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Lazio 3, Milan 2: Nobody Broke the Duck

As of this writing (and notice I wrote it as quickly as possible so it would still be valid) Pato played nearly 45 minutes for Milan and did not sustain an injury. That might be the brightest spot in this match, I’m not sure. Certainly Lazio take away a deserved three points at home, and Milan sink deeper into the mire that is our season.

Pato and all of his muscles are still in one piece. Better than a win?
Milan started out very timidly, both sides kind of did, I guess. It was De Jong who took the first shot in the 7th, which went wide of the target. Then in the 12th, Nocerino got a yellow card for shoving a little too much, to which Dias answered back by fouling Nocerino in the 13th and earning his own yellow card. It seemed like everyone was waking up, but maybe a little grumpy.

In the 15th, Lazio took a corner, and Milan did not concede. In fact, Lazio took five corners, and we didn’t concede on any of them. Nor on any free kicks. This is perhaps more noteworthy than Pato staying healthy. Prior to this game, 6 out of 7 of our goals conceded in the league were all from set pieces. Tonight, we conceded 3 goals, all from the run of play, and 0 from set pieces. Sure, we conceded 3 goals, but that’s still positive, right? (Work with me, people, I’m looking for the silver lining here.)

De Jong opens the shooting, that's what defensive midfielders do best, right?

Speaking of conceding goals, Bonera can be largely blamed for the first goal in the 25th from Hernanes, as it was Bonera’s deflection that sent Amelia the wrong way. And well, his poor defending in the first place. Actually, who would I talk to about getting that goal credited to Bonera? He’s only ever scored one goal for his team, he should at least get to chalk up the own goals. Anyway, it was 1-0 Lazio after 25 minutes, and you could see on the players faces that it hurt Milan to concede so quickly.

That is, unless your name is El Shaarawy, who simply decided to try to put one back for Milan less than a minute later. Only Dias stepped in with an amazing goal line clearance to thwart the youngster’s plans. And after Yepes, who was by far and away our best (our only?) defender on the night earned himself a yellow card in the 37th for a bad foul on Klose, there was only one thing that could make the 1st half end worse: an exquisite goal by Candreva in the 41st. 2-0 Lazio at the half. Sigh.

Allegri breaks out the fine china in the 51st...

At the half, Allegri did something he rarely does unless forced to by injury: he substituted. That’s right, he took off the deadbeat Boateng for the hard working Emanuelson. Which had almost an immediate effect in that Klose scored a goal not 4 minutes later, in the 49th. 3-0 Lazio. And when that obviously was not the desired effect, to Allegri’s credit, he took off the also largely ineffective Nocerino for Pato in the 51st. That’s right, he broke out the duck. This did have an impact, as in a two minute period, three chances were created for headers for Milan – two for Pazzo and one for Pato, all very dangerous.

But then Antonini completely lost it and was arguing with Gonzalez over some contact of some kind, and both earned yellow cards as a distraction. This might be one of the most productive moments in the game for Antonini, who was just as dreadful as we remembered him. I remember at one point in the game, one of his “crosses” seemed aimed for Allegri, but he didn’t even get that one right. Where was De Sciglio, the birthday boy?

De Jong broke Bizzarri's clean sheet

Well anyway, in the 61st, ironically on a set piece, De Jong scored for Milan. A great little tap in from Urby’s nice free kick, I have to admit it felt good all around. Lazio 3, Milan 1. Lazio didn’t seem nervous at this point, but Amelia was called in to action more frequently from here on out. As was Bizzarri, who had stepped in for Marchetti at the very last minute for some fitness issue. Bizzarri would be called upon for 4 saves on the night, whereas Amelia made 5. Which is a good night for a couple of backup keepers dusting off the cobwebs, even if they both also conceded multiple goals.

Speaking once again of conceding, Pato and El Shaarawy were looking ever more dangerous as the minutes ticked off the clock, and it was in the 79th that El Shaarawy scored his 5th Serie A goal of the season. Lazio 3, Milan 2. It was brilliant, of course, as all of his goals seem to be, and suddenly, now, Milan decided to fight for the draw or the win. The urgency they should have had from kickoff was burned off without reward until the end of stoppage time. Not even when Bojan replaced the anemic Antonini in the 85th did it make a difference.

The teenager schools everyone else on the team with 5 goals in the league

I really don’t know where to begin. Yes, I have been saying now for a while that Allegri needs to go. But not for the usual reasons, mainly I think the squad needs a bit of a shakeup, a mental change more than anything, and no matter what Allegri does tactically, the lasting damage to the mentality of this team inflicted by management, money, transfers, etc. won’t change unless there is a mental shakeup. I mean this is a team who were each handed the keys to a brand new Audi car with their name on it just two days ago, but they couldn’t even prevent the goals let alone come back and fight, even with 58% total possession. In fact, they have averaged close to 60% possession all season long, and created a disgusting amount of chances, but haven’t capitalized on them.

Yepes covered for Bonera and Antonini tonight while Acerbi, Mexes and De Sciglio sat

Allegri has yet to find both the correct formation and the right players in the midfield, and he plays a different backline almost every game. Certain players are given endless starts (I’m looking at you, Boateng!) where they are not producing, and other players of seemingly better quality (or better suited for the position or formation) are benched. But that aside, first and foremost, this is not a team even remotely approaching the caliber we’ve enjoyed recently. Couple that with Allegri’s hail mary tactics that keep one scratching their head and rarely produce any results. If the initial goal was the Scudetto, or even the top three in the table, and we started this match in 11th after seven games played, aren’t we now looking to avoid relegation? Something has to change, and not much else can. I say give Allegri a vacation, and see if a little shakeup can’t bring some consistency and discipline to this squad. I think there is more potential in this team than Allegri’s managed to tap into, even if I don’t think we’re contenders with this Budget Milan™ group.

More photographic proof that he is still in one piece

But bottom line, Pato played nearly 45 minutes and did not get injured. That truly is something. Which also means he should be healthy to help us vs. Malaga in the Champions League on Wednesday, at least at kickoff. This whole season is like a bad hangover, so why not drink it off? If counting our lucky stars includes one player playing half of a game, we definitely need something to ease the pain. Because giving up on our boys, no matter who they are or how poorly they play, is not an option. So let’s trudge ahead in the schedule and hope that Pato stays healthy. That will certainly be something to brag about if it continues.


This post inspired by the music of Ministry


Our next game is
Champions League Group Stage
Malaga vs. AC Milan
Wednesday, October 24th • 20:45 CEST (2:45 EDT)