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Podcast: Birthday Blues

Milan are celebrating their 119th birthday having just crashed out of the Europa League and then being slapped with sanctions from UEFA. Not the birthday gifts we were hoping for, but at least not playing in the Europa League might help curb our injury crisis. It’s enough to give anyone the holiday blues.

Olympiacos 3, Milan 1: On Empty

I asked a simple question in my preview: Do you want it bad enough? And at the whistle, the answer was no, not quite. Amidst a hostile environment, our boys simply didn’t do enough to get through, even though all we had to do was lose by only one goal or better. The next round was in our hands, and we let Olympiacos take it from us. For that alone, they deserve to go through and Milan deserve to go home, despite having had to work so hard off the pitch to get here. But I don’t have a lot of criticism for the team, as we are still injury ravaged. And as for our grinta, we’ve seen it sputtering a lot lately. Maybe tonight in Athens, their tank was just on empty.

Europa League • Olympiacos FC vs AC Milan Preview: Do You Want It Bad Enough?

Milan have an excellent chance of making it through to the next round. Our opponent in this match isn’t Olympiacos as much as it is ourselves. A win or a draw against Olympiacos would guarantee us to go through, while even a 1-0 loss would still see us through. But Milan have become particularly good at shooting themselves in the foot when it matters most. So the question Gattuso should be asking is “Do you want it bad enough?”

Milan 0, Torino 0: Drawing a Blank

It was written in the cards. Although I had entertained a hope that we could pull off the win, I should have known that Milan’s innate ability to choke when there is opportunity on the table would never allow us the three points. But at least we kept a clean sheet, there is always that. And one point is a point more than Inter took this week, so that is also good. Still, a nil-nil draw is never fun. It sucks when your team is drawing a blank.

Milan-Torino Preview: Bigger Than You Think

Some matches don’t seem like much on the surface. Then you look at the table and look at the time in the season and other factors, and realize that this game could be very important in the big scheme of things. For example, Torino are showing signs of climbing up the table, and they are only four points behind us going into this match. Meanwhile, Milan would be only one point behind Inter with a win in this match. That’s one point behind third place, leaving Lazio a full three points behind us, too. That would be massive right now. Especially with our injuries and playing a team that does so well away. So maybe this game is bigger than you think.

Podcast: A Year with Gattuso

Gattuso just celebrated his first year as Milan’s head coach, so of course his track record has been under the microscope. But with recent results and performances improving, the microscope is looking pretty favorably at him. Much of the attention this week is turning towards Milan’s new CEO, Ivan Gazidis. Certainly, there is always plenty to talk about at Milan.

Milan 2, Parma 1: Lunchtime Delight

I can’t remember a lunchtime game that I actually enjoyed. At 3:30am my time, I am usually just bleary eyed and frustrated by a lackluster performance and often a poor result. But not on this day. From kickoff, it was exciting and action-packed, and at the final whistle, it was a lunchtime delight.

Milan-Parma Preview: Anything Goes

Parma nearly didn’t make it back to Serie A this year. Then they did, but were going to have a five points deduction. Then that was overruled, too. Which is why they now sit in sixth place on the table only two points behind Milan. I mean why actually punish a storied club like Parma for matchfixing when they could be a storyline in Serie A? Because in Italy, anything goes.

AC Milan 5, F91 Dudelange 2: Legendary

This match was legendary. Not so much for Milan, though a look at the score would seem to indicate as much. No, this match was almost as shameful for Milan as it was legendary for Dudelange. You see, Dudelange had only scored one goal prior to this match in the Europa League Group Stage. But today, they scored four. At the San Siro. Unfortunately, two were own goals, but still. The stuff that legends are made of.

Europa League • AC Milan-F91 Dudelange: For Honor

Dudelange are already mathematically eliminated from the Group Stage of the Europa League. But that won’t stop them from bravely coming to the San Siro and playing honorably for their club and for all of Luxembourg. Being the first Luxembourg team to play in the Europa League Group Stage is something they’ll always be able to claim, but taking points from a team like Milan at the San Siro would make them a legend. So despite knowing they will not progress, this match, they’re playing for honor.

Lazio 1, Milan 1: Slipping

There were a lot of concerns about the pitch ahead of this match due to constant rain and a rugby match the day before, and it was very slippery, but that was not the only thing that was slipping. Despite a very brave performance amidst an injury apocalypse, Milan let the three points slip right through their fingers in the final minutes.

Lazio-Milan Preview: Falling

After some poor results and some time spent in the lower half of the table this season, Milan propelled themselves all the way to fourth place. Or should I say Romagnoli did. But the injuries are taking their toll, and there are even more injuries since the Juventus match, where we slipped up again. With Lazio taking that fourth place spot from us, tomorrow’s match could see them push us further down the table.

Podcast: Injury Apocalypse

From Injury emergency to crisis to a full blown injury apocalypse, our season has drastically changed for the worse. Especially for so many of our players, who are personally feeling the pain of this apocalypse. We are already seeing the short term impact of these injuries, but they will also have long term ramifications as well.

Impact Injuries

Some injuries are caused by impact, but right now, Milan are greatly impacted by injuries. All of these injuries have both immediate impact as well as long-term impact for the club, and none of it is positive. And it’s not just the physical injuries to the players themselves, either, which are crushing enough on their own. The injuries actually impact the mentality of the whole team, the results, as well as the long-term financial and rebuilding plans that were in place.

Ivan Gazidis: The Right Man for Milan?

When Berlusconi finally let go of Milan from his tightly clenched, vote-seeking little fists, I wondered about who would steer Milan into the future. And after Yonghong Li’s 15 minutes of fame was over, I wondered yet again about Milan’s leadership. Who would dare venture into this spontaneous scooter-riding, drama-filled Serie A world full of racist, sexist, megalomaniacs who sleep with underage women? Who could possibly understand the Italian culture of matchfixing and gaining any advantage you can, while moaning about any perceived advantages of your opponents? Someone who could navigate the crazy while still rebuilding the club for success from the top down? Who would be the right man for Milan?

Collateral Damage

Whatever criticisms any of us have about Gennaro Gattuso, no one can argue with what he has done for Milan. It is almost one year since he was hired after that whiny Montella was fired… finally. Gattuso has lasted through a complete change of management, a UEFA ban that was then reversed, and two transfer markets, even if one was non-existent for Milan. He has brought back the grinta to Milan, and taught all of our players except Montolivo what it really means to wear the Milan shirt. Only now, we have an injury plague of epic proportions, and part or much of the blame is likely on him. As much as his players love him and he loves them, they have become collateral damage.

Milan 0, Juventus 2: Red Like the Fire

This match started with “Black like your fear” in a coreo that was as menacing as it was self-serving to the Curva Sud Ultras. The caption was where the hypocrisy lay, it read “I never left you.” I can remember quite a few times the Ultras left the team when they needed them most. And times when they protested against them, threatened them, turned their backs on them, etc. An A+ for the artwork, but a big fat F for authenticity. But that was just the beginning of the night, things went from bad to worse and ended with a new take on “Red like the fire.”

Milan-Juventus Preview: Doomsday

Milan fans would probably prefer to not be playing at all this week, especially with so many injuries. But as our luck would have it, we face the toughest team in the league on Sunday. Which also happens to be the team with the most accused rapists in Serie A. But always professional on the pitch, mind you. Vastly outmatched both physically and in poor character, Milan will probably have a starting line up of Primavera players and cousins and uncles and such, since nearly all of our starters are injured. And facing a team with as much quality as it lacks in class and basic human decency, it can only spell our doomsday.

Real Betis 1, AC Milan 1: The Fallen

We limped into this match, and somehow the draw seems okay. But we were stretchered off of this match. And as the injuries piled up, I saw something in Gattuso’s eyes that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before: fear. With the majority of our starters now on the medical lists, there is much to be afraid of. But after the final whistle, the most frightening thing was accounting for the fallen.

Europa League • Real Betis-AC Milan Preview: Walking Wounded

Many saw Real Betis as our biggest competition in our Europa League Group. But in our last meeting, Milan proved that we were our own biggest competition, with a performance that deserved the defeat, no disrespect to Real Betis. And that was in our house. So tomorrow, we have to go to their house and return the favor. Only I doubt they will be so helpful to play as poorly as we did. And also, our injuries make us more like the walking wounded.

Podcast: Fourth Place

Like a most improbable dream, Milan are in fourth place right now. Which is a huge shift from recent years and shows that while our football may not be pretty, in fact it may be really frustrating at times, it is more effective than it looks. And that Champions League objective might not be quite so far away as it has seemed all of these years without it.

Udinese 0, Milan 1: To the Death

This game was remarkably unremarkable for about 94 minutes. And then it got interesting. After so much back and forth and so many shots wide or saved, a serious of unfortunate events for Udinese led to one beautiful shot hitting the back of the net. With VAR checks almost doubling the six minutes of stoppage time, this game left it all to the death.

Udinese-Milan PREVIEW: Casualties

On paper, Milan should win this match. Milan are fourth, Udinese are in 16th. But then you start looking at Milan’s injuries, and it puts Udinese back in the game. That, tied with our away form this season and our fragile mentality, makes this game anyone’s for the taking. And despite Milan claiming a fourth place berth on Wednesday that is massive for our team’s mentality, Udinese probably want the win more. So whether it be for our physical or mental liabilities, we could give up points to the host team because of casualties.

Milan 2, Genoa 1: Grim Reaper

Genoa came to the devil’s lair, perhaps like naïve children hoping to trick-or-treat. And with a deflected own goal by Milan, it seemed for a bit as if they might take something home. But it was Halloween. And they were facing “red like the fire, black like your fear.” So instead, in stoppage time, they met the Grim Reaper, who came and took all three points from them.

Milan-Genoa Preview: Bewitched

This was supposed to be our first game of the season. But due to a tragedy, we are playing it on Halloween. Which is kind of creepy, really, a haunting memory of that horrific tragedy. But also strange due to the bewitched luck Milan has when tragedy occurs. We always seem to have an advantage before the tragedy, and then lose that advantage (and sometimes more) by the time our game is rescheduled. That is definitely the case with Genoa, between our beleaguered performances and their change of coaches and related improvement in form.

Milan 3, Sampdoria 2: Respite

After reaching a shocking new low in performances this week, rumors of Gattuso’s job being on the line didn’t even need spreading. Fans could feel the tension based on the performances alone. And we knew that a loss today would impact his tenure exponentially, while a win might buy him some more time. And so against all odds, with changing the tactics and dealing with injuries, the team pulled off the win, providing all of us with some much needed respite.

Milan-Sampdoria Preview: Besieged

After the terrible awful unspeakable performance in the Europa League on Thursday, Gattuso is feeling the pressure. And he should. His grinta has vanished and now he is throwing tactics out like candy in an effort to pull up out of this horrific nosedive the team is heading in, ready to crash and burn at any moment. And now we are hosting Sampdoria, I cannot imagine the Milan fans will be kind unless there is a 180° performance and a resounding win. And that is highly unlikely.

Milan 1, Real Betis 2: No Words

I normally have plenty to say, even about the worst matches. But today, there are simply no words.