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Showing posts from 2019

Questioning UEFA

Growing up, parents are the experts about everything, and children blindly believe everything they say. As children get older, however, they start to realize that maybe their parents don’t know everything, and often question their authority. Right now, UEFA are like the parents who have been found out, as their FFP rulings have been so far off base that it has taken the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to put them in their place. And it begs the question, if UEFA are so far out of touch with reality when it comes to football and finances, then who is governing whom?

Krzysztof Piatek: il Pistolero

Gunslingers have long appealed to people from young to old. Particularly as a part of Western lore, they are in everything from cartoons to movies, and children all over the world have grown up pretending to be them. Milan have a new gunslinger in Krzysztof Piatek. And though his trademark celebration is inspired by the popularity of gunslingers in his homeland, it has also quickly become quite popular amongst football fans worldwide. Particularly since it always follows a goal. So in Italy, he is called the Gunslinger, or “il Pistolero.”

Podcast: Darkness and Light

This was a tough podcast to record, following the tragic Derby loss. However after venting about what went wrong and all of the darkness of that match, we did manage to discuss some light that will hopefully make Milan’s future that much brighter.

Milan 2, Inter 3: Incinerated

There was so much hope for Milan fans ahead of this Derby. Inter had just crashed out of the Europa League, they were divided amongst themselves, their star striker throwing a massive diva hissy fit and refusing to play, and key players were injured and missing. It seemed like the perfect time to strike. And indeed, it was, only for Inter, not Milan. Because Milan had been lulled into complacency over a ten match unbeaten streak, with good results masking poor performances. And with all of the drama of the pyrotacular coreo, social media, and stadium hype, it seemed that Milan winning was a foregone conclusion. But instead, it was too hot to handle for this team, and Milan found themselves incinerated.

Milan-Inter Preview: Derby Obsession

There has been a strange quiet around Milan fans this week, and I have no idea why. I hope it is the calm before the storm. Not here, though. It’s all I can talk about, all I can think about, all I can dream about. My blood pressure is elevated and my breathing is faster in anticipation of this epic match. The Derby is always massive for me, it’s the one game I was able to see at the San Siro. But this match on Sunday has become my obsession. With Inter’s locker room in shambles (as predicted,) and their form dropping, it’s difficult not to salivate at the possibilities. Milan are stronger than they’ve been in years, with good results of late, and are a point above Inter. Going into the Derby in third place was unthinkable at the beginning of the season, and three points would be so massive for whichever team can take them. It’s become my Derby obsession.

Snakes and Heroes

The Derby is so intense, so fierce, it is not surprising that there are tons of great stories in its history. There are brothers by birth, brothers by nationality, and brothers by team. There are those who have lived the Derby on the pitch and on the touchline, and then there are those who have lived both sides of the Milan divide. So many stories of both snakes and heroes.

Il Derby della Madonnina: The Mother of Them All

A derby is a game fueled by rivalry and history that sets it apart from all of the others. There is that much more passion, the desire to win is that much more intense. And, of course, there are bragging rights. But one derby sets itself apart from the others: il Derby della Madonnina. Watched over by its namesake and the holiest of women from her perch atop il Duomo, Milan’s great cathedral, it is certainly not a game for girls. When you share not only a city, but actual family and the rich history that Milan and Inter share, this game is the mother of them all.

Chievo 1, Milan 2: Tempered

This match was not Milan’s best, which seems to be a recurring theme for the past few games. But we did manage to win, which is what will be remembered at the end of the season. That’s good, because Gattuso will likely not want people to remember that he was sent off for losing his temper. Rather, he would want people to remember how the boys went into the Bentegodi, faced a very physical team, and stuck with it all 90 minutes to take home all three points. Despite playing uninspiring football, at least their mentality seems to be tempered.

Chievo-Milan Preview: Flying High

The worst time to face the bottom of the table team is when you are flying high. It is dangerous because they literally have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Meanwhile, we have a very precarious hold on third place that would be amazing to take with us into the Derby next week. However, with confidence high and back to back performances not so high, the Flying Donkeys could ground us and take all three points. That’s the trouble with flying high.

Podcast: Crazy for Milan

With Milan in third place, everyone is going crazy for Milan. It may be a little premature, as recent performances show that the team’s mentality is still fragile. In the podcast that was recorded right after the Sassuolo match and nearly didn’t make it to air because of technical difficulties, we talked about changes at the club, Milan’s recent form, as well as our rise on the table. And, of course, why everyone is crazy for Milan.

The Trouble with Icardi

As a Milan fan, watching the Inter-Icardi-Wanda meltdown has been absolutely Karmalicious. Most people don’t mind a few character flaws, but I find them to be more important than talent. There was a while that Icardi’s talents masked his poor character, but now Karma has caught up to him and to Wanda, and it is hurting Inter, too. All have shown horrific character in the past, and only a fraction of the Karma they have earned is coming back to them at this point. But that is the trouble with Icardi.

Milan 1, Sassuolo 0: Fortunate

Going into this match, the lust for third place was real, at least amongst Milan fans. Despite knowing the spell Sassuolo has cast on us previously, we were all hungry to bypass Inter and and try the third place spot on for size. Whether it was exhaustion after the midweek match with Lazio or an actual mentality issue, Milan did not seem to be up to the task today. But that didn’t stop them from trying, nor Sassuolo for making enough errors to gift us the game. When the whistle blew at the end of the match, how we got the three points didn’t seem relevant any more, even if we were fortunate.

Milan-Sassuolo Preview: Advantage

Coming in to this match, Milan are just two points behind third place. With Inter losing to Cagliari on Friday, a win could put is in that third place spot. Above Inter. Where every Milan fan wants to be. However, there is a strange, almost magical force standing between us and gloating to our cugini: Sassuolo. While Milan have a slight head to head advantage, it seems like Sassuolo trouble us more than other teams with similar budgets do. Still, Milan just have to win this one. Not only for morale, but for advantage.

Lazio 0, Milan 0: Cup Half Empty

Some say that Milan missed an opportunity by not scoring away to Lazio. Others think Milan did well to not concede a goal. But the truth is that Milan have left the result to 90 minutes at the San Siro and given up the gift that is the away goal. We did not take advantage of Lazio’s injury crisis, either. We also showed that we are not as strong as we thought, as losing a starter to injury was like deflating a balloon in terms of our level of play. It’s not about optimism or pessimism, in this two leg semifinal, we literally left the cup half empty.

Coppa Italia Semifinal: Lazio-Milan Preview: The Philosopher’s Stone

Only in Italy would a competition be decided by single elimination in all of the rounds except the semifinal. So this match is the first of two matches which will determine which team moves on to the final. But that’s okay, Gattuso apparently has the Philosopher’s Stone. Only he doesn’t even know what it is. Hopefully one of the players has explained it to him by now. Because while our results have started to turn to gold, these things are best left to alchemists who know what they are doing.

Milan 3, Empoli 0: Remembering

This could have easily been a match to forget, certainly in the first half, Milan seemed to want to make it that way. But instead, with a renewed effort in the second half, this match became one of remembering. Milan remembered their ghosts, of playing poorly against a relegation-threatened team. Then Milan remembered their heritage, one of winning every game, regardless of the opposition. They remembered that they are in fourth place, and what they needed to do to stay there. And in remembering, they won, helping the fans remember the joy of supporting Milan.

Milan-Empoli Preview: No Turning Back

Milan are undefeated in all competitions in their last six games. While there were draws with Napoli and Roma in there, that’s still four solid wins, something we’re not accustomed to doing consistently in recent years. With the race for fourth place getting extremely tight, it is more important than ever to keep the victories coming. So although we drew Empoli earlier this season, on Friday, there is no turning back.

Podcast: Good Times

By some miracle, Milan are still in fourth place. Morale is high, especially with the performances of a few individuals. Still, there is plenty to discuss and much to be improved within the team. And no one knows better what those things are than the most devout of Milan fans. Good Times.

Atalanta 1, Milan 3: Boom

I feel for Atalanta. Not only does the final score not do their team justice, but they were actually the better team on the night. However, when you have moments of individual brilliance, sometimes, that is enough. And such was the case in this game. Milan went from a goal down to winning 3-1. Boom.

Atalanta-Milan Preview: Showdown

A game is truly only worth three points, but some games feel like they are worth six. Although they actually only separate the two teams by three points, a win gives that team three points and also denies the other team three points. Again, mathematically, it’s only three points. But schematically, when a team is only one point behind you and breathing down your neck for a Champions League spot, a victory feels like double. And away to Atalanta, victory truly would be a special kind of win, whereas a loss would feel twice as bad. That’s why tomorrow’s match is a showdown.

Poll: Where Will Milan Finish This Season?

There is plenty of speculation about Milan’s chances of finishing in a Champions League spot, as there has been every year since losing out on Champions League. The difference being that this year, we are already in fourth place in February, something we haven’t done before. With an actual January transfer window which has made an immediate impact on the pitch, the optimism is flowing more freely than the liquor these days amongst fans. But realistically, what do you believe?

Milan 3, Cagliari 0: Got Milk?

Ahead of this match, the Cagliari team were trapped in their training grounds by local farmers who were protesting milk prices. The only way they were able to escape was to show solidarity with the farmers’ cause by being filmed knocking over cans of milk. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t happen to other teams in any major European league, but this is Serie A, after all. And after nearly missing their flight to Milano, it didn’t help that they had to face a team with confidence and sparkly new players. But hey, no crying over spilt milk, right?

Milan-Cagliari Preview: It’s Time

Most people will look at Milan facing the 15th place Cagliari on Sunday and expect a win. Those people haven’t been watching Milan for very long. In addition to the fact that games are played on the pitch, not on paper, Milan have for too long now given up valuable points when it mattered most. And now, with so many teams within a point of fourth place, Milan need to win each game more than ever. Cagliari are not an easy team, despite their position on the table, and I’m sure they would be happy to help Milan fulfill their self-destructive ways. We split the points with them back in September. But if Milan are to achieve their goal of qualifying for the Champions League next year, at some point they will have to shed their ghosts and live up to their potential. It’s time.

Podcast: Best. Mercato. Ever.

Milan are still in fourth place, even if they still struggle to take advantage of opposition teams dropping points and widen the gap. But confidence is growing, the a number of clean sheets is growing, and we finally have a competent management. Which is why we had the best January mercato ever. Not only is it our first January mercato in so very long, but we truly strengthened the squad to make us more competitive, and we also lowered our wage bill at the same time.

Roma 1, Milan 1: Stalled

It never fails, whether Milan are flying high or digging deep to find strength: when there is an advantage to be gained on the table, they drop points. This time, we could have moved to four points clear of Roma in fourth place. With Inter’s loss, we would have been just two points behind them in third, too. But whether it was benevolence or psychological, in this match, Milan stalled.

Roma-Milan Preview: Wolf Trap

This matchup is never boring. But the results of the past week have made it a lot more interesting, at least for Milan fans. After coughing up a 3-0 lead to end up drawing Atalanta on the weekend, Roma were absolutely brutalized by Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia quarterfinals. Their fans pelted their bus with objects as they returned home, and Di Francesco’s job is increasingly hanging in the balance. Meanwhile, Milan, after an impressive draw against second place Napoli on Saturday, beat that same team in the Coppa Italia on Tuesday. So Milan are flying high, and Roma are at an all-time low for this season. Will they fight back and make us their victims? Or will Milan put another nail in their coffin? This game could be a massive wolf trap.

Milan 2, Napoli 0: Double-barreled Miracle

On paper, I honestly seriously doubted we’d win this one. And when the lineups came out, I was quite certain we would lose. But then a miracle happened. Piatek scored a goal. Then another. And that’s all it took to knock Napoli out of the Coppa Italia and create a euphoria long missing at Milan. It was a regular double-barreled miracle.

Coppa Italia Quarterfinals • Milan-Napoli Preview: Part B

If it seems like just the other day you were reading a Milan vs. Napoli preview, you are not losing your mind, you were. Because we just played Napoli on Saturday, but in the league. While that one included an impressive display from Milan which resulted in a draw, taking points from Napoli, this one is a win or go home match. So ready or not, here comes Part B.