FLORENCE, ITALY - MAY 26: Antonio Nocerino of Italy during a press conference at Coverciano on May 26, 2012 in Florence, Italy. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
So I want to apologize for the lack of posts this weekend. As I type this I am in still in New Hampshire awaiting the arrival of my nephew following a weekend in which I was able to see our very own AC Milan thrash Olimpia of Honduras. I want to touch on the match first and will muse a bit later.
AC Milan put a thumping on Olimpia in what Marco Amelia called "il Forno," or oven. The heat was unbearable, the humidity worse, yet Allegri's boys really kept the intensity high and didn't slow down regardless of who was on the pitch or the score. A few observations from the match:
- Cassano played CAM in the 4-3-1-2 but looked like he stopped at the North End before the match and had his favorite treat, cannolis! He came off his two week post Euro break and he looked like his usual stocky self but with a bit more Ronaldinho shape for my liking. He will drop the weight before the season, but I worry more about his heart condition and carry the extra poundage.
- Acerbi clearly has knack. Tactics, awareness, and defensive understanding but he can be guilty of the over zealous push forward that can burn the best of defenders. A bit like Thiago Silva before he learned his discipline, not a bad problem, just one that needs to correction. Which is why pairing him with someone as calm and collected as Astori as his cover would be a stroke of genius.
- Nocerino was stellar! I never thought I would see the workrate, emotion and tenacity of Rino Gattuso ever again, but Nocerino has got it. Two goals, some solid defensive work, and a flub that caused him to hammer the turf in anger, in a mere friendly, said it all for me. With Bonera wearing the arm-band in this match, you can see where strapping it on Nocerino would make sense!
- Montolivo looks poised and collected in front of the defense and I think is just what Allegri was hoping for. Constant provided some decent effort to his left, but Urby was clearly the better option in that role.
- Speaking of left, Mesbah was strong and defensively stout, yes it was a friendly but the key in matches like this one is making it look easy, and he did that. De Sciglio however did not, and it was his poor marking and tracking that gave OIimpia there one and only goal from their only solid chance, lesson learned is all I can say that one!
So for those petrified of the early friendly form in the Trofeo TIM, it looks like it was a lot of energy wasted, hopefully you didn't off yourself or do something drastic!? Milan are now three for three in their Stateside tour and the team looks both sharp and strong in tempo. Personally, though I would rather the wins come at the start of the season, as that is the true benchmark, but it is always good to see progress and confidence.
On Wednesday Milan play Real Madrid at Yankee Stadium. But the real sideshow will be the continuing saga surrounding the return of Kaka. I have same my point on it, and yesterday Allegri even joked that Kaka could play in the front of the defense. This was clearly a joke and hopefully Allegri's way of saying he doesn't know where he will play so don't buy him! The sooner this sideshow wraps up the better so Fester an turn his time and resources to more important things. DEFENSE, DEFENSE, DEFENSE.
Milan look back in line for the Cagliari man and I can't stress the importance of such a move enough. Building a back line that can grow and learn together is imperative and seeing that this is "Year Zero" there is no better time to do it.
Transfer Merry Go Round
The next few weeks are going to be a mess, so I ask for calm. So when we are inevitably linked to Dzeko, Tevez, Romario, Kaka, CRON, Messi, Chiellini, Pato's Dad, and the Brazilian Women's National Team Captain Marta, just brush it off. These are rumors, and until they are provided to me in more official fashion I will leave them be. Feel free to post them and discuss, I can't stop that, it is part of the silly season, but let's be realistic here. We are not going to buy CRON and Messi just because some news outlet says we might...