Growing Pains? Or Signs of Trouble?

Because so many people look at results only, Milan's loss against Lille in the Europa League and subsequent draw against Verona may have raised questions about Milan's previously unstoppable mentality. But there are other question marks, too, such as players who had amazing form all summer dropping in form now. Plus, our captain conceded two penalties in two matches in a row, then picked up a minor injury ahead of our last match. He also was shown a yellow card for dissent while on the bench for Italy yesterday, which truly begs the question: Are these just growing pains? Or signs of trouble?

Lost his form? Or lost his mind?

Romagnoli had a rough year in his first year as captain. In all competitions, he picked up eight yellow cards and a red card, most of them for dissent. He was only 23 years old, so it was not the most surprising thing that the armband would weigh heavily on him as he matured into his role as captain. But we do know he is not perfect.

Last year, he was the model captain, so it is a bit odd to see his sarcastic and defiant side come out again with the refs. He certainly has not been himself since returning from injury at the end of this past season. The mistakes he made to concede those penalties were below the level we are used to seeing from him. Plus, earning the card on international duty was just ridiculous. Sarcastically applauding the ref is not something a Milan captain does. But is this cause for concern, or will he transform back into that near-perfect captain again? 

Will he crack under the pressure?

The game against Lille was not exactly a shock. Nor was the draw against Verona. Both tough matches that came when the team were playing every three to four days and were tired. On top of that, COVID cases are climbing all around, and the uncertainties and stress from both the health and economic aspects of a global pandemic have impacted the mentality of pretty much everyone worldwide. FIFA and UEFA allowed players to travel for an international break for some ridiculous reason, and players are contracting the virus again at an even more alarming rate.

On top of all of that, we have two very tough matches ahead of us, and both Pioli and his assistant have tested positive for COVID-19 and so are unavailable. Daniele Bonera, a legendary defender in his own right, will be in charge of the match against his former teammate, Gattuso on Sunday. These are stressful circumstances. This is a young team, playing above their level. Being top of the table is a lot of pressure as well. But are all of these things just growing pains? Or signs of trouble? Only time will tell.

This post inspired by the music of She Wants Revenge's "These Things"

Our next match is
Serie A Week 8
Napoli vs. Milan
Sunday, November 22 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)

Growing Pains? Or Signs of Trouble? Growing Pains? Or Signs of Trouble? Reviewed by Elaine on 11:30 PM Rating: 5
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