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Showing posts from 2015

Watch it Burn

There is an overwhelming idea that throwing money at the fire that is AC Milan right now will turn our fortunes on the pitch to gold. That if Silvio just keeps spending and buying better players, somehow we will just magically transform into a winning squad and live happily ever after. You know, kind of like Abramovic at Chelsea. That’s going well. (There may be a correlation between Chelsea’s acquisition of Marco Amelia and their demise, but that’s for another post.) So if you believe that throwing cash at the transfer window is all this team needs, then I dare you to take whatever hard earned money you have, throw it into a fire, and see if it turns into gold. I’m waiting. Go ahead, throw all of your money in a fire and watch it burn…

Mercato Math

Anyone who reads this blog or listens to the podcast knows that I hate rumors almost as much as I hate the journalists who create them. And nothing brings out the worst in rumors and journalists as much as the mercato. There are so many reasons, but this transfer window could easily show why more than ever before. If you’ve been paying attention to Milan in recent years, perhaps you’ll know why, too. It’s not rocket science, it’s some very basic mercato math.

What’d Ya Get?

The day after receiving gifts, kids everywhere will ask each other excitedly “What’d ya get? Whether you celebrate Christmas, Boxing Day, Hanukkah, or any other holidays, there have been a lot of gifts exchanged throughout the world recently. But in all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, let’s not forget what Milan gave to us – on and off the pitch.

An AC Milan Christmas

It’s Christmas Eve, and around the world many Milan fans should be spending time with those they love and sharing laughter and good times together. But this year being a Milan fan was more like getting only coal, so it may be difficult to be happy. As a gift to you this Christmas, I would like to offer some suggestions for Milan fans to still be able to enjoy their Christmas this year.

Podcast: The Milan Awakens

There is a disturbance in the force. Can you feel it? No? Not surprising, as Milan are still struggling to discover who they are. But there are questions as to whether or not we will see an awakening in 2016. I’ve been using Star Wars as an analogy (but without any spoilers!) because it resonates with our struggles as fans, and of course because the new movie is freaking awesome. So for the last podcast of the year, there are two important messages to take: Merry Christmas and May the Force Be With You. Well, okay, there’s a little more to talk about… just listen already.

Frosinone 2, Milan 4: Hope Is Not Lost Today

The Resistance won a small battle today. And by small battle, I mean we manage to beat the 18th place team with only two goals conceded. But there were some other victories, too. Like taking 23 shots, with ten of those on target. According to @OptaPaolo, we haven’t made ten shots on target since November of 2013. Maybe not the ‘missing piece of the map to the last Jedi master’ victory, but a substantial accomplishment for a team that is still in such turmoil. And an accomplishment worthy of ‘destroying a weapon of the First Order’ would be the fact that Milan won a match from a trailing situation for the first time this season. That was almost epic. And so “hope is not lost today,” and neither was the game.

Frosinone vs. Milan: Send a Message to Supreme Leader Silvio

Defeating the Canaries would loosen Kylo Ren’s grip on the Resistance

Frosinone-Milan Preview: The Force Awakens

Let’s just be right up front here: there is no way that this match will even be in the same universe as the new Star Wars movie. Even Milan at its height would have trouble competing with that level of awesome. But in the epic galactic battles of good vs. evil, there is a correlation. Will Milan as a team band together like the Resistance and fight the evil First Order, aka Milan’s management? Will they secure this victory and silence Supreme Leader Snoke (aka Berlusconi) and his apprentice Kylo Ren (aka Galliani) and see that Miahajlovic will be allowed to fight the battles ahead?

Coppa Italia • Sampdoria 0, Milan 2: Whatever it Takes

The lineups said it all: Mihajlovic was willing to do whatever it takes to win this one. Whether it was for job security or for the fact that winning this one put us on the easy road to the Coppa Italia final or a little of both, he wasn’t going to risk sending his B team on and increase the probability of crashing out before the quarterfinals. And that risk paid off, as Milan took this one 2-0 in a performance that wasn’t as dominating as our most recent matchup with Sampdoria, but still got the job done. Whatever it takes.

Coppa Italia • Sampdoria-Milan Preview: No Room For Complacency

This match is quite ironic. Milan have already played a couple of rounds in this year’s Coppa Italia because of our poor finish in the league last season. While for Sampdoria, they have both home advantage and the distinction of joining the Coppa Italia now in the fifth round because of how well they finished last year. Which is largely because of their coach last season, one Sinisa Mihajlovic. So now, with a couple of mindnumbing performances in the league as well as barely scraping past Crotone in the fourth round, that same Mihajlovic brings a mentally weak Milan to Genoa to face his former club in a do or die competition on Thursday. The same former club that Milan arguably had one of their best performances against a few weeks ago in the league, winning 4-1 at the San Siro. But the tables are kind of turned now, with Sampdoria finally showing signs of life under new coach Montella and Milan showing quite the opposite with Mihajlovic. And with us having to go to the Marassi, ther…

Milan 1, Verona 1: Back on the Blame Game

When a team does not achieve their desired results for long enough, they have several options. One is to take responsibility, put their heads down, and keep on working and make necessary changes to impact results. Another could be to blame others for their mistakes in order to deflect the attention from their own shortcomings. Apparently, we are now taking the latter option. We’re back on the blame game.

Milan-Verona Preview: Wake Me When It’s Over

Honestly, Milan could be due for a decent performance on Sunday. Or not. But the game falls at 6am my time, so I’m not really enthusiastic about this one. Verona are bottom of the table, yes, but they are also due for a win, especially with their new coach. With the reports this week that Montolivo will be extending his contract, it’s honestly hard to be enthusiastic about anything Milan related right now. So forgive me if I’m short on optimism this time around, and please, wake me when it’s over.

Podcast: Regression

With so many token moves from the club at the beginning of this calendar year and so many claims of moving forward, fans have subjected themselves to poor performances galore hoping to see some progress. But as one by one, things have fallen through: the deal with Mr. Bee, the stadium, and Berlusconi’s random opening of the wallet, it has become obvious that progress is not in the plans. But with the announcement that Boateng is likely to sign in January and the reports that Montolivo is set to sign a three year extension, not only are we no longer going forward, we are actually regressing.

Not My Captain

I am so pissed off right now, I can barely type this. Normally I wait to write about these kinds of things until they are official, but this one is so obviously going to happen, it’s not even funny. I speak, of course, of the renewal of Montolivo’s contract. Sorry, that’s “Captain” Montolivo, or so I’m told. He represents the scourge of Milan these past three years, and the lowest common denominator of Berlusconi and Galliani’s decision making. You can call him whatever you want, heaven knows that when the kids aren’t around I’ve called him unspeakable things. But I refuse to call him one thing: Captain. He is not my captain.

Carpi 0, Milan 0: Killing Me Slowly

There is an old song called “Killing Me Softly,” I think it was originally recorded by Roberta Flack. In the song, the woman is slowly “killed” by song as the music and lyrics are all too familiar to her. That would be a treat compared to watching this Milan. Not only are we asking ourselves each match “Which team will show up?” we are also being lulled into a catatonic state or worse with the random acts of mediocrity and epic levels of fail that our team arbitrarily and sometimes consistently display. So if one day you don’t see a review post go up after a match, know that I probably finally died from watching games like this one. Especially with those kits. Milan are killing me slowly.

Carpi vs. Milan: Which Milan Will Show Up?

Do you dare spin the wheel?

Carpi-Milan Preview: Exes and Ohs

It’s true what they say that exes will haunt you. I mean Zaccardo haunted us even before he was an ex. But this particular set of exes will be interesting this time. Both Borriello and Captain Zaccardo are legendary in their own rights, for different reasons, but together, they’re terrifying. Like in the same way a balding, middle-aged man hitting on you when you are in college is terrifying … oh, hopefully that never happened to you, but trust me – it’s terrifying. But enough about my past dating traumas, this game could likely be about our exes and ohs.

Coppa Italia • Milan 3, Crotone 1: Sharkbait

The scoreline does not do this game justice. Milan never really dominated, they only escaped their own doom because of substitutions, and still needed added extra time to come out on top. Crotone, on the other hand, were truly like sharks… first they showed interest, and when they smelled blood, they struck… again and again, fearlessly. In a game that they were serious underdogs, they showed Milan’s every weakness and forced Mihajlovic to sub on three starters and Milan still needed thirty extra minutes to earn a score that does not give i Squali (the Sharks) enough credit. Or show Milan’s bench players for what they are: sharkbait.

Coppa Italia 4th Round: Milan vs. Crotone: Shark Attack

Tomorrow Milan face off against the team who currently sit in second place in Serie B, Crotone. Why should you care? Because it’s for the Coppa Italia, also known as the Precious. Also known as the only competition that Milan truly have a chance of winning a bonafide trophy in this season. And that reward also comes with a patch to wear all next year, so our kits don’t look quite so empty. (Also because Juventus have way too many patches this year, they can afford to lose some of them.) At this stage of the competition, it’s win or go home. So even if we are facing i Squali, or the Sharks, a team perfectly capable of surprising us, we need to take this match seriously and be fearless against the shark attack.

Milan 4, Sampdoria 1: Told You So

Mihajlovic has got to be feeling pretty good tonight. He beat his old team and that crazy ex-boss Massimo Ferrero. He also beat his ex-teammate, Montella, who is also the coach who seems to follow him everywhere – taking the jobs at Catania, Fiorentina, and Sampdoria right after Mihajlovic left. He should also be happy because Milan scored four goals for the first time in over a year. But most importantly, having finally been able to implement his preferred system of 4-4-2 with this group, he has to be thrilled at how convincing the system was. So not only has he got to be thrilled with the win, he’s got to feel a little giddy about showing the naysayers who said this wouldn’t work. Told you so.

Milan vs. Sampdoria: Air Strike

L’aeroplanino comes to the San Siro, now as pilot of Sampdoria. Time to shoot down a plane.

Milan-Sampdoria Preview: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

This match was supposed to be easy. But the easy ones are the trickiest anyway, right? Add to that the sacking of Zenga and the hiring of Montella, and all of a sudden, Milan have no room for error. If we don’t play a perfect game, Sampdoria could drown us. But if we do play a perfect game, the fans will go berserk with the unrealistic expectations and test the mentality of the team yet again. Especially after that overwhelming Trofeo San Nicola victory on Tuesday. So Saturday, we will have to choose between the Devil and the deep blue sea.

Trofeo San Nicola: A Cock and Bull Story

Milan are taking part in the inaugural Trofeo San Nicola tournament, along with a cock and a bull. The tournament is just like the Trofeo Tim tournament, where three teams play each other in three 45 minute matches. For Milan, and that team with all of the bull, it is a distraction from the fact that they are not playing in Europe. For Bari, it will be a chance to reminisce about Serie A and how it used to be when they played there. A meaningless midweek friendly. Kind of sad, really. A cock and bull story.

Juventus 1, Milan 0: Confuse and Astound

There is an old adage that says “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” Apparently, Milan took that to heart tonight when facing Juventus. They obviously took a page out of Allegri’s game plan, to “confuse and astound.” And to be quite honest, Milan upped their game for this one. However, it cost them three points and let Juve jump ahead of us on the table, too. But we as fans shouldn’t be that surprised or heartbroken about this one. We are used to failure and disappointment whenever we see Allegri’s Face. Just be grateful we get to face Inter and Bari on Tuesday now instead of playing in the Champions League. See what I mean? Confuse and Astound.

Allegri vs. Milan: Beware the Alebretta

Let’s see if we can take down this hideous freak of nature (and its zebretta part, too)

Allegri-Milan Preview: That Face

Okay, I know that there will be a football match. And I know that the team is actually called Juventus, not Allegri. But I have acute anxiety over something else entirely: That face. I barely even care what happens on the pitch, it will be a win, a draw, or a loss. There will be no ‘Gol di Muntari,’ because there’s goal line technology now, and obviously no Muntari. But I am terrified of having to see Allegri again, to hear him screaming “Dai Dai Dai!” like a possessed broken record player. Even if he is nominated for the coaching Ballon d'Or and is also The Most Interesting Coach in the World. So although I know I should be thinking about the game, I can’t help it. Every time I close my eyes, all I can see is that face.

The Allegri Effect™

Saturday we face off with an opponent that is all too familiar. No, I’m not talking about Juventus, I’m talking about Allegri. Massimiliano Allegri are two words which still strike fear in the hearts of many Milanisti, despite the fact that he won a Scudetto and a Super Coppa trophy during his three and a half years at Milan. The first year was the honeymoon period, but the two and a half years after that scarred many Milanisti for life. It’s a little phenomenon I like to call the Allegri Effect.™.

Podcast: Finding Our Footing

After an extended injury break, the podcast is finally back. Hopefully, Milan get the memo and step up and give us some more good things to talk about. Until that point, like a baby deer learning to stand and then walk, Milan will most likely still be finding our footing. That process allows for successes and failures, but does not demand the consistency that most of us fans are craving. But even with a run of three consecutive wins, consistency is still very much lacking in this season. Whether it be mentality or injuries or just missing pieces still, Milan are definitely still looking to find their footing.

Gianluigi Donnarumma: Boy Wonder

What were you doing at 16 years old? For most people, it certainly wasn’t starting in goal for a big club in Serie A. For most goalkeepers who end up in Serie A, even they were only dreaming of playing for a big club at that age. But Gigio Donnarumma has not only realized that dream, he is also making fans worldwide dream big, too. And it’s not just because of his 6’5”(1.96m) frame, either. It’s because he has “it”… that special combination of astonishing skills, calm demeanor, and maturity well beyond his years that makes a strong case for an amazing career ahead of him. Perhaps it is wrong to put such pressure on his big young shoulders, but out of all of the young keepers we’ve seen break into Serie A before age 20, he truly seems to be a legitimate boy wonder.

Poll: Season Surprises

It is way too early to say that Milan is on the mend, we’ve seen how quickly a season can deteriorate. And in many ways, nothing’s changed. But there are some signs of hope, some improvements that may not have us top of the table, but at least in a position on the table that Milan are more accustomed to. A month ago, we had a poll that asked what we should do from here to help Milan back to the top. Today, I thought I’d ask what you think is working well this season… which change or changes do you think Milan made this summer that are impacting the club most? For you, what are this season’s surprises?

Do You Still Beelieve?

Countless deadlines have come and gone, the Chinese Stock Market has crashed and is showing signs of rising again, yet Mr. Bee has still not come through with his part of the over-hyped deal to purchase 48% of AC Milan. Despite the fact that fans have spent the nearly half billion euros in their imaginations at least twelve times over, creating fantasy teams that would defy all FFP rules and theoretically be invincible, there is actually no money for such fantasies in reality. And as time goes by, it appears that there never will be, despite the agreement that was signed. Which begs the question, do you still Beelieve?

Milan 0, Atalanta 0: The Luck of the Draw

Going into this match, it was really too much to expect a win. We had three consecutive wins, but only one of those was a good performance. With missing starters and, well, being this Milan, it would have been easy to lose this one. But with the astonishing skills of a 16 year-old keeper and a lot of luck, too, we fought off a very hungry Atalanta when they had a much better game than us. So I chalk up the single point to the luck of the draw.

Milan-Atalanta Preview: Leftover Bologna

Riding the wave of three wins in a row, Milan face a new challenge in their house on Saturday in the form of La Dea, or The Goddess. Atalanta haven’t exactly been playing like a goddess, though, coming off of being blanked by Donadoni’s 18th place Bologna 3-0 last week. Their form is good enough to have them still in eighth place, but that is miraculously below sixth place Milan. And while they were disgraced by Bologna last week, they will undoubtedly be determined to not to be made a meal of again. So beware of Atalanta, also known as leftover Bologna.

The Price of Victory

Milan finally convinced on Sunday, with a 3-1 win over Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico. But that victory came at a great cost, as there were at least three injuries in that match and a yellow card accumulation suspension to be handed down. With the recovery period still unknown for the injured, we start to ask ourselves: Was this victory worth the toll on our starting eleven? What exactly will be the price of victory?

Lazio 1, Milan 3: The Eagles Have Landed

This was a seemingly impossible task: beating Lazio at home, which had not been done this season. Or achieving a third consecutive win, something we hadn’t done all of last season. Or winning despite using two subs for injuries by the 50th minute. Or winning despite those hideous third kits. For so many reasons, Milan were not the favorites. But that’s not what the players thought. Mihajlovic was spot on when he said that we’d need to endure some ugly wins before our game returned. And that those ugly wins would build the guys’ confidence. One could argue that we won because Lazio played poorly, and they would definitely have some merit. But Milan improved tonight, too. So whether you believe Lazio played poorly or Milan played well, or anywhere in between, one thing is for sure: the Eagles have landed.

Lazio-Milan Preview: Lowball

I wish I could say ‘When in Rome, do as Roma does,” because they are currently top of the table. But we are playing far from that level, and we will be playing their rivals, Lazio. Milan are coming off of a miraculous win (the miracle being that any Milan fan will want to watch this team again.) But Lazio lost to Atalanta, and find themselves now in sixth place, not looking like the team that started so strong this season. That I understand, both teams underperformed midweek. Whether they continue that streak or were just trying to lowball it going into Sunday’s game remains to be seen.

Milan 1, Chievo 0: Nauseating Win

Every fan supposedly has a breaking point, and likewise, every fan’s stomach has a breaking point. That point where your stomach just gets so nauseated by the football you are watching. For my stomach, I reached the nauseating point again today. Not only was it midweek, and I was cursed dealing with a terrible stream, but the overall play hurt my sensibilities and made me physically ill. I know this sounds crazy, because that was our second win in a row and we are now in eighth place in the table, but I would trade a loss with a decent performance for that win today. Because then at least I wouldn’t be so sick to my stomach.

Milan-Chievo Preview: Straight As The Donkey Flies

I never get tired of marveling over Chievo’s mascot or nickname, “i Mussi Volanti,” or “the Flying Donkeys.” For one, are flying donkeys actually a thing? And if so, are flying mules as stubborn as non-flying ones? And what happens when a flying donkey defecates – if the land-bound ones produce road apples, do the flying ones produce sky apples? I ask these questions because it seems perfect that our midweek nemesis is such a farcical creature, considering our farcical level of play. And with them having only one point less than us, we will need to go straight as the donkey flies if we are to ogre-out another win this round.

Milan 2, Sassuolo 1: We’re Not Superheroes

In the preview post, I described Sassuolo as our kryptonite. But I also begged the question: Are Milan players superheroes? If we were superheroes, Sassuolo would have power over us, like they have in the past. And although the ultimate Milan kryptonite, Berardi, did score on us, Sassuolo’s kryptonite still didn’t have enough power over us to defeat us this time. So, no surprise, I guess we’re not superheroes.

Milan-Sassuolo Preview: Kryptonite

One might think that kryptonite is a convenient title given the green of Sassuolo’s kits, but actually, it refers to the power they seem to have over Milan. Despite being owned by unabashed Milan fan Squinzi, or maybe because of that fact, Milan have been done in by the little team that could far too many times. Specifically by hat trick Berardi. And now that little team sit in fifth place, while we have slid all the way down to thirteenth on the table. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say they are definitely our kryptonite.

Trofeo Berlusconi • Milan 0, Inter 1: Reap What You Sow

This summer, Milan finally seemed to be engaged in a project to restores some common decency to the Milan crest. But somewhere they went wrong, and they failed to do some of the most important things to elicit actual change. So today, in a match that was created to honor Silvio Berlusconi’s father, Milan’s management learned that you reap what you sow.

Trofeo Berlusconi Preview: Milan vs. Inter

As illustrious and highly esteemed as Silvio himself, the Trofeo Berlusconi is always a riveting, highly watched match between the world’s greatest teams. Oh wait, my bad. The Trofeo Berlusconi is a meaningless friendly that was once a preseason match, but has now been bumped to October or November because of the more lucrative summer friendlies that are now available. In fact, Milan wisely chose to play it the same day as Champions League matches for the second year running. Which means neither team are playing in Europe, and you won’t even be able to find a stream. As if you’d want to.

Torino 1, Milan 1: The Ruining of the Bulls

Torino had a big day planned. It was Ventura’s 1,000th game coached, Quagliarella’s 100th game played for the Granata, and they also broke ground on the remodeling of their Stadio Filadelfia, too. Despite having lost their last match vs. Carpi, they likely looked at Milan’s woeful record and were hoping this game was winnable. But not today. This Milan had a secret wookiee… I mean weapon, and despite the lack of performance by most of the rest of the squad, he managed to ensure the ruining of the bulls.

Torino vs. Milan: Never Bring a Baby to a Bullfight

Let’s hope our matadors don’t get trampled

Torino-Milan Preview: Bullseye

In the not so distant past, Torino would have been a team we would have been wary of, but could travel there with some confidence. But not this time. This time, Torino sit in fifth place, while Milan’s slide down the table currently has us in 11th place. With injury woes and a recurring mentality issue that no one seems to be able to fix, this game is likely to be more than just taking a couple of arrows, it will more likely be a bullseye.

In Search of a Strike Partnership

When selecting a formation or system to fit a team, there are lots of things to consider. Like whatever formation your team’s owner tells you to play. When a Milan coach is told that he must use the 4-3-1-2, it is not always a bad thing. But one of the key elements of that formation is the two strikers up front, who must form a strike partnership. Over the summer, Milan bought two very good strikers, seemingly in hopes of finding that partnership. Then they also brought back Balotelli, giving us three players without longterm injuries to build a partnership of two strikers for our starting eleven. But despite having undeniable talent and skills, so far, we have not seen the goals or assists we want from them. Therefore, we are still in search of a strike partnership.

When Men Were Men

Yesterday, former Milan and Inter players gathered together to honor Claudio Lippi, the beloved journalist who died in a tragic accident two years ago, leaving behind a wife and a young daughter. These legends could have been doing anything else they wanted to, but they chose to be there and lend their support to honor an old friend and help his family. Because they are men. They didn’t have to get their hair cut or styled, they weren’t checking social media or taking selfies. They weren’t on the phone to their agents because they sat one game on the bench. They were there to lend a hand because they were not self-important. And when I saw the picture below, it reminded me of a time when men were men.

Poll: Where Do We Go From Here?

With all of the talk about Milan’s continued failures, there is not as much conversation about how Milan can return to success. So today I’d like to hear from you. What do you think Milan should do to get back on track? One or more extreme solutions? Or more subtle, conservative changes? Choose one or choose them all, this is your chance to weigh in on where we go from here. Feel free to add other choices and/or expound upon your choices in the comments section below.

Nothing’s Changed

“Stop me, oh, oh-oh, stop me
Stop me if you think
That you've heard this one before

Nothing's changed
I still love you, oh, I still love you
Only slightly, only slightly less
Than I used to, my love”
--The Smiths
Why it takes a 4-0 brutalization at home from Napoli for people to start talking about what’s wrong with the club, I don’t know. I’ve been doing it for years. And after years of being condemned by Berlusconi’s fellow Bunga Bunga mates (in their dreams) and Galliani’s yellow-tie minions, they are all finally wising up to what has been written here for years: there is a serious problem with management at Milan that is impacting the entire club, top to bottom. And nothing’s changed.

Milan 0, Napoli 4: Annihilated

If you’ve watched Milan’s downward spiral in terms of performances this season, and especially if you’ve seen Napoli’s results spiraling upwards, then tonight’s loss should not surprise you. You might even say Milan got our just desserts. The score, however, was like kicking a man when he’s down, with the own goal just another kick in the face. But as usual, the defeat is nothing in comparison to the rhetoric of Milan fans on the interwebs. It’s hard enough to lose a game like that, but when your fans toss around hyperbole and call for everyone’s heads on platters, it’s just embarrassing. It was a very poor game, a logical step based on our recent performances. And certainly with fans like this, the team must feel like they’ve been annihilated.