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Showing posts from April, 2019

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.

Milan 1, Udinese 1: Bring Out Your Dead

Six weeks ago, Milan fans would have assumed that three points against a struggling Udinese were a foregone conclusion. Especially at a San Siro filled with nearly 50,000 fans. But over the break, Udinese brought in the pinch-hitting Igor Tudor, the coach that saved them from relegation at the end of last season. And Milan suffered two painful losses in a row, as well as a new crop of injuries, even before kickoff. So now we’re all miserably lamenting a single point in three matches and licking our wounds as well. Might as well send out the wagons and say “Bring out your dead!”

Milan-Udinese Preview: And Now For Something Completely Different

After two painful losses in a row, Gattuso has promised us “something different” for tomorrow’s match. Personally, I am hoping that it is something called winning. Or even better, a good performance. But even to take home a point (or three) would be considered mixing it up at this moment. And while Gattuso’s attempts at different have never really made me comfortable (or been successful,) I don’t want to see another performance or result like recent games. And now for something completely different.

Podcast: In Hot Water

The loss to Inter was soul crushing, then we had to sit through the International Break, only to have our hopes dashed in the first minute against Sampdoria. Despite previous optimism, with so many other teams fighting for top four, it is very clear that Milan’s Champions League berth is not as solid as it seemed only a few short weeks ago. Unless Gattuso makes some productive changes soon, Milan are in hot water.