Before the match Twitter was littered with applause for the lineup. I for one have never been a fan of the 4-3-3, it lacks balance and without the proper personnel you end up exposing your team in certain areas. Bojan with the start and Boateng closer to our goal was supposed to be a the perfect recipe. Add in Niang and everyone was cheering. At the end of 90 minutes cheers turned sour and nobody came out to support the players they pined for. Boateng reminded us why his best position is on the bench or sold, Bojan reminded us why he plays better from the bench, and Niang made us miss Pazzo.
Don't get me wrong, there were in fact some positives. I did like Niang's workrate and effort, I also liked the fact that somehow we kept a clean sheet. Not to mention if the goal was to reverse a result, we can count this as a success as well, but when direct rivals all dropped points a draw was not good enough. Once Ambrosini was injured, and Allegri had only one choice on the bench for the sake of balance in Flamini, the match lost any sort of direction. The Ambrosini injury was in fact crucial, dropping Monty into the DM role and adding Nocerino would have meant two midfielders bombing forward and exposing the front of the defense. Flamini did his job defensively, but the rest left much to be desired.
In attack this front line was supposed to make magic, instead it made grief. Bojan's lack of physical presence in the middle made it easier for Sampdoria to flood El Sharaawy with markers. Without a physical presence to drag CB's Milan looked clustered in the space in front of the CB's and little space was made to break runs. Add in the fact that first touch and intelligent passing were not on the docket for either Bojan and Boateng and that meant 2 out of the 10 outfield players were beating to their own drum. Shot after shot, pass after pass, all leaving us wondering what on Earth these two were doing. You could make a case that Niang could have brought into the CF role with Robinho wide right, but even then it was a tall ask for a young player who is still learning the roles of a striker as evidenced by his performances.
So here we are, a draw away from home against a team that defeated the "mighty" Juventus with only ten men. Surely Samp deserved the point as much as Milan didn't deserve all three. However, what you really saw was the Milan season in a nutshell. Fans clamor for a lineup, they get it, Milan lack the real personnel to make it work. Subs come off the bench with zero impact, and we are back at playing the blame game for a Coach who had no real answer or option in terms of players. Welcome to Year Zero, and for those expecting instant results, it is time to realize...
MILAN WAS NOT BUILT IN A DAY.