Historically Milan versus Udinese has been a goal scoring affair. Recent draws with 4 to 6 goals, there was a Cassano cracker at 3-3, Maxi Lopez magic and Muntari magic. I just felt this one was destined for goals. Instead Milan seemed oddly enough able to control the tempo, and while they didn't truly dominate the ball or the match they showed flashes of what a good team should look like. A clean sheet, solid defending, and a goal out of the CAM spot.
Birsa continues to impress, and the attacking trio seem to working for each other. Another week, another goose egg from Matri but he does continue to do the little things which a striker not scorer absolutely should. Robinho will never reach the heights of a few seasons but he is at least moving around and looks like a team player. Whereas, Poli is an absolute jack in the box! The big surprise was Gabriel, who was a nightmare at the Olympics, but on this day looked light years ahead of where he was tactically. Smart off his line, good distribution, it would appear his time in Italy has worked wonders and his future may be brighter than I gave him credit for.
One player who I can't say the same for is Niang. For many "fans" he has become the new Pato, a player who they demand must play, and then when given the chance does nothing but give the ball away and make poor choices. Last season his trademark was an impeccable work rate on the flanks, this season he doesn't even have that. 26 appearances last season and not a goal to his name, and this season much of the same with much less work rate. Truly good players make the most of their chances, over-hyped players lay goose eggs. Expect to here some whining about Niang over the next few months before he is sold in January and forever forgotten.
Kaka also returned to action, and the San Siro faithful where more enthused than I was. I imagine Max will try to work him in Tuesday, and it may not be for the better. One player who certainly should be worked in is Silvestre. He did the simple defending that has been sorely lacking at Milan. No over complicating passing, no over exposure getting forward, his simple efficient defending covered well for Constant was getting owned on the flank, but also seemed to give some composure to Zapata. He starts for me on Tuesday.
A simple forgettable win, but a building block in the long and arduous road ahead.