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Showing posts from August, 2015

Podcast: Ghosts of the Past

After a very encouraging summer, Milan are haunted again by ghosts of the past. Curva Sud protesting, a terrible third kit, more mediocre Genoa players and free transfers, and reverting to poor performances are just a few things haunting the club now. With the mercato closing and an International break underway, it gives us a little time to reflect on where Milan is and place more realistic expectations on the season.

Milan 2, Empoli 1: Ugly Win

If anyone still thinks that we played as poorly vs. Fiorentina last week as we did last year, I’d like to submit Exhibit A: tonight’s game. Aside from two beautiful goals, the team played really horribly. And those goals not only gave us the victory, but were the only thing setting this team apart from last year’s team. Much worse than we played away last week, results aside, and so very disappointing. There isn’t much to say but that it was an ugly win.

Milan vs. Empoli: There’s No Place Like Home

If it is courage, brains, or a heart you seek, they won’t help you in this mercato.


Milan vs. Empoli Saturday, August 29 • 20:45 CEST (2:45pm EDT) This match will be shown live on RAI and BeIN Sports in the U.S.

Milan-Empoli Preview: Bringing Football Home

After an offseason where hope started to build into a positive fervor, Sunday’s match hurt a lot more for many of us than any normal match. But now we got that pain out of the way, we can focus on more realistic and grounded expectations for Saturday. Empoli have the daunting task of coming to the San Siro, where fans will be especially anxious for victory. And if there’s anything to be said for Mihajlovic, it’s that he knows how to learn from mistakes. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to expect that we'll see a much improved performance, especially since our opponent may not be as strong or organized as Fiorentina were. So on Saturday, I believe we’ll see Milan bringing football home.

When Fans Were Fans

Before the advent of social media, the internet, television, and even radio, fans of calcio could only witness their heroes play in one way: go to the stadium. True that they could also read about the matches in the newspaper, but that was also a time when being a journalist was a respected and they actually adhered to a code that required them to report the actual news. My how times have changed. Fans today can watch matches anywhere on their phones, or go on any social media platform and say anything they want about their team or players without fear of repercussion, offering their “expert” analysis, even if they’ve never watched a game. And don’t get me started on those journalists today. Suffice it to say that very few are considered moral, upstanding, or respected. And because of these things and more, it is sweetly nostalgic and very inspiring to consider a time when fans were fans.

Fiorentina 2, Milan 0: Taking Our Lumps

The American colloquialism “take your lumps” is rooted in contact sports, meaning to take the physical punishment you may receive within the game. But it also has a connotation of not complaining about the “lumps” you receive, to accept your fate in a sportsmanlike manner. I feel like this best applies to the match today, as we were dealt a heavy blow with a 2-0 loss and the early sending off, too. But all of these things are part of the game, and it’s not always the result that matters the most, it’s how you get up and face the next opponent. What you learn from the experience. Those are the things that will get the longterm results we need this season. So as a team and as fans, we should perhaps focus on taking our lumps.

Fiorentina vs. Milan: Let the Wookiee Win

Milan has a new strategy this season, and it includes Carlos “Chewie” Bacca (photoshop inspired by @VincenzoP11)


Fiorentina vs. Milan Sunday, August 23 • 20:45 CEST (2:45pm EDT) This match will be shown LIVE on RAI in the U.S.

FORZA MILAN!!

Fiorentina-Milan Preview: Viola Concerto

The opening match for Milan fans this season my be one of the most anticipated in a few years given the amazing transformation in the squad over the summer. But it is also highly anticipated because after a summer that Fiorentina seemed a little off key and unsure of themselves in the mercato, they really pulled it together and put in some impressive performances in their summer friendlies to defeat Benfica on penalties, then beat both Barca and Chelsea in regulation during the ICC tournament. Add to that the fact that we will be going to their house, and this first match looks positively treacherous. Can Milan spoil the Viola concerto?

Transformation

There are many factors that have contributed to the amazing transformation between the Milan squad of May and the Milan squad of August. Obviously, the addition by subtraction of a number of poor quality of players is one factor. And the actual addition of some quality players is another big one, as well as the massive gesture from management to actually invest in a transfer market again. But the singular most powerful cause of the transformation is Mister Mihajlovic.

Coppa Italia • Milan 2, Perugia 0: Better than Chocolate

I am so happy, I’m finding it hard to put into words just how amazing this match was for me. In my home, my family know that my priorities are family, football, and then chocolate (with family just barely nudging out football.) There was a time that my children thought I loved chocolate more than anything in the world, but they’re old enough now to know that I would take good football over the most luscious, divine, and perfect chocolate. And today’s match was better than chocolate in every sense.

Podcast: Party at Ground Zero

For three years now, we as fans were promised that it was Year Zero, that Milan was rebuilding, and that success was in the near future. Only it was never true, and “Year Zero” became like a curse word. But this year, it finally feels like it really is Year Zero, the one we were originally promised. And instead of making us curse, it feels like a party.

Coppa Italia • Milan vs. Perugia: Chocolate Dreams

On Monday, Mihajlovic and this new Milan team play their first competitive match. It is the third round of the Coppa Italia, an early entrance to this competition due to our poor form last season. We will face Perugia, the Serie B team that defeated Reggiana 3-1 last week to earn their trip to the San Siro. However important it will be to win and move to the next round, I must confess that I am seriously distracted by this one. You see Perugia is where the famous Perugina chocolate factory is. And they make the most delicious chocolates, including Baci, perhaps my favorite chocolate in the world. So while most of the Milan community will be thinking about lineups and possible outcomes, I will probably not be my usual Milan obsessed self, I’ll be immersed in my chocolate dreams.

Trofeo TIM Tournament: A Preseason Derby Winning 45 Minutes of Mediocrity Trophy

Winning the Trofeo TIM has never been something to write home about. Especially if you believe the curse, that the winners don’t go on to win the Scudetto that season. But beating Inter is always something to brag about. Like a superhero defeating a villain, every meeting is a Derby, every meeting means more than just a game. Watching Inter lose to Sassuolo and thus come dead last in a tournament that no one cares about was also enjoyable. And to a certain extent, there was some pleasure in our worst players finishing the deal, even if it had to be on penalties, and raising a trophy amongst the also mediocre pyrotechnics while Inter fans sobbed and tried to pretend that they didn’t care. So despite the bizarre 45 minute match format and the mediocrity associated with the preseason friendly, or even the virtually inconspicuous debut of Goal Line Technology, this one left me smiling.

Trofeo TIM: There Goes the Neighborhood

It’s not enough that we have to share a city and a stadium with those filthy, wire-tapping weasels. Wait, that’s an insult to the weasels. Sorry weasels. But now after two years of thinking they are too good for a little preseason tournament, Inter are back. And for the first time since the tournament began, Juventus are not competing. I don’t know if it’s because Allegri still can’t get over Inzaghi beating him or if they realized that it’s a trophy they’ve only ever won once and they decided to give up trying, but they’re not in it this time. (It most likely has to do with the scheduling of the Supercoppa in China over the weekend, but that’s what they want you to believe, right?) So it’s Sassuolo, Milan, and the scum-sucking biscione delinquents this time around. There goes the neighborhood.

Serie A Signing of the Season: Goal Line Technology

For all of the millions that both Milan teams have spent on summer signings this year, the star of the Trofeo TIM Tournament on Wednesday could eclipse them all: Goal Line Technology (GLT.) It will make its debut on Wednesday, and will then be called up for every single game of every single week of Serie A all season long. Like the best bench player, it will sit there, just waiting to be called into action. But when it is needed, it will be ready on a split second’s notice, and could very well star in every match, if necessary. Fans who have long called for its usage have probably already declared it the signing of the season.

Conspiracy Theory

While Juventus play Lazio for the Supercoppa in China mere hours from now, I thought it was important to address a very, very serious subject. Juventus are a club who have long been accused of cheating. How else could you possibly explain one club having won 33 Scudetti? Other than consistently responsible business practices, excellent scouting, buying the best players, hiring excellent coaches, and actually making their own stadium happen? It must be a conspiracy, right? And yet they have been cleared of all accusations of foul play, except in Calciopoli, where all of that innocence caught up to them. That seemed to increase the conspiracy theories, even if evidence showed they never should have been relegated. But this year, they have decided to shamelessly display their obvious deal with the league to win an unprecedented fifth Scudetto in a row. How do I know? The question is how can you not know?

Hostile Friendlies

After Sir Pep Guardiola got in a yelling match with De Jong at halftime on Tuesday about the voracity of De Jong’s tackle on Kimmich, Mihajlovic declared “Football isn’t dancing and fouls are part of the sport. This is also why games like this cannot be called friendlies.” After the performances in China at the ICC Tournament, I think many fans were feeling very friendly toward Milan, but the results and performances at the Audi Cup left many feeling quite hostile instead. But all of the matches were friendlies, and Mihajlovic coached them as such. While it would have been nicer to see some consistently good performances, it is still very early to expect that. And Mihajlovic’ lineups were intentionally inconsistent, too. So instead, considering our opponents, our squad, and some probable objectives, we are left to glean from these matches the hostile and the friendly.

Audi Cup • AC Milan vs. Tottenham: Battle for Dignity

So after looking like an amateur side vs. Bayern and losing 3-0, the only hope we have now is to take third place, something we have achieved only once out of the previous three times we’ve competed in the Audi Cup. We can play better than that, and we have. But four years ago, we also faced Tottenham, but in the Champions League. According to the English media, we disgraced ourselves then, so we have a bit of redeeming of ourselves if we are to be respected. And after Tottenham played yesterday, they kind of do, too. So consider this one a battle for dignity.

Audi Cup • Bayern Munich vs. AC Milan: Like Lahms to the Slaughter

So it’s time for the Audi Cup again. Milan have played in all three editions of this tournament, finishing fourth place twice, and third place last time, in 2013. The Audi Cup is held every two years, always hosted by Bayern, and they have won it twice and finished second once. The only other team to ever win it was Barcelona, and they were not invited back, so you can see that there is a lot of motivation to win it (so we’re never invited back again.) Unfortunately, being sponsored by Audi, we will have to suffer through many more tournaments, I’m sure. But with Bayern’s form poor right now and Milan’s form improving, who will win today? Will Milan surprise even ourselves and lead Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich team like Lahms to the slaughter?

Podcast: Mission Possible

For the past couple of seasons, success has seemed less plausible than someone holding onto the outside of a plane taking off. But that didn’t stop management from claiming that we were contending for the Scudetto or a Champions League spot. However, this summer, they acquired a smart coach, kicked out some players who were at least two years past their expiration date, and brought in players with quality who have a nice combination of youth and experience. And looking at how things are coming together so far, despite being premature, for the first time in a few years, reaching a top three spot finally seems like Mission Possible.