When I saw the lineup at start I will have to say I was extremely discouraged. Carletto had done what he usually does, play the absolute opposite of what we were clamoring for. Before I get into the match itself I want to make something very clear. Milan was not in the driver’s seat at any point prior to Mudingayi’s expulsion, granted momentum was shifting, but if you told me the result and then told me first ten minutes would look this way, I would have told you were crazy.
To help understand the first ten minutes I need only say that Favalli played the worse professional football I have ever seen. Now Favalli is not world class, but the level in which he displayed himself and the fact that Milan were down a goal, I was writing this game off as the a wash. Now we know how it ended, but it doesn’t take much to relive that awful start. As the time wore on, Milan appeared to rejuvenate and look more and more in control, but also more comfortable with the group on the pitch.
It didn’t take a fine footballing eye to see how bad Favalli was, and the inclusion of Antonini would have been nice and given way very little on the skill side. The shocker for me was Senderos, who despite looking a de-evolved David Bechkam, lacked any shred of style and grace, and at any given point could be found lost or extremely happy to have wandered into the correct place on the match. This deal is a loan and it should not last more than that. What I also frustrating was Sinisa’s brash claim that Milan will fold when attacked, and Bologna did just that very early in the match with DiVaio carving holes in the defense and ending in his league leading 15th goal off the PK. But if an adversary tell’s you he will do something, say punch you in the face? Wouldn’t you prepare yourself in some way? Apparently Carletto doesn’t share that common sensical notion, and didn’t prepare the defense with pace. The problem with a win like this is it rewards Carletto’s lunacy by having this lineup result in three points.
For every bad call he made on defense, he was a genius in the attack. His choice to start Becks and Ambro was dutiful rewarded as both players played dividends winning balls, and creating attacking chances. In fact it was Ambro’s tackle that proved the catalyst on the Seedorf goal. Say what you want about Becks, and wish him away, but his inclusion over Dinho’s makes this team better going forward and tracking and back. His first goal as a Rossonero was class, and since he has joined Milan the squad has not lost. In some way Dinho seems to rob space and touches for Ricky and without him on the pitch Ricky and Ducky play absolutely lights out. They have room, they take shots and the interchange and interplay to the point of making the defense chase them around and around the box, and with Becks in the lineup, and Seedorf in the advanced role, Milan is more galvanized on defense. This will only inprove with the return of Rino, but for the time being no one can argue that this team is better with Dinho on the bench, or to make matters clearer Kaka is better without his mate!
Seedorf, who in my opinion didn’t deserve the start, was better than last week, and quite frankly I would prefer him to Dinho in this role. He is a more of compliment to Ricky, and if Gourcuff is returned home, it seems that filling the space of Seedorf would make the most sense and make Milan all the more dangerous. For the regressions made by Seedorf, it seems that Pato only gets stronger. We are witnessing the birth of a striker, and it is exciting. His blend of pace and close quarters play is scintalliting, while he is learning to keep possession and make the pass that springs the attack. I can’t wait until Borriello’s return when those two can play ahead of Kaka and make a mess of opposing defenses. Just imagine for a minute having the three of them all capable with the ball at their feet, and all capable of the clinical finish with each one excelling in their own attributes, strength, pace, and the dribble. If Milan could put losses to Palermo and Juventus behind them, and make up points as this return leg continues, the squad will only get healthy and make wreak havoc for the top of the table. The derby comes soon, but before that we worry about Genoa midweek. As an old coach once told me, if you keep winning the rest will work itself out!