In the 29th minute when Carletto decided to replace a gimpy Flamini with Emerson I was about ready to throw in the towel. My first and biggest issue was if Flamini was already showing an injury of some sort then why was he started in the first place!? I know that there is a full slate of games in the next week, and Carletto needs all hands on deck, but adding Emerson when you are already playing the Xmas tree, made me want to cry. Emerson did not have a lights out game, and for the majority of it he was crap, but the game did not go as I had originally thought.
Historically Atalanta has always proven very stiff competition for the Rossoneri, especially in their house. Yes the team did not play well, and yes they looked suspect at times, but the result was exactly what they came for, 3 points. I have said it once and I will say it again there is not such thing as a bad win, or even a good loss, because in the end it is exactly what it is. If Milan win the scudetto, and someone pours over the fixture list at the end of the season all this game will show is a win and one small victory on route to a title.
Games like today are what separate great teams from good teams, and though it may not look that way in the 90 minutes many of us watched today, three points in these types of battles really stacks up the points. So what should we make of this really ugly performance?
Abbiati looked a bit shaky today, and was catching the ball like his predecessor Dida, poorly. He did command his area quite nicely, but I would like to see hands on the ball when shots are coming through the area. Bonera, who had a solid game, one minor mistake in my memory, but the rest was very good and my confidence in him is coming along nicely. I still don’t want him in the big games yet, but he is starting to prove his worth in the back.
Ambrosini and Rino did well defensively, but when it came to offensive abilities no one really showed anything special except for the run of play that led to the goal. Kaka, Dinho, Borriello, and eventually Pato all tried to do much with the ball when they had it, and not enough running for each other when they didn’t. This seems to be a growing trend for these gentlemen when they are lined up in the XMAS tree, but when Kaka is slotted in between two strikers it seems that there is a bit more of advanced passing option in and around the box. The bottom line is the XMAS tree doesn’t seem to put this specific set of personnel in a comfort zone capable of scoring goals. It showed against Cagliari, and it showed again today.
By no means was this a game to hang your hat on or call home to mom about it, but in the end we all got what we came for. The next two games, Siena and Napoli, will go a very long way in cementing the Rossoneri’s run to the title. I would expect to Carletto to play two differing lineups to keep the legs fresh, and as much I hate to say it at this early junction of the campaign but the league will really start to polarize. The true contenders will be very close to the top come next Sunday.
Speaking of the league, hats off to Udinese and Napoli for great wins and a share of first place, it seems that both Roman squads are more pretenders than actual contenders. Our old pals Inter dropped points, and it looks Prandelli and his Purple Monsters are finally righting the ship. As I have said the last few weeks, the Serie A is the hot ticket in the world of football and each week is more exciting than the next.
Highlights, albeit very few, from the match…