First the good news, the first ever Milan Meet and Greet was in my opinion a success, we got to learn a ton of new stuff as well and meet some new members of the Rossoneri faithful. A couple of the great points were the unconditional love for Maldini as the best current player, as well as the Rossoneri a lot of you became Milanista. We all obviously hate Istanbul, which is why I propose we never discuss it again, EVER. Lastly, there is a ton of love for Marco Van Basten, so enjoy this:
Drum roll please, it is time for the dreaded bad news…
The run of play following the Arsenal game has been as poor as I can remember it, and I can remember some poor times (96-98 I know you remember, you told me). I want to blame Carletto game in and game out, but I can’t. This is not all his fault. If Fester and Ol’Man Berlu had opened their checkbooks and bought some dynamic bench players, instead of the stable of geriatric Brazilians we may not be in this position. If you look down Milan’s bench you see two things, defenders (Bonera, Cafu, Favalli…) and holding players (Brocchi, Ambro, Emerson…), don’t get me wrong these players are all very serviceable as role players, but not a single on of these players even remotely can come on and spark the team to score. Quite honestly, outside of Pippo, the bench is just plain boring.
That leads me to yesterday against Catania, where I can blame Carletto. First of all we all know that Catania has given Milan fits this season and last, so for Carletto to play that lineup he was lining up a draw and does not deserve anything more. What compounded the misery where his substitutions, where was Gourcuff? Why not bring in Serginho to spark some flank play? I just do not get it. The only explanation I could possibly come up with was that Gourcuff may have to play for Kaka against Arsenal, but why not give him a run against Catania? This just does not make much sense, the game where players are rested should be Saturday, but instead he used this game, and still had to bring in Rino and Oddo to make up some damage control. This team is really playing its why out of the top four, and lacks the real cutting edge necessary to make the jump that has been made in the past. On a side note, great shot by Pato, and Juan Vargas is the real deal.
On deck, is Lazio whom Milan has a good record against, but it really looks like this team lacks the desire to get more than a draw on any given day. I do not even know what Earth Carletto will do this Saturday and am almost afraid to venture a guess. One has to believe that Maldini will be rested along with Pato, but the rest is a toss up. Three points are almost a must on Saturday, and if the Viola win then it is absolutely imperative.
Finally we can discuss Arsenal. Again it is safe to say that I am scared, the home record of the Rossoneri in CL can only make so confident. I saw what Arsenal can do, and I know they handled it, but a draw at San Siro means Milan are out of the cup. Carletto has to get some aggression out of this time, and sadly enough I do not where that is going to come from, and if it does come out can this squad continue to elevate themselves game in and game out as the CL progresses? I really hope Milan possess this aggression some where but it has been so long since I have seen it, to think only a few months the Rossoneri manhandled Boca Juniors and just yesterday Catania pushed them around like rag dolls, as you can see my confidence is a bit jaded.
My new pal Dave at the RBNY Offside blog has a great idea, and I want to pass it along. If you own an XBOX360 and you like to play FIFA 08 online please go to this link for the first ever offside.com FIFA Tournament. Sorry but I have got first picks on AC Milan, but can be persuaded to choose others, I look forward to playing with many of you, and if you are not the tournament type I am always happy to entertain challenges, just look for gamertag: ISTALLIONGB