Sunday, December 30, 2012

Referees: Who ARE These People?


You know them as referees – those guys in the worst uniforms with their whistles and assorted cards. When you agree with them, you praise them. When you disagree with them, they are your mortal enemies. In reality, they are actually human. They have families and day jobs, just like anyone else. But they are not like the rest of us. Unlike the rest of us, they take on the most despised job in calcio, and they take abuse from management, coaches, players, and fans. Are they actually human? Who are these people?

One of the best refs ever to grace Serie A, Collina only *looks* crazy

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Grinch Who Stole Milan

Throughout the season, there has been much discussion about Allegri, his lineups, substitutions, etc., and his accountability for the results of Budget Milan™. However during the summer, there was no love lost for management, either. Since we have a short break now and the looming January mercato on the horizon, I thought it would be a good time to focus back on the management again.

Champagne Bread and Water Football

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

In Defense of our Defense

For many Milan fans, first priority in the mercato in January is to reinforce our defense. Which is an obvious reaction to our poor record so far this season. But it might not be the most necessary place to reinforce. Is it possible, after all, that our defense has been hindered by factors beyond their control? Or that maybe our expectations are higher based on past performances? Personally, I am not sure that our defense is our weakest spot. And I think that if given the opportunity to show what they are truly capable of, we might have a much better back line than our stats show.

Yepes and De Sciglio react to being included in the starting lineup again

Monday, December 24, 2012

Counting Our Blessings

For many people around the world, today they are celebrating Christmas Eve, tomorrow Christmas Day. Whether or not you are celebrating, I like to take some time to count my blessings at this time of year. This includes my Milan blessings. This year has been filled with so much heartbreak and pain, but in thinking about it, I want to spend a little time remembering all of the good, even if I might have to look a little harder for it. So, inspired by Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol,” here are some blessings I have been grateful for this year (and some I hope to see more of in the very near future.)

Tackling Santa

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Roma 4, Milan 2: Mauled by Wolves

The score really doesn’t do Roma justice. Until Marquinhos was sent off and Allegri finally put a couple of the right people on in the attack, we were declawed cats in a forest of ravenous wolves. To our credit, we did pull two back late in the match. But once again, Allegri showed naiveté in starting Boateng as well as whatever goalkeeper drama has been going on behind the scenes with Abbiati that he would start Amelia. And once again, our guys showed that the 4-3-3 is not our best formation, and that they simply aren’t hungry enough (or is it talented enough?) to win when it would really make a difference. For all of these reasons and perhaps more, tonight we were mauled by wolves.

A dynamic duo, if only they could both be starters...

Roma vs. Milan: Game On!



Friday, December 21, 2012

Roma-Milan Preview: What Would the Mayans Do?

Since this will be my last post ever, I may take a few liberties. The saying goes “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” But on this occasion, I would like to take a page out of the Mayan playbook. Let’s start with human sacrifice. I nominate Antonini. Okay, now that we have that out of the way, I suppose I should talk about Roma. I mean, it’s pointless, the world is going to end in about 3 hours from when I post this, but just in case the Mayans weren’t omniscient or whatever, I should try to make part of this about football.

This definitely looks like the end of the world to me.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Champions League Draw: Pick Your Poison

Given Milan’s recent performances in the league, many are optimistic about our chances in the Champions League. But the reality is that Milan qualified with the worst stats, and primarily due to the misfortune and poor performances of other teams in a comparatively weak group. So here we are, the underdogs in a competition that we have historically dominated, winning 7 titles in 15 appearances. Which means that it doesn’t really matter what the outcome of the draw is, we will be lucky to progress to the quarterfinals.

The world is your bottle...

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Is Sportsmanship Dead?

The ridiculous level of acrimony that developed last season between two clubs who had traditionally been respectfully fierce rivals really made me wonder: Is sportsmanship dead? Particularly when the flames of acrimony were fanned even more by the coaches and management of the two clubs. Of course every club has fans that lack even a shred of human decency, but do some clubs have more than others? Why do fans suddenly feel so entitled to put every other club down when they have won? How can they honestly justify their behavior towards all other clubs when their club was the victim of a witchhunt by a single club and they were punished by a sporting “justice” system? Why are fans then free to act like tremendous douchebags to clubs not even in our league, after they know firsthand what it is like to be persecuted? Is sportsmanship truly dead?

If they can shake hands, we can be civil, too.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Milan 4, Pescara 1: Birthday Gifts

It’s Milan’s 113th birthday, and you’ve been invited to their party. If you are Pescara, what do you give them? Try not just one, but two own goals. Gift wrapped and delivered by Abbruscato and Jonathas. All I can say is thank you very much, Pescara. And a very happy birthday to Milan, all 113 years of excellence.



Milan vs. Pescara: Game On!

Happy 113th Birthday AC Milan!


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Milan-Pescara Preview: Fighting Dolphins

I really can’t think of anything more dangerous than a team with nothing to lose. And Pescara, having only been promoted this year, are tied for 17th place with Palermo, save for their -18 goal differential. Meaning they are pretty much in 18th place, also known as the relegation zone. So they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Add to that the fact that they are party crashers, as Milan are celebrating their 113th birthday tomorrow, and the motive for an upset increases. I just hope that those fighting Dolphins don’t get their wish.

Huh... those are some strange looking dolphins

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Coppa Italia – Milan 3, Reggina 0: One to Forget

Don’t let the pretty score deceive you, Milan played some absolutely horrible football tonight, we were just lucky that Reggina didn’t finish very well. We missed the beautiful crosses and great runs of De Sciglio, the goals and assists and defense of El Shaarawy, the stops and passing of De Jong and Ambrosini, and whatever the hell it is that Boateng contributes. And yet, we did manage to pull it off without them, and by a good margin, too. So it wasn’t all that bad. Let’s just chalk this one up to luck and call it one to forget.

Celebrating in the snow

Coppa Italia – Milan vs. Reggina: Game On!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Coppa Italia – Milan-Reggina: Seeing Amaranto

These boys from Reggio Calabria have got to be shaking in their boots. Playing in Serie B since 2009, they’ve got something to prove. But they picked the wrong club to try to prove it with. Because while our roster says "Serie B", we still play in Serie A (at least until the end of this season.) And just because they’ve got a couple of our players on loan doesn’t mean they can hurt us. Well, with our home record, maybe they can. But still… we’re not going down without a fight. We’re seeing Amaranto!

That is a lot of Amaranto.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Coppa Italia: Milan, Meet your Destiny

It’s that time of the year again: Coppa Italia. Well, actually, it’s just finally time for Milan to enter this year’s competition. Coppa Italia matches have been going on since early August. But since the format favors the biggest teams, we get to sit back and wait while all of the smaller teams eliminate one another. Which is good, because it increases our chances of fulfilling Allegri’s objective for the team this year: Winning the Coppa Italia. He knows it’s his only chance at a trophy, the most likely path for a Europa League spot, and the chance to leave his mark on Milan next year with the fabulous “Coccarda” patch. Milan, meet your destiny.
The fabulous coccarda patch, aka "The Precious"

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Torino 2, Milan 4: The Torino Double

First we pulled off the win with a little help from Rizzoli when Juventus came to town. And this afternoon, we went to Torino and slayed the Bulls to make it a Torino Double. Two big wins in two weeks, I have to say it feels pretty good. And has anyone noticed how much better Allegri’s lineups have been once Berlusconi started telling him who and where to lineup? Huh. Well, I guess that’s why it’s a team. And this team made me proud today.

Nocerino's mistake inspired a goalfest

Torino vs. Milan: Game On!


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Torino-Milan Preview: Running of the Bulls

You are likely familiar with the Running of the Bulls in Spain, where people run through the streets in front of a bunch of bulls, trying not to get trampled. But did you know that Milan will be doing the same thing on Sunday? Torino, just promoted again this year to Serie A, are the Bulls, or i Tori, and Milan will be the foolish young braves, trying to outrun them. Don’t pay any heed to their 14th spot on the table in comparison to our recently acquired 7th place spot. If there’s anything we Milan fans have learned this season, it is that we are our own worst enemy. Which means it doesn’t really matter if we’re being chased by Zebras or Bulls, if we trip ourselves up, we’ll still get trampled.

Trampled? I don't want to get gored by those Bulls.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Milan 0, Zenit 1: Finding Our Form Again

You know the old saying, “If you keep doing the same things you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting the same things you’ve always gotten”? Well, tonight, Allegri went back to his pre-Berlusconi ways of fielding all the wrong players in the wrong formation. And expecting a win. When the going got tough, he waited until the 65th, 82nd, and 90th minutes to make substitutions, and threw on three strikers, no less, in an apparent attempt to change the game. Sound familiar? Because it’s how he rolled all season long, until Berlusconi took over. Although this time, Berlusconi did visit Milanello today,but apparently, just like his money, his magic is all gone. Yes, tonight, we found our Budget Milan™ form all over again.

What just happened here?

Champions League – Milan vs. Zenit: Game On!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Champions League - AC Milan vs, Zenit: Picking Our Battles

With AC Milan qualified for the Round of 16, this game means absolutely nothing to us. For Zenit, it is the chance to grab the Europa League spot and salvage their European season, so it means everything to them. So does Milan field a B team, rest some players and play for 90 minutes? Or do we field our A team with some bench players and hold out for the draw? Or do we field our A team, knowing we don’t play again until Sunday, and put the thumbscrews on Zenit and try for a win that really only means another confidence boost for our boys? It’s hard to know what Berlusconi will tell Allegri to do, but it’s really time to pick our battles.

Hulk and Witsel have a bad feeling about this one...