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Podcast: Rotations and Substitutions

Milan’s performances and results recently are lacking, but things are improving off the pitch. The announcement that Ivan Gazidis is finally going to come to the club as CEO was contrasted by lackluster performances on the pitch. Gattuso’s lack of experience is starting to show more as the number of games per week increases. So with things at the top improving while things on the pitch seem to be unravelling a bit, we focused more on rotation cultivation.
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Milan 2, Atalanta 2: Stalemate

Another three points we let slip through our fingers… although this time at least it was to a worthy opponent. The match could have ended any other way, even just by the inches Bonaventura was offside when his first goal was disallowed. But Milan slightly outplayed Atalanta, and Gasperini’s assistant, Gritti, slightly out-coached Gattuso. And when it is that close, it can easily end in a stalemate.

Milan-Atalanta Preview: Gasperini’s Boys

Atalanta are an anomaly. They are a club with a pretty small budget, yet have been yielding excellent returns in recent years. With a wage bill of only €27m compared to Milan’s ridiculous €140m, Atalanta have to be taken very seriously. Indeed, they have gone from 13th in 2015-16 to finishing fourth the next year, and then last year in seventh, just behind us. Much of that success has been at the hands of the former coaching merry-go-round mainstay, Gian Piero Gasperini. He found his niche, apparently. So it is with much trepidation that we welcome to the San Siro on Sunday “Gasperini’s Boys.”

F91 Dudelange 0, Milan 1: Football Royalty

Near the beginning of the second half, my commentator referred to Milan as “football royalty.” But the only royalty from Milan were in the stands or on the sideline in the likes of Maldini, Leonardo, and Gattuso. That last guy only brought 19 players to Luxembourg, and only started two starters in an eleven that would never be called royalty. They were absolutely woeful, and lucky to score the goal. But Dudelange were the first team from Luxembourg to ever play in the Europa League Group stage. And for that alone, tonight they were football royalty.

Europa League • F91 Dudelange-AC Milan Preview: The Big Kids Table

Often at family gatherings, the youngest children are relegated to sitting out of sight, out of mind at a small table. The goal for those children is to be “big” enough both physically and socially, to be able to sit at the “big kids” table. I assume that is what Dudelange feel like, making it to the Europa League Group Stage not only for the first time in their club’s history, but also being the first Luxembourgish team to do so. Whether or not they are ready for dinner is another question altogether. But congratulations, Dudelange. And welcome to the big kids table.

Cagliari 1, Milan 1: Charade

The good news is that Milan played much better in the second half than they did in the first. The bad news is that the bar was so low for how badly they played in the first half that a rec league of grandmothers could have played better than Milan, at least for the first 25 minutes or so. Not even an early goal woke them up, it was as if this team were falsely wearing the red and black and putting on a charade.

Cagliari-Milan Preview: Without Further Ado

I will never understand why they start the season, and two or three weeks later have an international break. It seems so counter-intuitive. And with Milan’s match with Genoa having been postponed in the wake of tragedy, we have actually only played two games thus far, while Cagliari have played three. But it doesn’t matter now, Serie A is back. Personally, I don’t care who we play or how many matches they’ve had, I’m just ready for my Milan to play again, without further ado.

What It Means to Win Again

For brand new Milan fans, perhaps they wouldn’t understand. But for Milan fans who have been around for five, ten, twenty years or more, that title means everything. Having seen a Milan play in Champions League and perhaps even win it, then be saddled with Galliani’s trash signings and retirement-aged free transfers is like watching a family member suffer a terrible tragedy or illness and be reduced to a patient in bed, possibly in a coma. For years, each season, each mercato, we clung to any sign or hope from management or in the transfer windows, only to have those hopes dashed again once the team took to the pitch. But this time is different. This time, Maldini is back at the club, and he is providing a much-needed salve for our long-term wounds. Of all of the people in the world, he especially knows what it means to win again.

Podcast: The Power of Maldini

The clouds have truly lifted at Milanello, and the source of that bright shining light is not the sun, but rather the legendary Paolo Maldini. His mere presence has changed the atmosphere at and around the club. Victory is that much sweeter when he is watching his beloved team play as a director, where he should have been since he retired. He’s helped everyone raise their levels already, even Gattuso. That is the power of Maldini.

Mattia Caldara: Destiny of Defense

When Bonucci came to Milan, it seemed as if we had found the perfect experienced defensive partner for Romagnoli for at least the next few years. But actually, we found the perfect partner for Romagnoli for a very long time, because Bonucci’s short-lived stay at Milan allowed us to swap him back directly for the next generation center back, Caldara. Depending on how he develops, we might not see him as much as we might like this season, but it won’t be long before he will become the destiny of our defense.