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Showing posts from November, 2012

Catania 1, Milan 3: Pretty Ugly

This game was divided into two categories: the pretty and the ugly. There wasn’t much pretty at all, but what there was of it was very, very pretty. The ugly dominated the game, and no, I’m not talking about the players’ looks this time. There was some very, very ugly football, and there were some very, very ugly fouls. But luckily for Milan, the pretty was what counted and gave us three very crucial points. It may not have all been pretty, but I’ll take it.

Catania vs. Milan: Game On!

Catania-Milan Preview: Sicilian Safari

Friday night, our boys will face eleven elefanti on the island of Sicily. Should we be afraid? Well, have you ever faced eleven elephants? Or been to Sicily? Of course we should be afraid. We are flying high from an unexpected victory, and we need to make sure that our boys have come back down to earth. We are potentially missing some key players, and Catania are coming off of a disappointing loss in the Sicilian derby. Plus, we’re traveling to Catania. It’s not an easy place to play. But hopefully, our boys will be all ‘doped up’ on Berlusconi’s words that he should be sharing with them today, and will brave their Sicilian Safari and keep those elephants at bay.

Gabriel Vasconcelos Ferreira: The Boy in the Net

Even before the transfer market opened this summer, news of a young Brazilian keeper coming to Milan broke. He came from Cruzeiro and was set to replace Flavio Roma in the third keeper spot. His name was one of those multi-syllable, multi-name Brazilian ones that I struggle with: Gabriel Vasconcelos Ferreira. So I was glad to know we could simply call him Gabriel. But who was this mere boy who could possibly, in some unforeseen circumstance, be minding the nets for my Milan?

Milan 1, Juventus 0: Vindication

Who would have believed we could pull off three miracles in one week? First the draw in Napoli, then the victory in Belgium, and now the victory over league leaders Juventus? But this victory is so much more than 3 points. It is a victory over all of the Juve fans who mocked our players, our position in the table, our “provincial” side, our coach, etc. It is a victory over ghosts and ghost goals. But mostly it is a victory for our self belief. If this Budget Milan™ is capable of beating the league leaders, then we are capable of doing other amazing things, too. And if Allegri continues to lineup like this consistently, we may even be able to string a few wins together. Either way, this match was certainly vindication.

Milan vs. Juventus: Game On!

Milan-Juve Preview: Smacktalk Week™?

For those who don’t know, I am guilty of sleeping with the enemy. I am married to a Juventus fan. And the best part about this sordid arrangement is that twice a year, I indulge in “Smacktalk Week™.” Given that the children have also chosen Milan as their team, we enjoy the numerical advantage. Given that we are Diavoli, we also enjoy a certain cunning advantage, too. So regardless of the outcome of the game, Smacktalk Week™ is always enjoyable here. Until now. The first place team paying a visit to the twelfth place team? Only a fool would engage in smacktalk as a fan of the twelfth place team. I am not a fool. Thanks, Budget Milan™. You’ve even ruined Smacktalk Week™ for me.

Champions League – Anderlecht 1, Milan 3: Qualified.

It wasn’t pretty, it was very improbable, and honestly almost inexplicable. But as I have said before, the Champions League is in Milan’s blood. No amount of experienced or talented players leaving, no players being betrayed and sold, no management epic fails, no coach who is frankly on the wrong side of the fine line that is sanity could change our fate. Tonight, with only a few moments of brilliance and a lot of ugly football, Milan secured their place in the Round of 16 along with Málaga. Qualified.

Champions League - Anderlecht vs. Milan: Game On!

Champions League – Anderlecht vs. AC Milan Preview: Atonement

If you will recall when Anderlecht came to the San Siro in September, the match people were certain we would win ended in a 0-0 draw. If it wasn’t the low point of our season, it was one of the low points. So now we head to Belgium for the chance to atone for this match. But we have to do it in their house, having just played Napoli on Saturday and needing to save something for the match against Juventus on Sunday. With Galliani publicly insulting, Allegri berating and insulting, and Berlusconi telling Allegri how to do his job, it’s not the ideal climate for success. However, I sense that our boys are tired of not winning and want to prove themselves. So I think they will give it their all, whichever 11 are lucky enough to play, in whichever formation Allegri decides to play them in, and despite anything the insane multiple personality tactician decides to scream at them. Our boys are looking for atonement, come what may.

Napoli 2, Milan 2: Che Miracolo!

I thought that we would be seriously outplayed in this match, but surprisingly, our boys held their own quite well. With a very attacking mentality, we maintained a lot of possession and were able to take a lot of shots. But facing off with the Brute Squad was no easy feat. Well, that and surviving the pitch and the atmosphere at the San Paolo. But we escaped Napoli with a point, which is a miracle in and of itself. And we did it coming from two down, too. Che Miracolo!

Napoli vs. Milan: Game On!

Napoli-Milan Preview: Volcano Advisory

In the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius lies the Stadio San Paolo. It is one of those stadiums that I would call “hostile” – heavy on the fans, light on hospitality, and very difficult to get a win there. The inhabitants of that stadium are Serie A’s new brute squad, and have just recently slipped from second on the table to third after keeping up with Juventus point for point for the first part of the season. After a slight dip in form, they are ready to explode back into the Scudetto chase. And we are their next victims. Consider this an official volcano advisory. On Saturday, Vesuvius is gonna blow.

Is There a Method to His Madness?

Despite intense criticism from everyone from fans all the way up to Berlusconi and Galliani, Allegri has done things his way, with a stubbornness that would make Napoleon blush. We have talked about the lack of any consistency in his lineups, and then there was all of the yelling at the team at halftime on Sunday, and accusing the players of conspiring against him. All of this has led to some pretty legitimate questions as to the state of his mental health, with many calling him “Mad Max.” But I started to think… what if there is actually a method to his madness? Is there a single technique he uses to generate his random lineups? So with some help from Sposato al Nemico ("Married to the Enemy"), who has some frighteningly plausible insights into the mind of a madman, we came up with five theories as to how Allegri picks his lineups

Budget Milan™ Survival Guide

Even before Milan’s management betrayed the hearts of Milanisti worldwide this summer by selling Ibra and Thiago Silva, it was clear this season was going to hurt. All in all we said goodbye to fourteen players, and even if they had been replaced like for like in quality, it would still be a while before they would be a team and we could still not be playing our best football. But it was obvious that even before the mercato they were buying inferior players. And when PSG made them an offer they didn’t refuse, it was clear that we were in for some massive pain. Add in Galliani’s “hands on” supervision and repeated criticisms and confirmations of Allegri, and Allegri doing everything in his power to undermine the quality we do have and blaming everyone but the man in the mirror, and it has become painfully obvious that it is one of the worst times to be a Milan fan in its almost 113 year history.

Milan 1, Fiorentina 3: Purple Heartbreak

Looking at our respective positions in the table going into this match, we knew it was possible, even probable that we could lose this one. But how it would all go down was yet to be determined. We had hoped it would at least be a decent battle. However, from ten minutes in, our hearts were crushed, and it was all downhill from there.

Milan vs. Fiorentina: Game On!

Milan-Fiorentina Preview: Viola Invasion

On Sunday, the purple army from Firenze marches into the San Siro. Flying a little bit under the radar, they are more dangerous than they might seem at first. Without any real fanfare, they have crept up into fourth in the league and look increasingly dangerous each match. Under the careful guidance of Vincenzo Montella, la Viola look to invade the San Siro tomorrow and take no prisoners… or concede any goals, either.

Mister Inconsistent

Rarely am I a woman of few words, but today I thought I would let the graphics do the talking. Below are Allegri’s lineups this season to date. You can see for yourself the vast changes in both lineups and formations. Some players were lined up consistently, but did not play consistently and vice-versa. But I would just like to ask one question: If Allegri expects his players to be consistent, then shouldn’t his formations at least have some consistency, let alone the starting 11?

Milan 0, Sampdoria 1 Sunday August 26

Champions League Milan 1, Málaga 1: Is Our Best Good Enough?

As I type this, I imagine Allegri is in the press conference area at the San Siro saying things like “We played well,” and “The results are not accurate.” With 56% possession and 19 shots, 6 on goal, perhaps we should have grabbed a better result. And truly, our boys did play pretty well. But in the end, we have to ask ourselves, is our best good enough?

Champions League – Milan vs. Málaga: Game On!

Champions League Preview - AC Milan vs. Malaga: Prepare to Die

In the cult classic “The Princess Bride,” there is a character who devotes his life to avenge his father’s death. He tells everyone he meets what he will say when he finds the six-fingered man: “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” Much like the valiant and honorable Inigo Montoya (who is ironically Spanish,) Milan want to avenge the losses of their players this summer, the loss of faith in management and our coach, and especially their less-than-worthy-of-Milan performances. Particularly that 1-0 loss in Málaga less than two weeks ago. Perhaps Málaga will be welcomed by the greeting, “Hello. Our name is AC Milan. You took our dignity, prepare to die.”

Milan 5, Chievo 1: Goalfest 2012

Oprah’s influence was strong again this match. But rather than yellow cards, this time her disciples got goals instead…. “You get a goal! And you get a goal! Eve-ry-body gets a goal!!!” It was a great day to be a Milan fan, I wish it could always be like this, it’s much more fun than losing or even drawing. Although it wasn’t such a great day to be Dramé, I am hoping for nothing serious and a speedy and complete recovery from his head injury. So other than that and those absolutely hideous Chievo kits, the Goalfest 2012 was a very pleasant surprise.

Milan vs. Chievo: Game On!

Milan-Chievo Preview: Lowered Expectations

Last year there were certain matches that we were simply expected to win. Obviously, in any match anything can happen. But this year, much like the comedy spoof of an online dating service, we definitely have Lowered Expectations. For example, I have no expectation whatsoever that Allegri will use a formation that is familiar to me, let alone the players. Nor do I have any expectation that he will field our 11 best players for any match, as I don’t think he even knows who those players are. But Saturday, we face off against my favorite flying beasts, Chievo Verona’s own Flying Donkeys. So…. no, still no expectations. Other than perhaps starting a career in drinking to numb the pain. And Chievo’s plight will be to make sure I feel that pain. Those Flying Donkeys certainly know how to kick me when I’m down.

A Glimpse of History

On my recent maiden trip to Milano, I set out to do three things: Watch the derby at the San Siro, tour the San Siro, and check out the museum at the San Siro. Well, technically, I also wanted to eat as much gelato as humanly possible in a week, but that actually was not near the priority as the other three things. So you know I made it to the Derby, as painful as it was. And also that I toured the San Siro. So for today, I thought I’d share some of my pics from the museum.