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
Often forgotten in the horrific way the season ended was the stellar combination that began developing between Pato and Marco Borriello in November and December. In fact Ronaldinho, Pato, and Borriello made quite a potent trident:
This year the hope is that they can rekindle that dynamic duo/trio but more importantly it is that Pato stays healthy and begins to mature and complete his game. Yes he can fly and yes he can dribble, but it is time that he begins to use that skill set to become more dynamic and keep defenses off balance. Interchanging with Borriello, playing one two combinations, and knowing when to take on defenders are all aspects of Pato’s game that I hope blossom this season. The balance between the two is very good as Borriello proved capable of picking up balls from the midfield last season, but even he needs to focus on being less wasteful in front of goal so that missed chances are not the difference between a win and a draw or a draw and a loss.
Management still says we need a striker, but this is the same crackpot management team who bought KJH for 15M. At the sake of sounding like a broken a record, I hope we don’t make that mistake all over again. With that said, what becomes of few fan’s favorite traffic cone? First and foremost he should be able to at least become the first striker off the bench, but his effectiveness in a 4-3-3 is limited, making him a bit of a liability if that is the chosen formation. Allegri should consider pairing him with Pato or Borriello in a 4-3-1-2 but again only if his preferred formation ever comes to fruition, but only time will tell if that happens. How do you play 4-3-1-2 without a proper CAM?
Also on the bench is the legend, Pippo Inzaghi, but another year older has not done him any favors. He struggled for fitness at times last year and had a difficult summer with niggling injuries. His value is still evident, but now far more limited than in the past. Can we count him to score double digit goals in the last few months of the season? I no longer think so, but using him in the right moments in the proper position, toeing the defensive line, should be a priority if the proper scenario presents itself.
Also on the bench are the youngsters Oduamadi, Zigoni, and Verdi. All of them a bit raw, but providing enough cover in a rather deep striker position to make a difference. Mixing them in can’t hurt and best case scenario they do their best Paloschi impersonation and net a few goals for the cause! Worst case scenario, they don’t pan out and we can ship them to Parma to get Paloschi back! Zigoni proved his worth time and time again last season for the Primavera, and Oduamadi looks OK to play wide right when needed, so that alone should bring some confidence in the bench.
Let’s not forget Milan still hold the rights to Dominic Adiyiah who has been snubbed this preseason and appears to be growing unhappy with his lack of inclusion. A loan move to various clubs has been discussed but it will be shame to lose a player who proved his quality at the U20 World Cup. He didn’t have the same level of success this summer in South Africa but the fact that he was called upon for his country in such a big match against Uruguay proved his value. Simply put, in Holland’s biggest matches KJH never saw the pitch, but in Ghana’s Adiyiah was called upon. Keep an eye on Adiyiah and where he ends up* because it appear Milan are not keen to quit on him just yet and he still may prove a factor in the striker mix this season.
* Since I wrote this piece Adiyiah has been loaned, not co-owned, to Reggina for the season. This should help his adjustment to Italy both on and off the pitch. Keep an eye him as I believe he still has a role to play for AC Milan.