Things are still CRAZY busy on my end, leaving for a soccer tournament on the weekend and will be pretty much be out of touch while the boys try to reverse last year's PK loss in the finals. But in the meantime some odds and ends...
- For those who watched the USMNT versus Italy on Wednesday, you may have finally gotten your answer as to why Allegri didn't think Pirlo fit in the 4-3-1-2. Prandelli built around Pirlo but required Nocerino and Motta to hold deep as well to shield the defense, in turn meaning the runs from midfield were not present to work the defenders and the attack became one dimensional. Strikers were seemingly on an island and while they did have chances, the long ball made it easy for the US to deploy an offside trap. It didn't help that Marchisio did poorly in his role at CAM so the link was virtually non-existent, bypassing the midfielders and playing the same old combination, defense, to Pirlo, to strikers. Opponents find the reference point, supply chain, or whatever you want to call it and it is difficult to be successful. Credit to USMNT for reading the game, but more importantly to Michael Bradley, and his excellent performance.
-Speaking of Bradley, who currently plays for Chievo. It appears his time in Italy has taught him the ever important thing we discuss time and time again, that some actually believe is irrelevant, tactical intelligence. DiCarlo has taught him how to read the game, and in turn you have a destructive midfielder who plays short simple passes and is coming into his own in terms of tactical discipline. Sounds like someone we know and love doesn't it? Van Bommel's possible replacement was on the pitch last night, and he wasn't playing for Italy, he was playing for the USMNT! Before you get all feisty and say how can an American be AC Milan quality, get over it, any player can play anywhere if they have the work ethic and fit the system, this kid and Allegri would go hand in hand. Then again if you believe he doesn't fit the system, you probably think Pato is a golden Duck, so you have quality issues...
-Speaking of replacements, anyone not enamored by Ogbonna? I am. LCB, LB, or RCB, put this kid next Silva and you have the good old fashion lock down vault defense. Self proclaimed Milan fan currently playing for Torino in Serie B. This matters because Milan has two players on loan there, Verdi and Oduamadi. How about those two stay and we get an Ogbonna loan/buy in return? It is time Fester gets working on players that are not attackers.
-Mentioning attackers, any surprise Pato is hurt again. Oh where, oh where are team, "don't sell Pato." Please come and explain to me why I should defend this bum now? 14 injuries, 14!, the numbers don't lie. He will most definitely be sold in the summer, but sadly 35M is a pipe dream, we will be lucky to get 15M for him now and it will be the last you ever hear of the Duck.
-This weekend Milan goes to Palermo, a place that has been fruitless for years in terms of points and victories. In fact the past two seasons have been a black hole. This MUST change, we have a one point lead over Juventus and slip-ups are not an option at this point and time, if the Scudetto is a real aspiration, and it should be, shouldn't it? Then this match is a must win to establish dominance and show that Milan mean business. Injuries are still a problem, but Zlatan is back and I would expect the same sort of lineup we have seen of late with Urby at CAM. Arsenal midweek, but with the 4 goal lead, Allegri may be able to rest some players, while simply securing the result. But that is not a question now, Palermo is too important, thankfully the team is in woeful form and Milan should be able to take advantage. Palermo’s trip to the San Siro saw the Nocerino show in action and it would seem that sort of game is not outside the realm of possibility if Milan can score early and keep on a demoralized team.
Back after the weekend, hopefully with good news on all fronts!