Skip to main content

First Impressions

Summer friendlies give us a first look at our changing squad, our first impressions. Luckily for our team, our squad will get a second chance to make a first impression… and a third, and a fourth, and so on throughout the summer friendly schedule. But having played three incredibly meaningless friendlies so far, winning two and losing one, I thought I’d share some random thoughts about some of the players we’ve seen so far. So I give to you my first impressions:

Sitting on an empty bench... symbolic of this Milan team? Or symbolic of his amazing leadership?

The Mister: Mihajlovic: I'm quite impressed so far. After his press conference, where he showed himself to be very intelligent, his coaching seems to follow suit. He has made excellent decisions with the lineups to give opportunities for individuals and pairings, and likewise excellent substitutions with excellent timing. Plus, he basically called the team pussies by saying they were not used to this intense of training. Bonus points for that. Working the team hard, providing much needed discipline, and then buying them all dinner, he really is a class act. I really trust him to come up with a starting eleven that could be dangerous. Except for his fascination with Cerci. No excuse for that.

Best player so far: Niang. He is a warrior. Never gives up, playing these friendlies like they are tournament finals. Had some nice linkups with a few players the first two matches, struggled a little more to get any service vs. Lyon. But of course, Luiz Adriano and Bacca have only just arrived in Milano, so paired with either of them, he might become unstoppable. Or he may be loaned back to Genoa, depending on which rumors you believe. That would certainly be the most stupid thing Milan have done in this mercato, yes, even ahead of re-signing Mexes. Keep him.

Worth a fortune

Young and exciting: While it is normal to give youth some time in these friendlies, I’m kind of hopeful that Mihajlovic is looking to give some of these younglings some actual playing time come the start of the season. And several are giving him good reason, too:

Suso: I’d heard Mihajlovic likes him, and in the first two games, I really saw why. Not quite as dominant against a professional team in Lyon, but really seems to want a starting spot and is willing to work for it.

Mauri: Strong, tough, and quick, apparently no one has told him that Milan’s midfield was formerly made of molasses and couldn’t hold the ball if they tried. Love his determination and work ethic thus far, hope to see plenty of him.

Ely: I’d heard he was good, but he has really impressed me, especially in the Lyon match. With our dismal selection of center backs right now, he could very easily become a starter. And how refreshing that would be, too.

Loads of talent

Calabria: The only youth player to be promoted to the first team this year, and with good reason. Abate’s injury was his opportunity, and he seized it vs. Lyon, being named man of the match. Works hard, has plenty of speed, and seems to really read the game well. Not afraid of the opposition, he took a beating and kept on running. Very exciting, indeed.

Mastour: was not called up for Lyon, but played quite well against Legnano, and scored a goal, too. After being told by Berlusconi that he was too young for the first team, he seems hell bent on either proving otherwise or impressing enough to get out of Milan. Hoping it's the former.

Poli: Not sure if he still counts as young, but has scored a goal in each friendly thus far and was close to scoring a second vs. Lyon. I thought the new players would send him to the bench, but under Mihajlovic’ watchful eye, he could just be an important starter.

His hard work has paid off with a goal in every game

Old and washed up: For as many players have impressed, there have been at least as many who have been underwhelming. Or downright bad. If they are not listed above or below, they have played well enough, but not particularly well enough to mention.

Alex: While he reads the game quite well, he cannot respond in any kind of real time to help out  or make use of his game reading skills. Did get a goal vs. Legnano, but painfully slow to watch and needs to be benched or loaned or sold.

Zaccardo: He should spend less time basking in the glow of his World Cup medal and more time on Twitter. I had forgotten how horrifyingly terrible he can be until the Lyon match. And last year, he actually played well in a few games. But no, he is washed up. #GetOut

Mexes: as usual, went between being Lopez’ BFF with some acceptable clearances to trying to murder Lyon players to assisting Zaccardo on the second Lyon goal. Maybe he has changed his attitude, but nothing else has. This one’s on you, Silvio.

One goal against Legnano does not make up for a constant lack of pace

Bertolacci: How much did we pay for this guy? I’m trying to be patient, hoping we see something great from him, but so far I have not been impressed at all.

Montolivo: same weasel who sullies the captain’s armband and contributes next to nothing on the pitch, it was particularly thrilling to see him benched for 70 minutes against Lyon, his debut after returning from NT duty, let’s hope he cries and calls his agent and gets the hell out of here before August kickoff.

Cerci: I don’t know what kind of spell he put on Mihajlovic, but I hope it wears off before the transfer market closes. Just pitiful in front of the net, I think he’s missed sitters in all three games so far. But hey, at least Poli capitalized on his incompetence today.

Matri: What would €11m buy that is better than Matri? €11m worth of toilet paper would be way more useful than him. You could stock the bathrooms of a third world country for the duration of Matri’s contract and still see less crap for your money. Seriously, get out. Do the right thing and know where you don’t belong.

I don't even think his wife can defend his blunders, he's just been terrible

Okay, I’m sure I was quite harsh given that we’ve only seen three matches, and useless friendlies at that. But to be fair, most of the disappointments have been disappointing us for much longer than three short games. And perhaps those who I heaped praise on will prove to disappoint in the end, we’ll see. Players are still returning, some have just returned, and it’s an all new coach, all new system, and so many new teammates to adjust to, as well. Only time and 38 competitive matches will tell, but after all, these are just first impressions.

This post inspired by the music of AC/DC’s “Back in Black”

Our next match is
The ICC Tournament
AC Milan vs. Inter
Saturday, July 25 • 20:00 CST (8:00am EDT)
Shenzhen Universiade Sports Center, Shenzhen