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Milan 1 Catania 1: A Frustrating Point

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It is only the third game of the season and my hopes have all almost all been replaced by frustrations. I know people love to say the season is long and the team needs time to gel, among other silly excuses, but 4 points out of possible 9 in three nearly must win games, I just can’t help but feel we really lack the swagger and personnel to be a contender. Considering our new high powered, high priced attack has yielded zero goals in 180 minutes of Serie A action, and needed Pippo, who was offside 100% of the time (even on the goal) to draw level, says a lot about the team as a whole.

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This is a good game for thrashing the team because absolutely no one was without fault. From Allegri to Abbiati this game was a mess. There was absolutely no secret to what Catania set out to do on this day, and it won’t be the first or last time a team deploys this tactic because, frankly, Milan has absolutely no answer. To break a ten man defense a team needs dynamic movement, strong passing angles, and a player who can make the pinpoint pass. The Milan brass claim we have all those attributes, but the result says painfully otherwise. Example, the ball is played to Ronaldinho who is swarmed by four players early in the match, or until the opponent realizes they only need one, then things continue to go downhill. He then tries to find Zlatan with a hopeful lofted ball to space, not even to feet, and possession is lost. In fact based on the way this team played yesterday it is a miracle that Ronaldinho got the ball at all considering we were basically a 4-0-1-5 with absolutely no midfield presence. If you look at Catania’s first goal and forget for a moment the shambolic defensive clearance that sent to ball to Capuano, if we had a midfield or even a forward with the presence of mind to read the game, a good player would have seen the defender join the attack and they would have marked him instead of standing by idle, Milan’s team of “Champions” did not…

Allegri was smart to play Boateng who has all the makings of a future star, but the intelligence stopped there. The Ghanaian seemed to have zero instruction and was like a jack in the box popping all over the field allowing Catania possession in areas he was not, was this by design or shear exuberance? I don’t know, but I fear if he and Flamini play together the opponents will play keep away until they are fouled. Back to Allegri, instead of planning to defend the counter we decided to continue on in the 4-3-3, because there is no other formation to get Ronaldinho on the field, when maybe a 4-3-1-2 with Seedorf behind strikers was the better option for this match! To make matters worse, some were calling for substitutions but a look at the bench would have shown that options were limited and the whole issue of depth I have been harping on becomes a problem yet again. I really thought Allegri would make the tough choices, be less static in his formation and the way players were used, but instead this is Leo part II, and the end result will probably be worse. With a midweek game against Lazio on Wednesday and Robinho potentially unfit, it is time Allegri makes the smart move with the players available or he will be job hunting at Christmas like he was last season.

Italy Soccer Serie AMore frustrating than the draw today was that in the last three games, and to some extent even the first game, Milan continue to lack any real identity. If someone asked what AC Milan was this season you would struggle to find anything other than the word bad! Is this team balanced? Attacking? Gritty? Not a single one of those fits the bill and as I look at the players and even the coach I can’t help but feel the Milan I know, check that knew, is lost and soon forgotten. Not sure what to make of this “new look” Milan, but it certainly doesn’t feel like mine…