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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.

So much more than just luck

Milan really were lucky to take the point from Atalanta. We were missing Bonaventura, Bertolacci, and Alex. More than that, after finally playing almost as well as they think they did last week, both Montolivo and Cerci went mostly missing again tonight. So kind of missing five starters. Montolivo bragged ahead of the match about having the highest number of recovered balls in Serie A, but does that stat really count when you also lose so many? I mean, aren’t there players who actually hold onto the ball who are actually better?


Other ridiculous stats include Milan’s 40% possession, which was generous, if you consider how little we took advantage of it. The most benevolent stats I saw said that Milan took eight shots, with three on goal. Strange how it’s almost a running commentary that Milan’s midfield prevents us from taking more chances, and gives up too many chances to the opposition to test our defense. And test the defense, Atalanta did, with 15 shots and four on goal.

The Beast is Back

Miraculously, Milan kept a clean sheet. Only our second of the season. Which is really probably the best thing about this match. And in this match specifically, it wasn’t a still developing Romagnoli nor a Puskas Award nominated Mexes who kept that clean sheet. It was teen phenom Donnarumma. He literally singlehandedly at times kept us in the match with foresight and reflexes that were otherworldly. Also, a note for the rest of the team: if the 16 year-old keeper is yelling at you, you might not be doing it right. (If I had a nickel for everytime Montolivo just stood there and watched the ball go past him, I could afford to buy Milan a decent midfielder who wouldn’t just stand there.)

Niang was great for his first game back after a long injury, and for a center forward pushed out to the wing again. So glad he didn’t seem to be injured after being brutalized for 73 minutes. I’m tired of saying over and over that Cerci is a disaster, I never got on board with his singular “decent” performance last week, and I wouldn’t be able to say anything positive about him tonight if you tortured me to death. De Sciglio is so under Conte’s spell now that he’s begun to play poorly for Milan even before he gets a national team call up. He started in with the yellow in the 24th and was lucky not to be sent off. Mihajlovic very wisely subbed him at the half. Mexes failed to get a red or score a wondergoal, but did pick up a senseless yellow in the 59th for what other than yelling at the ref three inches from his face.

Sakic was head coach for about 6 minutes

Other yellows were given to Calabria and Bacca, but for all of the physical play, surprisingly Mihajlovic was the only one sent off. He was sent off for kicking a bottle, and really, any Milan fan who watched the match knows why he did: he was frustrated by our team. But in true Mihajlovic awesomeness, he said that if he’d wanted to hit the fourth official with the bottle, he would have made sure it was on target. He’ll likely be fined, as refs don’t take kindly to objects sent their way, so it will be an expensive 10 days or so for him, having taken the team and many of the staff out for a nice dinner after beating Lazio last week.

I would say that this has been a three steps forward, one step back situation, but again, we only had one real game where we played well. Although we didn’t regress entirely tonight, as we did manage to keep the clean sheet while missing some key starters. I liked that Mihajlovic switched Kuco out for Adriano to switch to the 4-2-4 and play for the win, even if it was more of a 4-0-3 with the midfield and right winger we were playing. And even if we didn’t get the win, we also didn’t concede or lose, either, so it was still a step in the right direction. Donnarumma was a bright spot in a match that could have gone so very badly, and fans definitely have something to look forward to in him. So it wasn’t great, it wasn’t our worst. It was just the luck of the draw.


This post inspired by the music of Garbage’s “A Stroke of Luck”