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The Wisdom of Giampaolo

There was no way that anyone could ever live up to the expectations that everyone placed upon Giampaolo this summer upon being appointed for Milan. You name the famous person, they had wonderful things to say about him. He’s got great ideas, they said. His teams play great football, they said. But I don’t think anyone could have ever expected him to leave all of his new players on the bench or to say such mindboggling things that are so out of touch with reality. I guess it’s just the wisdom of Giampaolo.

Verona 0, Milan 1: A Violent Affair

The Stadio Bentegodi is always a passionate venue, and tempers flared during Milan’s visit there tonight. There were seven yellow cards and two red cards, one for each team. After 98 minutes, Milan emerged victorious. But we were not without battle scars. And Verona likely felt like they deserved something out of this match, too having played on ten men for most of the match. My preview for this match juxtaposed this fixture with the tragic love affair of Romeo and Juliet, which was also set in Verona, but this was just a violent affair.

Hellas Verona-Milan Preview: Wherefore Art Thou?

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was set in Verona, and we all know how that ended. Milan really struggle at the Bentegodi. In fact, we lost two of our last three matches there, which is no love story, I’m not gonna lie. Milan have a decent squad, and Verona didn’t do as much as perhaps they should have as a newly promoted team. But they come into this match ahead of us after two games. The biggest questions center around Giampaolo. The hearts of Milan fans everywhere are asking, “O Giampaolo, Giampaolo, wherefore art thou Giampaolo?”

More Reasons to Hate Inter

As if anyone needed more reasons to hate Inter… they are a plague to society, and their fans have the IQ of a rock. Wait, I’m sorry, rocks, I didn’t mean to insult you. If it’s not wiretapping, matchfixing, and taking down a whole league, then it’s racism. So it shouldn’t really surprise that they are quickly developing a reputation for sexism, too. Just one more reason to hate Inter.

The Shrinking Wage Bill

Amidst all of the angst and concern that we as Milan fans suffer like the worst kind of PTSD, today’s La Gazzetta dello Sport shed some light on something really amazing that is happening at Milan: our wage bill is shrinking. Quickly. Meanwhile, it seems like our squad has improved a lot in quality, even if it is still very young in comparison. Even if we don’t find the immediate success on the pitch that we seek, this news is some of the best news we’ve had in a long time and points to a lot of hope for our future.

The Trouble with International Breaks

Players will often talk about how no matter how much they love the club they play for, there is no higher honor than playing for their country. Which is great for fans when they support the same club and national team that player plays for. But players can get injured on national team duty, or come back late or tired and not be available for their next club match. And that is the trouble with International Breaks.

Podcast: Why I Hate Inter: Calciopoli Edition

Some people don’t have any idea why I hate Inter so much. It goes well beyond sport, it’s not just a cross-town rivalry for me. Most people don’t seem to know or remember the events of 2006 and the scandal known as Calciopoli. Fewer people know Inter’s role in this scandal, let alone how they benefited from it. So with the Derby on the horizon, this podcast is all about why I hate Inter.

Racism, Hypocrisy and Serie A

After Romelu Lukaku was horrifically racially abused on Sunday by Cagliari fans, I wanted to use the only tool I know of that could possibly impact the situation - or at least other people – writing. But then I realized that I already have written about this problem. So many times. And nothing changes. It keeps happening. It’s like an infinite loop of racism and hypocrisy in Serie A.

Milan 1, Brescia 0: Reverse Psychology

Milan managed to take all three points from a subdued Brescia today to reward the 56,000 fans who showed up to the San Siro. But to hear Giampaolo tell it, it was a complete disaster. Nay, Paqueta is too Brazilian. And he’ll start whomever he wants up front. The guy sounds more like the grumpy old man telling you to get off of his lawn. Maybe he was just cranky from wearing the suit. And he is crazy stubborn about doing things his way, at the cost of actually lining up the best team and winning in the best possible way. So I’ve developed a plan: have the media tell him the opposite of what is working. Then he’ll stubbornly do the right thing, just to spite them. It’s reverse psychology.

Milan-Brescia Preview: Donnarumma vs Donnarumma

Saturday is the big day that many have seen coming since Brescia won promotion at the end of last season: it’s Donnarumma vs. Donnarumma. Alfredo Donnarumma was the capocannoniere last season in Serie B, and Gigio Donnarumma is Milan’s starting goalkeeper. It’s David vs. Goliath, the shooter vs. the shotblocker. And the strangest thing is that Milan might not be favorites to win.

Podcast: False Start

After all of the excitement of summer and the optimism surrounding an apparently solid mercato, Milan fell flat on their face in their opening match of the season. There are plenty of questions about the mercato, the coach, the system, the players, and more. So we had plenty to discuss, even if the news wasn’t good.

Udinese 1, Milan 0: No Ideas

Marco Giampaolo was a coach with ideas, they said. He would play his typical 4-3-1-2. During the summer, we saw such improvement in play, even if the results didn’t quite come. Then came the friendly with Cesena last week, and we were unable to put the game away against a Serie C side. That was worrying, but surely it was just a fluke. However against Udinese, we saw that it wasn’t a fluke at all. In fact, it seemed that Giampaolo had no ideas.

Udinese-Milan Preview: First Impressions

We’ve seen the friendlies, we have some idea how our new coach wants the team to play. But this one is different. This one is the first step in our season’s journey, which ideally will ultimately end in Champions League qualification. This one matters. New players and playing style aside, Milan need to win this one. Away. No matter what. It’s all about first impressions.

Rafael Leao: Moving Forward

In keeping with their promise to invest in promising, talented young players who would stay at Milan for a long time, the club have invested in 20-year-old striker Rafael Leao. Despite their quest for other forwards this transfer market, they stepped up in the market and believed in the young Portuguese player and invested €28m plus selling Tiago Djalo to Lille in order to make this deal happen. Whatever else you could criticize about this management, it definitely seems like they are moving forward.

Cesena FC 0, AC Milan 0: Mistaken Identity

I don’t know if Milan saw the black and white kits, heard ”Bianconeri” and assumed they were playing Juventus, so just gave up. Or maybe the guys thought Milan were supposed to be the ones who played in Serie D last season, but there was certainly some sort of mistaken identity. The team we know as Milan played more like you would expect Cesena, and Cesena made fools of Milan.

Cesena FC vs. AC Milan Preview: Friendly App

So tonight we are playing a newly promoted Serie C side that used to be a different club, but went bankrupt, then came back with a slightly different name and are now on their way back again. But who cares about the friendly?! Milan have an app! And as if that weren’t enough, they are supposedly showing the friendly on the app tonight.

Léo Duarte: Fortified

There’s a new center back at Milan, and word on the street is that he means business. At the age of 23 years old, Léo Duarte was signed to reinforce a center back lineup that also includes Romagnoli, Musacchio, and Caldara. That gives Milan one of the youngest defenses in Serie A, but also one of the most talented. Duarte wasn’t signed just to sit and watch the others, he was signed because of his reputation for being both tough and talented, to give our defense a little something extra. I suppose you could say that Milan have fortified.

Podcast: Summer Dreams

We’ve welcomed new players. We’ve seen the friendlies. And with the season set to kick off in less than two weeks, there are just a few loose ends to tie up. This is the time of the year to assess not only how far we’ve come, but to look ahead at where we are going. Time to talk about those summer dreams.

KF Feronikeli 0, AC Milan 2: Comprehensive

This was Giampaolo’s first win on the Milan bench, perhaps a quiet win in a historic match. The win itself… well, it would have been incredibly disappointing if we hadn’t won, due to the disparity in player quality and experience. It wasn’t ever in doubt that we would win, but it wasn’t exactly as dominant of a performance as one might expect, either. But we got to see new players, returning players, and actually, pretty much all the players. Giampaolo used both first team keepers and all of his outfield players, so we got to see a truly comprehensive look at where we are preseason.

KF Feronikeli vs. AC Milan: Not Just Another Friendly

Milan have never played a match in Kosovo. Granted, Kosovo has only existed as an independent nation since 2008, and it probably wasn’t the safest place for Milan to travel to for a while. So this friendly is historic, and honestly a little exciting to witness. Maybe it won’t be a Champions League final kind of match, but increasing goodwill throughout the world is something that football does best.

Ismael Bennacer: Two Thousand Percent

In his first interview as a Rossonero, Bennacer said that he would give us two thousand per cent. I don’t care about the math skills, I need someone with football skills. And as if that weren’t enough to convince Milan fans, he also promised that he would die on the pitch for the fans and for the team. That’s all I needed to hear. I already like this guy two thousand per cent.

The Compulsory New Kit Review

With another season upon us, Puma have given us three more shirts. I feel like musician Danny Elfman said it best in his Oingo Boingo song, “Grey Matter”: “You’ll swallow anything that they shove down your throat.” This is possibly true of all football kits, as there is an immediate attachment to the club, the colors, and your heroes who will be wearing them, so it doesn’t really matter if the kits are good or bad, fans will buy them. And that is certainly what Puma are counting on here.

Manchester United 2 (5), AC Milan 2 (4): Promising

The fact that Milan lost… again... is very misleading. Each match in the ICC Tournament, they have shown improvement and a greater sense of the tactics that Giampaolo is trying to instill in the team. In this match, they met a team that is about three weeks ahead of them in terms of preparation, and Milan actually dominated them in times in possession. In fact, it was only on penalties that we lost, and it was the closest thing to a win that Giampaolo has seen so far at Milan. Not winning aside, however, the play is so incredibly refreshing. For Milan fans, it is very promising.

ICC Tournament: Manchester United vs. AC Milan Preview: Don’t Bodge It

Everyone knows that these summer friendlies mean nothing. However, as pointed out in the Benfica review and the last podcast, there is a bit of pride on the line here. With a reasonable draw or a win in this match, Milan will not be dead last in the tournament. More importantly, though, fans want to see continuing improvement in Milan’s play. This is a great opportunity to make a good showing and feature Giampaolo’s new tactics and ideas. So please don’t bodge it.

Podcast: Hanging with Milan

Watching all of the fun that Milan supporters had in the United States this past week with the club forced me to record this bonus podcast. We talked about all of the important topics for fans: spirit animals, shoelaces, stadium bids, socks, and of course, Cutrone. This episode was all about how it is to be a fan, learning from two of the best.

Milan 0, Benfica 1: Evolution

Evolution isn’t always easy. Or comfortable. It takes time and patience to evolve, and watching a summer friendly is also not the best indication of how a team will evolve, either. But while everyone acknowledges an overall improvement in playing style in the few short weeks Giampaolo has been with the team, there is still so much work to be done. The mentality of not scoring goals is a powerful one, and will take more than a few weeks to change. So even if this result doesn’t represent the match we saw, there were at least more signs of evolution.

Podcast: Milan in USA

Milan are in the United States for the ICC tour, which gives fans in here the opportunity to see the play live and to possibly interact with our beloved players. However in the midst of the summer fun and some great videos from Milan’s social media team, we are still in the midst of the mercato. Players come and go, and sometimes our hearts get broken, too.