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ACM 1 OM 1, and a Happy Thanksgiving

I want to start by wishing everyone, if you celebrate it or not, a Happy Thanksgiving. Personally it is my favorite Holiday as it has somehow managed to remain a true day of thanks and family while not being commercially basterized like religious holidays, ironic isn’t it? So where ever you take a moment to give to thanks for family, for friends, and that the Rossoneri are far better off than many of us anticipated, despite the performance yesterday evening.

Let’s be honest here…OM deserved this game far more than we did, and while both teams were guilty of poor finishing, the post and upright were the only things to save a draw over a 3-1 loss. I don’t personally think the attack was poor, or really even the defense, save an error from Oddo, for me it was a matter of simple exhaustion. OM dominated the midfield and possession, they were rarely closed down anywhere in the middle of the park, and there was zero link from the defense to the attack. Bottom line OM put their foot on the gas and shoved the ball down the throat of the Rossoneri and they were not up to the task.

Part of the blame, in fact most of the blame, should be shouldered by Leonardo. There is absolutely no excuse for leaving two subs on the bench during such a hotly contested match. If you do not trust the players on the bench, then you are the only one to blame for putting them there. Flamini should have been a must in the 65th minute when it appeared that both Pirlo and Ambro were about to drop dead. Leonardo can also be blamed for not pinching in the midfield and retracting Zambro into defense sooner. OM saw the weakness at the outside back position and exploited it, Abate provided some help but even he seemed a bit nervous, in the end our weaknesses are continuously exploited time and time again.

Ronaldinho and Borriello were once again bright spots linking well, but lacking that final bite or touch. The Bori goal was top class, and he won countless balls in the attacking third but in the end he needed to be more of a force in the second half. Pato showed flashes but they were rare and never dangerous, he seemed poised to test the defense but it never materialized, and in the end neither did the Rossoneri. Strikers need to score and bag chances and that goes for all of them, on both teams in this case. In the end I am actually rather frustrated by the whole thing, maybe it was exhaustion, maybe it was lack of preparation? In the end the lack of adjustment to counter the opponent is really what bothers me most.

As I do with most poor Milan performances I immediately call my cousin in the boot to discuss and get his take. This call was rather funny we both mused about the luck, and how we managed to stay alive in the CL, and fail to make anything easy as a Club. As we got to talking we realized that Milan has not won a home game in the CL since losing to Arsenal in the winter of 08, that is an alarming run for what was once a CL fortress, and a place where no team wanted to travel to. Home field advantage is rather important in tournaments such as this, and it stinks to not be able to count on the points at home. The problem is there is no real remedy for this strange new ailment…

So the squad sits second in the group, with a win being away to Zurich the only sure bet for qualification. If not the Europe League looms, and what was looking to be a brighter season may be back into the doldrums sooner than you think. There was a time when AC Milan with their backs to the wall were second to none, that time seems to have passed and Leo will do well to rest his big guns before the trip to Zurich. Nothing is ever easy is it…see you on the weekend…