had of late, it’s reasonable to expect that to come with time. His work rate, movement and speed are still at the level you want to see, and it’s becoming more and more clear over time that the issue with El Shaarawy is a mental issue. I’m not saying Pippo has the solution, but if theres someone I would suggest could fix this..

Honda – Can’t be on all the time. Excellent defensive contribution, I think his understanding with Abate is particularly effective.

Menez – We knew this was coming, the crash after the start of the season. Give Torres some more starting time as Silvio Berlusconi wants and we’ll see the Menez beast rise from the ashes of the PSG bench. Not to mention Niang, who will probably be sold/loaned without a whimper in January or June. Now we hit the part of the season where playing time is heated (no injuries, one competition for now), and Inzaghi will have to add balance to his attack, or risk losing Menez (and less importantly Niang) to their own heads and egos.

 

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