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Palermo 2, Milan 2: Horror Show at the Renzo Barbera

How many posts must I write and use any form of decent vocabulary in relation to Allegri? He has gone well beyond questionable tactician or provincial manager. No, when I saw tonight’s lineup, psychotic madman were the words that came to mind. And the results show, too. We could have easily dominated this match, kept a clean sheet, and maybe even scored three or four goals. But with the formation and lineup he fielded, we were lucky to come away with the draw. Kind of like in the Charlie Brown Halloween special, when the other kids talk about what candy they got, and he says "I got a rock." Only we're the blockheads, and Allegri is handing out the rocks. I guess it really is Halloween tomorrow, based on how we played tonight.

Hooray, our boys salvaged a point!

After managing a win with a 3-4-3 on Saturday, Allegri apparently felt the need to tinker further and field a 3-5-2. Only he didn’t even field Emanuelson, a player that would allow him to switch tactics fluidly during the match in case it was an epic fail. Which it was. The 3-5-2 he lined up essentially put seven defensive players on the pitch with only 3 attacking players, one of which who likes to play deep. Putting Urby on in the half and switching to a 3-4-3 was his only sane moment, even if it was 45 minutes too late. But after the Brienza goal, he panicked and took off our best defender and a midfielder for two more attackers, I guess you would call that a 4-2-4 at that point? (That's what my commentators called it, anyway.) And just because we pulled two back after that doesn’t make this a success. Because first of all, we shouldn’t have been down in the first place, and secondly, it was still horrible football with too many risks.

But let me tell you about the horror show. Bonera opened it up with a yellow in the first minute. Yes, our captain, mixing things up with the fabulous and horrible performances, will miss the next match against Chievo due to yellow card accumulation. Not to be outdone, poor Donati pulled a muscle in the 6th, meaning he had to be subbed off for Von Bergen. This should have been an advantage for Milan, but we certainly didn’t capitalize on it.

Yepes was monstrous on defense again

We had some early chances from both Pato and El Shaarawy, it looked promising, and Yepes was keeping things clean at the back, too. It was probably the 16th minute that I realized that I was watching a horror show, not a football match. Miccoli managed to get himself 1 v. 1 with Bonera, meaning he got a dangerous shot off across the face of goal. I also realized that this was not going to be one of Bonera’s good nights, as if the yellow hadn’t already told me that. In the 19th, Amelia redeemed my faith temporarily with a save on a nice Palermo free kick, even if he bobbled it a bit first. Nocerino also took one of a couple of bullet shots in the 23rd, but Ujkani denied him drawing blood on his former team like that.

In the 23rd, Constant earned a dumb yellow. Apparently the boys had seen one of Oprah’s favorite things shows, and they thought that everyone was supposed to get a yellow, just like on her show. From about the 24th minute, about every other note I jotted down involved Miccoli taking a shot. How he was kept off the board so long, I will never know, because despite having seven defensive players on the pitch, it seemed that none of them could contain him. Well, and Constant was particularly helpful, passing it straight to him in the box in the 26th. Miccoli mercifully sent that one into orbit. Flamini grabbed his Oprah yellow card in the 32nd minute, at least it wasn’t his usual red. And in the 40th, El Shaarawy, as defenders were closing in on him, passed the ball to Abate, who was open, and made Robinho look clinical with some serious sky jousting. I love Abate, but maybe he shouldn’t take shots. Or apparently defend in the box, either, as he was called for a handball in the 45th, giving Palermo a penalty. A penalty which Miccoli (who else?) converted in the 46th to make it 1-0 Palermo going into the half.

Pato played well, but needs more support to start the scoring machine again

So with Urby coming on for Flamini in the second half, we learned 2 things: Allegri can, in fact, sub early, especially to cover his mistakes. And secondly, sometimes he actually catches his errors prior to the 90 minute mark. But it was too little, too late, as Brienza scored in the 47th, 2-0 Palermo. So Allegri goes into desperation mode and throws on Bojan for Pato in the 53rd, then puts on Pazzini for Yepes in the 54th. So it looked like a 4-2-4 at that point, his third formation of the game, and for a while it looked like all hope was lost. Like when you’re watching a horror film and everyone but the girl knows she shouldn’t open that door. But she does anyway.

In the 56th, Ilicic put a shot high over the bar. A Gasperini sub, Giorgi on for Brienza in the 57th, and then a yellow card for Garcia in the 58th. But then, like Frankenstein’s monster, our boys started showing a little life. In the 58th, Bojan had a shot blocked, and the resulting corner was saved, too. In the 65th, Urby took a beautiful free kick that forced Ujkani into a great save. In the 68th, in an almost identical play to Saturday’s El Shaarawy goal, Abate crossed it for il Faraone, only this time a defender was able to get the slightest deflection to prevent the goal. But nothing could stop Montolivo’s shot, assisted by Bojan, in the 69th, finally: goal, Milan. Palermo 2, Milan 1.

Finally! Montolivo on the charts! Halloween candy for you!

That seemed to bring the team to life that much more, we went from deflated to suddenly back in the game. Miccoli, however, had run his little legs off, and in the 71st was cramping, being assisted by Amelia, who had greeted him with a big hug before the game. Always good to see such sportsmanship toward the Milan youth product. In the 75th, Cetto tuned into Oprah’s show and earned his card via a lovely foul on Bojan. But it was in the 80th that El Shaarawy would strike again following a free kick. 2-2.

Now Milan were playing for the win, with urgency that they only seem to have in the dying minutes this season. And Mexes decided he wanted to try that Oprah deal, too, earning his yellow in the 86th. We kept trying, but to no avail. Bojan had a great shot in the 90th that was saved by Ujkani, for example. But when the ref whistled full time, we were level on goals with the number 18 team in the league. Palermo’s fourth straight draw, and a loss of two important points for us.

Age truly is just a number, this pharaoh is wise beyond his years

Many of us foresaw this season being tough. Between the lack of quality in the mercato and the loss of so many important players, we knew it would be hard. But none of us could have seen the nosedive Allegri would take in tactics and lineups. It should hurt, we should feel the squad changes. But it shouldn’t hurt this much. And we shouldn’t be repressing expletives every time they release the lineups or having our heads explode when we read Allegri’s press conferences. It’s like Halloween all year, and while I happen to love this holiday, it’s not like anyone is dressing up or giving me candy, so I can’t sign on. Hopefully Allegri gets a sugar rush and starts actually thinking through his lineups and formations soon. These boys are better than this, we should have had the full three points on this one, with all due respect to Palermo. I know I, for one, don’t want to endure any more horror shows, at the Renzo Barbera or otherwise.


Last but not least, for those of you celebrating Halloween tomorrow of your own choosing, here’s a scurvy bilge rat for ye…


Happy Halloween!


This post inspired by the music of Elaine’s Halloween mix, including Ministry, Interpol, Oingo Boingo, Echo & the Bunnymen, The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, and more


Our next match is
Milan vs. Chievo
Saturday, November 3 • 18:00 CET (1pm EDT)