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Napoli 2 Milan 2

Same Old Song and Dance

Claudio Villa

You have to admit it get's a little old when your team concedes before you even get your stream going. Today in my hostile mother land, it was no different. Abbiati with a howler that will somehow get blamed on Max Allegri followed by an Insigne nail in the coffin at the 30 minute mark, and this one was blame over...or was it?

When I was six years old I remember very distinctly playing a game of pick up soccer at a Birthday party. It matters little whose party it was or where we were, but only that everyone wanted to be Diego Armando Maradona. In fact all of my cousins wanted to be the husky Argentine, and all they all wanted to root for Napoli! Front runners!? They all had tasted victory, and now were drunk on their King Diego. I on the other hand had already made my bed, it was Red and Black and now I remember those formative years when these two teams clash.

While I am sure many fans believed it was over, Stephen El Sharaawy did not. In fact the Little Pharaoh has not shown an ounce of quit in him all season or any match. While we watch a star being born, we have to notice that Milan didn't play all that poorly. The bulk of possession, 56% to be exact, and 28 shots to Napoli's 12, and you have to wonder how the score got so lopsided, and you remember why not conceded is paramount! First glance at the lineup was a bit puzzling and while it was shown as a 4-3-3 it didn't take long to see Milan drop into the comfortable 4-3-1-2 many of us remember fondly. It helped keep possession and it helped keep balance against Napoli's 3-5-2, but it didn't help individual performances that once again are the cause of Milan's plight. Once that team got over that initial shell shocking, and realized, yes they can play football things improved.

Boateng was a sight for sore eyes, poor shooting still, but much busier and dangerous. Passing, possession, and movement all worked as well, but the pressing needs and can be better for all involved. If Milan were to simply start applying pressure early in the attacking third, things would improve dramatically. Part of that was on Bojan today, but as Allegri shook things up adding Pazzini, Niang and Robinho the simple increase in numbers made it harder for Napoli to play out of the back and build attacks.

A draw, away from home, after being two goals down sure feels like a victory. But in the midst of a season like this one, even the smallest victories are ones to celebrate. This is yet again a small step forward to a better Milan, enjoy it!