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Bari v Milan

Being a fan of the Rossoneri in 2010 has been a rather sobering affair. Cruising at the end of 09 has morphed into stuttering of late, and while the proverbial wheels have not completely fallen off the bus, I believe we know have a true feeling for our Club and what they are capable of. 2010 has dramatically proved our inconsistency, on a good day this team can be very good, and on a bad day they can be equally bad. In one match our strikers do their job while in the next they couldn’t score if the goal was doubled in size, for Leo this has to be the single most frustrating aspect of his team. A coach can work extensively with a team to correct tactical deficiencies or positioning issues, but when you send your troops to battle and they seemingly forget how to play the game, or worse appear to need a cattle prod to get in gear, you can’t help but shake your head in frustration.

Thankfully all is not lost, if you have resigned yourself to a silverware-less season, then there is still some value to what this season can bring us, the question is will Leo use it or just keep the Rossoneri on the downward spiral? While taking a trip to Bari may not seem like a “big game” or a jump off point, it is this type of game, against a well organized opponent, that held Milan scoreless in the last fixture is a perfect place to start. Bari has had a tough run of form recently after pushing Inter to the brink, they have lost 3 of the last 4 and have done so without the services of the future Alessandro Nesta, Andrea Ranocchia. Ranocchia should be on Milan’s radar, but sadly his Brazilian heritage is not strong, however that should lead them to Barreto. If we are going to be all Brazilian, why can’t our Brazilians be young, exuberant and chomping at the bit to impress, kind of the way Pato SHOULD BE! If you want more on Bari, Alessio has taken the noble task of covering them here at the Offside, and as always, his work is class. But now we focus on the Rossoneri and Leo; and the strides to make this season worth something.

The rest of this season needs to be a proving ground for everyone; no one is safe not even seemingly untouchables like Dinho and Pirlo. Young or old everyone should get a run out with the goal to impress, play lazy or slow, then guess what, you lost your place and then serious consideration has to be made come the transfer season as to whether the Rossoneri move forward with said individual taking into account both tactics and value. If you can’t get contribute then Ciao, don’t let the door get you on the way out.

Versatility also has to be key, Abate can play anywhere on the right flank, great! Flamini needs to take a start at RB as an honor and not a dismissal, Leo is the boss and you play where he tells you to, to the best of your ability. The mark of a good team is confidence in coach and player, it is a two way street and right now I don’t see confidence anywhere other Dinho, Antonini, and Silva. Silva is a great example, the kid works harder than just about anyone, and he should be glorified and made example for others to strive for. I can’t help but think we have a gem on our hands in that guy.

So while I admit we may not win many matches in a pretty fashion, but we are going to start to separate the men from the older men, and create a foundation for this team for the years to come but also to begin building on. Who knows maybe De Vito impresses immensely and we don’t need a back! Maybe Mancini finds his form and fights Pato tooth and nail for the RF spot, these are all good scenarios and the trademarks of a good team, so it should all start in Bari. Abbiati needs to go between the sticks, I think I speak safely for everyone from Udinese to ManYoo, Dida is DONE. Back line should be Bonera, Nesta, Silva, De Vito; playing Janks or Zambro with no intention of keeping them is not going to give valuable time to a young player, so make a commitment one way or another, just no Favalli. Midfield should be Flamini, Pirlo, Ambro; easy enough. Up front you go Borriello (if fit, most likely), Dinho, and Abate; KJH and Pato should be in the stands and even that is a gift, you don’t try you don’t make the bench, SIMPLE. Keep Pippo on the ready, and if fit Mancini can spell Abate or Dinho so you can try out some alternative combos. Abate has been a good soldier and deserves the start, plus it gives Bonera more game time. While a win is no longer a must, a simple strong showing would be enough for me, and I think with the right chemistry and work ethic that shouldn’t be a problem.