The attack truly deserves praise today, and that includes Pato, Seedorf, Dinho, and MOTM of Marco Borriello. It was just a few days ago that I read comments about Borriello’s value to the team, and if you were not convinced today then you may be a lost cause. Ronaldinho was stellar and Pato showed amazing flashes, but it was Marco who was the glue to make it work, and his lateral movement and danger in the 6 yd box was top class. I just hope Leo was taking him off to rest him before Marseille on Wednesday, and not drop him in favor of a slower than normal Pippo and inept KJH.
So enough about Marco; for all the value and delivery provided by the offense, the defense was abysmal. Kaladze was terrible, but considering that he was the only true CB option off the bench with Onyewu and Bonera shelved with injuries, there is not much else Leo could have done. It has to be said that if Leo started a youngster like Darmian or moved Zambro central and played Antonini on the flank we could at least blame the poor performance on growing pains or playing out of position, with Kaladze we could do neither. Zambrotta also deserves some blame, he lost the ball high on the pitch and put pressure on the defense by not getting back with pace, he has not looked comfortable at the LB spot all season, and I no longer believe he is a first team option. Dida was not as much to blame on the goals, but he did make things interesting on a few bobbled balls. He is superb going to his left, in fact I can even say impressive, but to his right he is a accident waiting to happen.
From a midfield standpoint Ambro and Seedorf did well, but Pirlo continues to be unimpressive. I no longer blame Pirlo though because he looks completely lost in the 4-3-3, and his slow run with Ronaldinho and his muffed fast break with Ambro exposed Pirlo’s age yet again. I don’t by any means blame Leo, and not even Pirlo, but in the end both these guys are intelligent enough to adapt and make the system work for both of them, which has not happened yet to this point. Simply redefining roles may help, but Pirlo will struggle royally without a change.
Speaking of Leo I can be critical with him on a few things today, which after five straight wins has been hard to do! His subs were puzzling and late. Pippo for Borriello was an unnecessary sub at that stage of the game, instead a defensive presence should have came immediately. His later Pato for Stasser move was even worse, for all the grief Carletto got for not "bleeding" youngsters, he put them in positions to succeed, not to be thrown to the wolves, and Strasser was close to being the goat today with an early mistake. That will not help or instill confidence for anyone. In the end instead of resting his three horses of the day: Seedorf, Bori, and Dinho. He pulled Pato who could have used the rest of the game to work out some possession issues, left Dinho who had to work very hard late and may affect him on Wednesday. Not good on his part.
It was a great win against a stout opponent in Cagliari, the goal outburst was very nice and the team continues to grow. In the end it will be interesting to see how this team stands up on the way to the holiday break and how long their stay near the top of the table will last.