REGGIO CALABRIA ITALY - JANUARY 22: Franco Brienza (L) of Siena battles for the ball with Francesco Acerbi of Reggina during the Serie B match between Reggina and Siena at Stadio Oreste Granillo on January 22 2011 in Reggio Calabria Italy. (Photo by Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images)
Going to spend the next five days previewing the season, lots to talk about and while I sprinkle news in here or there depending on the silly season happenings and musings, the tentative Agenda is as follows:
Part II: Defense
Part III: Midfielders
Part IV: Attackers
Part V: ExpectationsYesterday we discussed the GK situation, today we talk about the defense. Sadly with the loss of Silva and Nesta the GK's will be busy, but Milan are taking the correct steps in rebuilding the back line with this summer's additions, but the depth at the back still remains a concern.
The big news is the potential partnership of Acerbi and Zapata. The last time Milan had a young CB core was ages ago, and moving forward with this pair may have it's growing pains but with a view at the future. Many across the blogopshere have said things like a fairy tale pairing and it is their destiny to be successful. I don't buy into any of that, this is a football Club, not a fairytale or a Disney movie. These guys are coming in knowing the task at hand and should feel honored to carry the mantle of a Milan back line. Zapata, Acerbi, and Abate are both the present of future of the defense and a strong mix of pace, tactical awareness and strength.
While some are alarmed with Antonini being the most senior member of the starting back line, I for one and am not all that concerned. For all the flack he has taken, he has always been a good solider and a hard worker, and while his movement is fairly solid despite being wrong footed, he will have to work just as hard defensively this season if he is in fact given the reins at LB, which appears to be the case with Mesbah en route to Palermo, Taiwo shipped out, and Vila being deemed useless. It doesn't however excuse management from shopping for a proper LB, even if it be one of the sub-25 category to groom grow with his defensive colleagues. I cringe seeing Santon start and find success on the weekend with Newcastle and Milan not in the hunt, but money is tight so anything at this point will help depth as it is easily the weakest position on the roster.
Speaking of depth, DeSciglio seems capable as a vice-Abate, but with Bonera, Mexes, and Yepes as the other CB's I have to hope that Zapata and Acerbi are durable as well. Ogbonna, Criscito, and Astori would have been excellent additions, but with management once again eying attackers you have to believe they have more faith in the defense as it stands then with the strikers we lack. Shame when you think about as you know my feeling about a strong backline, you can score all the goals in the World, but you only need one to win a football match.
With that said, expect Abate, Acerbi, Zapata, and Ants to start the season, with Mexes and De Sciglio mixed in. For those who pine for youth like Arsene Wenger, you have your wish, just make sure to bite your tongue when the unavoidable growing pains are sure to happen, and think about the future of what could Milan's back line for the next ten years. It could always be worse...