This match shouldn’t have been a surprise, Milan have been overachieving all season long, and so have Atalanta. A draw was actually the most likely scenario coming into the game, even if Montella seemed to think afterward that the result was not fair based on Milan’s efforts. But I watched the match, well what I could see of it through the fog, and I think Montella’s head might have gotten lost in that fog, too. Sure Milan had 58% possession, hope he’s celebrating that. But Atalanta actually had more chances.
|Oh, look. Bonaventura's old teammates are giving him a proper welcome|
It was nice to have Kucka back from suspension and Bacca and Bonaventura back from injury, although Bacca did not start, he was a late sub in the 82nd for Lapadula. It wasn’t as nice to see Bertolacci get the start ahead of Locatelli. I don’t know what it is with Bertolacci, but he is a fraction of the player he was at Genoa when he is wearing the Milan crest. And when he was tired and whining to the ref about every call, Montella just kept him out there. Perhaps his brain was affected by the fog.
The one thing that could be seen through the fog were the yellow cards. Massa distributed nine of them. Nine yellow cards. I guess he hadn't done any other Christmas shopping. Six cards were given to Atalanta players, while Bonaventura, Bertolacci, and Pasalic each received one as well. Bertolacci’s was for whining to the ref about a missed foul against him, which was sadly the most noteworthy thing he did all day. He wasn’t horrific, but he wasn’t great, and his attitude is not endearing him to me.
|Fear the Kuco|
Let’s see… what else can I say? Of the eleven Milan shots, three were on goal. An Antonelli shot hit the post, and both Bacca and Lapadula took shots that were cleared in heartstopping fashion. But it was a testament to Atalanta and perhaps to Gasperini that they were able to defend so well, yet also attacked and took 14 shots with four on target. Speaking of defending, Romagnoli and Paletta were both incredible in this match. Some absolutely brilliant clearances and interceptions.
Bonaventura had a couple of near misses but was unable to score against his former team. He was not 100% yet, but was certainly a sight for sore eyes. Well that is when he was visible through the fog. I’m not sure if the fog weighed us down, or if perhaps mentally we were weighed down by the loss last week or preoccupied with the match vs. Juve on Friday for the Supercoppa, but it was not our best match. It also wasn’t our worst. Scorelines can be deceiving.
|Welcome back, Bacca...|
I posed the question in my preview: What will happen when both fairy tale seasons meet? And the nil-nil draw was probably the most predictable answer. Add some fog soup, stir well, and this was the match today. Milan are playing well enough, but they need to play better to live up to their spot on the table. A spot that could tumble a place or two if Napoli and Lazio get three points. Third place has always been a precarious position for us this season, and it might actually be good to drop a bit so we are hungry enough again to improve enough to win in these chess match games. Because without that winning mentality, Milan will continue to be in a fog.
This post inspired by the music of “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer”
Our next match is
Juventus vs. Milan
Friday, December 23 • 11:30am EST