Milan 3, SPAL 0: Change of Fortune

If you believe in lucky charms, then Ibrahimovic is a 6’5” (1.96m) one. Milan went from a team that struggled in every match, and couldn’t even win against teams lower than them on the table to a poised, confident destroyer of relegation-zone teams in one giant Swedish transfer. Ibra was a spectator from the bench for this one, and Milan still pulled off a decent performance. Which means that either it was mentality all along, or a change of fortune.

Amazing goals, a clean sheet, and this level of win

Berisha was the busiest SPAL player on the pitch, making numerous saves and conceding three goals. The first was in the 20th, a breakthrough goal from Piatek to make it 1-0 Milan. Pum Pum Pum! His mentality has suffered along with everyone else on the team, and despite many deeming him surplus now that Ibra is here, I think he should stay and I believe he will make a difference.

Castillejo looked somewhat awkward early on, misplacing passes and even earning a yellow card in the 41st for a very reckless challenge. But he went from cartoon to superhero with a sublime curling goal from a Piatek assist just before halftime. 2-0. Did I mention it was sublime?

Greatest celebration ever? 

The second half saw Milan fans boo on Suso as he replaced Castillejo, who looked like he wanted a second card. Interesting how Suso was irreplaceable, then didn’t meet expectations because fans expected twice as much of him, to being the scourge of a team he carried on his very talented back for years. Perception is curious, and definitely can impact a player’s form. The reports that he has asked for a transfer are heartbreaking, because then we’re stuck with Castillejo, who has already used up his allotment of brilliance for this season.

Theo Hernandez made it 3-0 in the 66th for a goal that even Ibrahimovic gave him a standing ovation for. Antonio Donnarumma had to make basically one save, and he did it very well. It will be curious to see who starts on Sunday of he and Begovic, should Gigio not recover in time.


The drama of the match involved Paqueta, who got 15 minutes in a 4-4-2 to try to prove his worth, and I’m not sure it went well for him. In the 88th minute, he was whistled for a handball and shown a yellow card, with a penalty awarded to SPAL. However, VAR did its job, and Ghersini rescinded the card and the penalty call, and Milan were able to keep their shiny clean sheet. Gabbia also got to make an eight minute debut appearance, replacing Kjaer, who debuted for 82 minutes in place of the injured Musacchio.

The biggest problem this season is mentality, it’s always been obvious. People talk about the players or the formation and tactics, but at the end of the day, mentality has been missing. Ibrahimovic is someone who has extra mentality to share, and he has brought that back with him to Milan, along with ticket sales. This match was originally expected to sell 10,000-12,000 tickets, but because of him, there were around 30,000 in the stands to watch the win.

Exactly what everyone else looked like when they saw his goal

SPAL are out of the Coppa Italia, and Milan face Torino in the quarterfinals on Tuesday, January 28th. Adding a midweek game at this point is no worry, because Milan have experienced a change of fortune.

This post inspired by the music of Frank Sinatra’s “Luck Be a Lady”

Our next match is
Serie A Week 20
Milan vs. Udinese
Sunday, January 19 • 12:30 CET (6:30am EST)

Milan 3, SPAL 0: Change of Fortune Milan 3, SPAL 0: Change of Fortune Reviewed by Elaine on 11:29 PM Rating: 5
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