In the next week leading up to the first match I would like to do a five part season preview, covering all aspects of the team and its potential for the upcoming season. No better place to start then with our new coach, which will be followed by the positions in succession:
Season Preview Part I: Max Who?
Season Preview Part II: Two Real GKs?!
Season Preview Part III: Oddo’s Revenge
Season Preview Part IV: Midfield Changing of the Guard
Season Preview Part V: The Pato-Borri Show
For the first time in as long as I remember AC Milan actually have coverage at the GK position. It is so odd in fact that even many of you seem shocked by it. As I read comments claiming that no matter whom Allegri chooses we will be OK, it makes me comfortable knowing we are covered at the back and that even an injury or run of poor form will be manageable.
The favorite, Abbiati, has had a very strong track record in the Milan number one shirt as well as Serie A. He was loaned to Juventus when Gigi Buffon was injured and helped lead them to a Serie A title, he also went on loan to Torino and Atletico Madrid where he minded nets for some poor defensive teams but proved his talents enough to be brought back home two seasons ago. Just as he had claimed the starting spot a stroke of bad luck in the shape of Favalli sent him on a year of struggle and the inability to regain the jersey last season under Leonardo. Now a new coach and a healthy offseason have made him the favorite. His performance against Arsenal sure helped, sparking Arsenal fans into a bit of envy as they watch Almunia continue to flounder.
The challenger, Marco Amelia, also has a bit of pedigree as well despite being one of Serie A’s worst GKs statistically last season. Amelia was widely touted as the heir apparent to Gigi Buffon, and compared to former Italy number one Angelo Peruzzi due to his build and pugnacious tendencies in the box. In terms of fundamentals and skill set there are few keepers in the Serie A as steady or as fundamentally sound as Amelia. The problem is Amelia has not stuck with a team since 2003 playing for Palermo, Genoa, Lecce, Parma and Livorno. Not a good sign for someone who needs to be a rock at the back.
Best case scenario, these guys push themselves to the max fighting for the first team place and Milan then has a good problem, like listening to offers for one of their goalies. Losing Storari was a foolish move, but at least they made good on it by creating a good competition for the spot between the sticks and the leader at the back.