You always have to wonder if the introduction of the second choice keeper due to injury will have an effect on the outcome of the match. This time, it seemed it did, but frankly it wasn't Amelia's misjudgement that cost us, it was Abate's. Coupled with the miscommunication between the two and what would have been a solid well earned draw, became a PK and points lost. Things are getting thick at the top of the table, but if you have followed this Club for as long as I have, it's no surprise. AC Milan does things the hard way.
I laid out a few pregame musts, win the midfield and stifle Pirlo were top of my list. For stretches of the match Milan did just that. Good work ethic from Boateng, Monty, and Ambro and you have to believe Mr. Pirlo doesn't like Boateng much. Vucinic was left as dry as the commentary on bEIN on this day, and even he and Ray Hudson were left wondering where the service had gone. Even Marchisio had a to work harder than normal, doing less in attack and more in defense, but this is usually a trait of smart midfielders who know they need to get their "hands" dirty in matches like this one. I don't often envy player's of opposing teams, but you have to imagine had Allegri gotten his wish with Asamoah there would have been no PK, and Milan would be a much different team in the midfield! You can't live in what could have been and that goes for failed transfers and today's result.
The attack is where I was left the most disappointing. To spread out, a bit to static and not enough interplay. I understand the inclusion of Robinho, I fully do, as he can break down a team with a single pass, but his lack of chemistry in this team has rendered him useless and he will be the next Brazilian to be shown the door. El Sharaawy continues to struggle and swapping his flank today was more desperation than tactical check mate. The straw that broke the camel's back for me was the inclusion of Bojo the Clown, who did NOTHING, but this was more down to lack of real options and game changers off the bench than anything else. Two subs due to injury, and an ineffective Robinho meant that Bojan was the only "real" choice for the role of connector, but even in his top form with Milan he has been below average. Niang could have made a difference, or struggled as he did last week in a high pressure situation so use hindsight all the way if you are going to rely on it!?
Defensively and through the midfield Milan were strong. The CBs continue to play intelligently, but Mexes still takes far to many fouls for my liking with something like 16 yellow cards on the season! Zapata however seems to be improving with each and match and while he is no longer the silky smooth CB he was with Udine, he still has his tactics to fall back on. So once again we are left wondering, what if Abbiati had not gotten hurt? What if Ambro were fit for the entire match? Once again Allegri will be questioned and chastised for choices beyond his control, and once again we will be left to ponder what could have been.
Simply put, a draw would have been A-OK, but instead a hard fought point earned it was a point lost, and what should have been three games to define a season were more like three games to forget. This is what happens with teams in transition, young teams, and teams that are growing. Inconsistent and bit rough around the edges, but we have seen what they are capable on their best days, and we know what it can look like on their worst. The unbeaten run is over, but all good things come to an end, it's time to move forward once again.