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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.

Zaccardo, you remember Niang, don't you?

I honestly don’t know what to say about this game. Other than a brilliant save by Donnarumma in the 13th and Belec having literally the game of his life with six saves, there is very little to talk about. Cerci was a tragedy once again, missing a 1v1 opportunity in the 28th, misplacing passes and being dispossessed like someone giving out free One Direction tickets at the local high school. Niang was brilliant, but has been hanging out too much with his “big bro,” Kevin Prince Boateng, so most of his shots were high. Chewie may be riding the wave of Star Wars hype or something, I don’t know. We took 20 shots, with seven of them on target, but as Mihajlovic put it, we were “not clinical enough.” Yeah, and we had the grinta of a dying turtle, too.

Speaking of Mihajlovic, I do have a bone to pick with him. He made only one sub: Adriano on for Cerci in the 69th, which was about 70 minutes too late. At least he could have made the change at the half. And maybe let them change their kits, too. But where were the other subs? When you are deadlocked with the 19th place team and nothing is working, would it kill you to put on some fresh legs? Whatever you think of the quality of the players on our bench, fresh legs are always better than tired legs.

Like watching your life in slow motion right before you know you're going to die... or at least not score

He cannot have been saying that these starters with 70, 80, or 90 minutes in their legs were better than the bench. Because those bench players played awfully vs. Crotone midweek in the Coppa Italia and were still better than this display tonight. And there was De Jong. If ever there were a game that was made for De Jong to sub on, this was it. Just for his grinta alone, he would have lit some fuses and we would have seen some Milan goals. Because if he can’t inspire his team to glory, he’ll score the goals himself if he needs to. And yet there he sat, the perfect supersub to light a candle under this team. Sure, he was coming back from injury, so 20 minutes or so would have been ample time for him to get something going.

But think about the roller coaster ride Milan have had this week. Eight days ago, with the new 4-4-2 system, we crushed Sampdoria 4-1. Then he switched systems back to a 4-3-3 and fielded a complete bench team for the Coppa Italia, where it took extra time to defeat the Serie B team. But at least there were goals in that match. This game sucked the life out of everyone who had to watch it. And despite the system and ten of the eleven starters being the same as the Samp match (with De Sciglio in for the injured Antonelli,) and playing a team even lower on the table, we couldn’t bring ourselves to play anywhere near the level we did just eight days ago.

Mihajlovic is still in Modena, practicing his counting to three

I know I made the analogy of Milan returning to form being like a young deer learning to walk on the last podcast, but this match did not need to mean throwing away two points. In addition to the obvious missing subs, the guys lacked the heart and grinta they showed vs. Sampdoria. They made too many errors, and slipped back into that mentality of playing down to the level of their opponent. An opponent who were in Serie C1 just two years ago and have only won two games this season. We can do better than this, and we need to do better than this. We cannot afford to be throwing away two points for a poor performance. If we are outclassed or outplayed by a team that sits lower on the table, that is one thing. But we weren’t. This one we threw away of our own accord.

Through the very worst of these three years, I have said that results did not matter as much to me as performances. And Milan’s performance tonight was even worse than the result. Add to that the fact that according to @OptaPaolo, Milan have failed to score now seven times this season, a stat we share with Verona… our next opponents. We can only hope that there are some broken whiteboards this week as Mihajlovic tries to find that grinta again that has been largely missing since… wait for it… De Jong was benched. (I’ll give this one to you, Sinisa, if you play De Jong, the team will play with a lot more heart. Kind of a no-brainer, but I thought I’d help you out.) And doesn’t Cerci have some thigh-modeling to do next Sunday? Maybe we can all do our part and get the hashtag #AnyoneButCerci trending this week. All I know is that if I keep having to watch games like this, I may not survive. Milan is killing me slowly.

This post inspired by the music of Roberta Flack “Killing Me Softly”

Our next match is
Milan vs. Hellas Verona
Sunday, December 13 • 15:00 CET (9am EST)