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SPAL vs. Milan: Milan DNA

Will the outcomes of all of the matches resurrect our Champions League dreams?

SPAL vs. Milan: One Match to Rule Them All

Milan fans have become almost obsessed with returning to the Champions League. Although to be fair, their obsession is nothing on comparison to Juventus’ obsession with trying to win the Champions League. That obsession truly is more like the one ring, it has consumed and nearly destroyed them. No, Milan’s obsession with returning is a lot more like Frodo Baggins wanting to return home to the Shire after carrying the ring and seeing too much. We are a team that has traveled too far from home and are now ready to go back home. Only we have not escaped Mordor just yet. Not only does at least one more team need to drop points, but we face a worthy opponent in the eleventh place SPAL. As we discussed on the latest podcast, Milan have no choice but to win. This is one match to rule them all (or at least hopefully qualify for Champions League next season.)

Podcast: Fingers Crossed

Milan have left everything to the last matchday, and have given control of our European fate to rival clubs. Not that Milan fans needed any more anxiety in our lives, but it’s not particularly surprising, either. So while we are waiting for the final match, we talked about everything Milan, looking back and trying not to think too hard about the future, keeping our fingers crossed.

Milan 2, Frosinone 0: Con il Milan nel Cuore nel Sempre

This was a must-win match against a side who were already relegated. On paper, Milan should have destroyed Frosinone. But matches aren’t played on paper, they are played with blood, sweat, and tears. And they are played with heart. With this being Milan’s last home match of the year, there was at least one person for whom this match was played completely with his heart. It was Abate’s last match for Milan at the San Siro, and when he was subbed off to a 61,000 fan ovation, he revealed what was in his heart: Milan. Forever.

Milan vs. Frosinone: The Iron Throne

So many questions will be answered tonight

Milan-Frosinone Preview: The Penultimate Chance

It feels like Milan have been on their last chance for Champions League qualification for some time now. Indeed, we are not even the masters of our own fate, but must win both of our remaining matches and hope for the results of other teams to go our way. Despite the fact that Frosinone are already relegated, they will be playing for honor. Which is more than Milan has played for lately, so therefore still dangerous. Milan must end this match with three points if we even want to have a chance. This game is our penultimate chance.

Like Maldini

Fans were so excited this year to welcome Maldini back into the club. Finally, we could sleep at night. He represents the best of Milan and the best of all of us, and we knew our club would be safe in his hands. Because if it weren’t, he would be honest and tell us. Just like he was brutally honest about what he thought should be done when he wasn’t at the club. And he was always right, too. The fact that Galliani never listened to him or brought him back was one of the most painful parts of being a Milan fan in the post-Maldini era. Yet Maldini coming back didn’t solve all of our problems overnight. One of the reasons being that the players and fans haven’t followed his example. It’s hard to have a Maldini-esque Milan when we are not all willing to be a little more like Maldini.

Fiorentina 0, Milan 1: Miracle in Florence

I wasn’t sure Milan would be up to the task given their performances the past two and a half months or so, but somehow, they put in about 30 improved minutes of football and that was enough to take home all three points from Florence today. Which was a miracle for fans and also for the fact that we have often struggled to win in their house. Because we have left our fate in the hands of other teams, it’s impossible to know if this was enough. But being arguably our toughest match of our final three, it is a big sigh of relief to get the win. In fact, it’s a bit of a miracle.

Fiorentina-Milan Preview: He Wants Revenge

Remember that guy Montella? Spent a lot of time on his hair, matching his socks to his outfits, etc.? Probably spent as much of his time at Milan at Diesel getting all of his free clothes as he spent thinking about lineups? Yeah, that guy. Well he’s back at Fiorentina again, and still seems hurt about getting fired by Milan. So while Gattuso is just trying to save our season before he gets the axe, we’d better watch out for the pretty boy coach, because he wants revenge.

Podcast: Lost

Milan can’t even celebrate a win anymore because we are unravelling so badly it doesn’t feel like a win. Of course we’ve still been mostly losing, but adding on a ridiculous amount of poor discipline on and off the pitch. With the same tired tactics leading to worse performances and results, it’s actually not that much of a surprise that Gattuso and the team just seem lost.

Milan 2, Bologna 1: Despicable Milan

From soul-crushing performances and behavior that should be beneath even an Inter player, we managed to win this match in spite of ourselves. The game had everything vile about football: red cards, a player refusing to sub on and possibly cursing out their coach, and another probable season-ending injury that left another player leaving the San Siro on crutches. Did I mention we actually won? Yeah, that kind of got lost in all of the other stuff. Three very needed points that could not wash away the bitter taste in our mouths. Otherwise known as despicable Milan.

Milan-Bologna Preview: Make it Stop

First, we plummeted from third place all the way down to seventh. Meanwhile, the performances plummeted even further. There were discipline problems, racial abuse, and injuries. Now, ritiro, the most useless “team building” (read: punishment) activity ever known to man. And in ritiro, Caldara ruptured his ACL and will be out again for another 5-6 months. As if that weren’t bad enough, we are facing an in-form Bologna that are determined to climb the table as much as possible in their last four games, coached by our former manager, Mihajlovic. Please, someone, just make it stop.

Losing It

Milan are losing what we hoped was a strong grip on a return to Champions League for next year. Lost, too, are the hopes and dreams of Milanisti everywhere. But also completely lost is Gattuso. All along his journey as first team coach, he has struggled with tactics and systems and lineups. For a while, Milan survived on his grinta alone. The players swore their allegiance to him and their work ethic showed, even when the results didn’t come. But when the going got tough, he became more and more stubborn, until he lost not only matches, but also lost the team. In desperation, he’s thrown the whole team into ritiro… again. It’s so obvious that he’s simply losing it.

Racism Wins Again

Everyone is talking about how Milan’s Champions League dreams are on life support. Or how Gattuso’s time is up. But last week, two of our best warriors were racially abused. Well for more than just once, actually. And after all of that abuse, the FIGC handed down a suspended sentence of only a partial stadium ban to Lazio. Meaning that if fans behave themselves for 12 months, nothing at all will happen to them. Nothing. In 2019, our players and team got fined a total of €86,000 for holding up an opposition player’s shirt, but fans racially abusing two human beings get nothing. It’s beyond disgusting. And, in Italy, racism rules again.

Torino 2, Milan 0: Endgame

This was not a good weekend for Milan fans or for fans of Marvel Comics movies. For the latter, the release of the 22nd movie in 11 short years marks the end of a group of superheroes that started with just six and grew into legions of heroes, ready to battle evil for a good cause. For the former, this match marked the end of a quest to return to Champions League glory next season. And while not mathematically out of the race, the performances and mentality at the club demonstrate that we are. Even with four more games to play, this is the match where fans know it is over. It was Milan’s Endgame.

Torino-Milan Preview: Please Not Again

In recent years, fans have relished being even within a Champions League qualifying spot at this point of the year. Rallying around the team for the last five matches of the season, the excitement would be palpable, leading to resignation if we didn’t make it. But having been in third place just six painful weeks ago, with the chance to go four points clear, Milan’s performances since then have been far less than convincing. Our results have been abysmal, and our mentality worse. So rather than look to yet another tough away match against an opponent who are also struggling for a European spot, many Milan fans are saying “Please, not again.”

Milan 0, Lazio 1: Ultimate Defeat

Losing to Lazio in the Coppa Italia wasn’t shameful. They are a good side, maybe even a little better than their results this season suggest. Losing because Gattuso is trying too little too late this season to get the lineups, tactics, and even mentality right was embarrassing. But losing to a team who have plenty of serial racist fans who were allowed to abuse Bakayoko and Kessie for over a week now in many different venues unpunished was the ultimate defeat.

Coppa Italia Semifinal • Milan-Lazio Preview: For Bakayoko

It is often said that no one cares about the Coppa Italia. However, with Milan and Lazio both in the four or five-way battle for the last Champions League spot, it feels like earning a berth in the Coppa Italia final may be a consolation prize at this point. But then there is the plight of Bakayoko. He discovered the dangers of social media the hard way, then did a really dumb thing, for which he was heavily fined. However, Lazio Ultras have their own twisted sense of justice. After protesting the fact that he was not banned for his actions, they sang racist chants against him on Wednesday during their game against Udinese. Leaking the video out on… you guessed it… social media, they avoided punishment. So they reportedly chanted again on Saturday in their match vs. Chievo. Not only that, but videos are emerging that their “twinned” club, Inter, also chanted racist insults against Bakayoko on Saturday. So consider this an opportunity for a moral victory. Let’s win this one for Bakayo…

Podcast: Clinging to Fourth

Remember when Milan were in third place and could have gone four points clear? But they didn’t? That same sense of fear has left us clinging to fourth place by a mere point with five games to go. As if that weren’t hard enough for us fans, questioning players, coach, and more, there have been way too many off the pitch distractions, too. At a crucial point in our season, it leaves us clinging to fourth.

Parma 1, Milan 1: Indigestion

As with most of our lunchtime games, this match was a source of massive indigestion for fans. In a match that we could have dominated and should have won, we played our timid, defensive, offensively constipated game instead. So much so that Parma looked like the team that wanted a Champions League spot. And now, having dropped points, our fate is no longer entirely in our hands, with five games still left to play.

Parma-Milan Preview: Lunch for Three

With Juventus crashing out of the Champions League yet again this week, it feels like that much more motivation to get back there ourselves so that we can show them how it’s done… again. Certainly, earning a Champions League spot is the primary focus for Milan right now. But standing in our way are six individual matches, and we must take all three points in each one to guarantee we keep fourth. This week’s unlucky target is Parma. And having been given the lunchtime slot, Milan are asking for lunch for three.

The Dangers of Social Media

Saturday’s postmatch events highlighted an increasing influence in football: Social media. After having sportingly exchanged messages ahead of the match, a real life event on the pitch caused an even bigger explosion on social media. Gattuso immediately pointed out that it was time for big clubs to impose limitations on social media use for their players. But even better would be if fans would think twice about the dangers of social media use.

Milan 1, Lazio 0: Tainted Victory

After deadlocks in the two previous meetings with Lazio this season, Milan managed to win. The fact that they won because of a referee call is ironic, given incidents for both clubs with the referees recently. That would have been a bigger part of the conversation last week, when both teams were on the wrong end of referee calls. But unfortunately, injuries, fans, and the behavior of players from both teams immediately following the match has left this one a bit of a tainted victory.

Milan-Lazio Preview: When It Matters Most

Every match is a final, they said. The last ten matches will determine our fate. And with that pressure, Milan started doing what they know best: choking. If that continues, then expect Milan to choke really, really hard in this match. Because with the points and positions on the table, this match really is important to our qualification for the Champions League next year. We can only hope that being so close to qualifying will make Milan step it up when it matters most.

Poll: The Final Four

No, this is not that basketball tournament, that’s over for this year. With seven games left, everyone is focused on which Serie A teams will reach the Champions League for next season. Obviously, Juventus will be there, until they spectacularly crash out somewhere between the group stage and the final. But who will the other three teams be representing Italy? And are any of them teams that could actually win in the Champions League, unlike that team from Turin? Today is your turn to predict the Final Four.

Changing the Narrative

After Saturday’s match, the Milan media and social media erupted in a volcano of rancor yet again. Referees have long been abused, and Italy has a special way of honoring them. Every aspect of their lives is published and discussed before each match, especially if there is any trace of them ever having supported any club in any city remotely related to Serie A. But when a ref makes anything perceived as an error, fans and pundits take to their screens with anger typically reserved for family reunions and actual wars. And if a ref makes a call that is perceived as benefitting Juventus, then he’d better have a really good life insurance policy. But this is sport. And football is supposed to be the “gentlemen’s sport.” Isn’t it about time that we start changing the narrative?

Juventus 2, Milan 1: The Ref

Ever since the Gol di Muntari, every Milan conversation about every match vs. Juventus centers around the ref. Which is a shame, because they’re rarely good looking, and nothing they do is ever as exciting as the things going on all around them on the pitch. From everything I’ve read and seen since the game, this match was no different. Milan were robbed, they say. The ref decided the game, they say. Juve own the refs, they say. All of this from people who’ve never even read the FIFA Laws of the Game, let alone reffed. But the biggest crime is that if that is all they took from this game, they missed a really great match. It was filled with so many good (and bad) things. If you people want to bitch and moan about the refs like that little baby Leonardo, suit yourselves. I loved the football.

Juventus-Milan Preview: Do or DAI

This match is usually a relished and highly anticipated event, even when Milan have been struggling. But this time, Milan come into this match with our confidence popped like a balloon, with the bits of the balloon then put through a shredder. After a stretch where our performances were poor and then got even more poor, despite winning results, we lost two matches and drew a match that felt more like a loss. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, we lost two more important starters, too. But because of those results, our Champions League dreams are fading fast, so this match is do or DAI.