Zlatan Ibrahimovic. We loathed him when he donned the serpentine kit of Inter. We mocked him when he failed to show up consistently on the European stage, causing Inter to exit the Champions League prematurely. Finally, we laughed even more when Inter sold the Swedish hitman to Barcelona because Ibra felt that he had a better shot at the Champions League playing for the Catalan side - and we all know how that turned out.
Barcelona holds a prejudice towards any striker hovering above 170cm, so naturally Ibra wasn't the missing piece to the metaphorical puzzle of Barca's Champions League trophy aspirations. Now, Milan have acquired him for one third the price, and he has been performing better than any other pure striker in the world.
Milan are now +4 over CavaNapoli. I say that because it's hard to find a team more dependent on one player than Napoli is with Cavani. If the Uruguayan goes down, who will play striker? Lucarelli? What a significant drop off. Also, is Milan really that Ibradependent? You're telling me an attack with Cassano, Robinho, and Pato wouldn't scare the living daylights out of opposing defenses?
- Against Lecce, Ibra scored a goal that is without a doubt candidate for goal of the year. A lethal 30 yard left footed volley that would make Marco Van Basten orgasm in delight. Truly a blessing for Milanista's to see his creative genius on display.
- Last game versus Cesena, Pato was once again relegated to the bench. In his place, the attacking trio of Ibra, Fatantonio, and Robinho. This could be viewed as Berlusconi subtly hinting a message to Pato. But let's analyze what this message might be. The Brazilian duck has an excellent scoring rate in the Serie A. He has netted a brace on three separate occasions this year, despite being injured 99% of the time. (Theory discussed extensively in last column with the introduction of my Pato Corollary, not to be confused with the Shevchenko Corollary, which stated that Andriy had his top secret identical twin brother Sergei shipped back to AC Milan from Chelsea. I'm telling you this theory has a foundation beneath it.) Pato hasn't been able to form a decent chemistry with Ibra, while Robinho & the newly acquired Cassano have been able to conjure up some slick attacking play together, linking up well with Ibrahimovic.
- Milan has recently completed the signing of Ajax/Netherlands left back Urby Emanuelson. From what I've seen, he is more adept at playing as a winger, where he can utilize his dribbling and cannon shot more effectively. Unfortunately, Milan have no place for wingers in their newly adapted 4-3-1-2 formation, meaning Urby will need to find a niche playing as a left back. Fortunately for him, Milan requires all of their full backs to be atrocious defenders, so he fits the bill. The mistake prone Antonini currently occupies the position. He has carved out a habit of committing at least one irrevocable defensive gaffe per game. His positioning on the defensive end borders pathetic, and Luca doesn't even push forward as much as he did when Ronaldinho was prancing around the left wing infront of him. Another note worth mentioning is Milan only paid around €1.7 million for the 24 year old Emanuelson.
Urby Emanuelson, Milan's new acquisition
- Always nice to see Alex Merkel getting a full 90 minutes in the Serie A. Still a teenager, the young German filled in Seedorf's role wonderfully against Cesena. In the Coppa Italia game against Bari he scored and assisted a goal. Against Cesena, Merkel showed great pace, vision, and confidence considering his lack of experience at the top level. Definitely one for the future. The question now is, should he win Slowdorf's role in the Milan lineup? I still believe Boateng is best fit for the job once he fully recovers from his injury.
- Update: Milan have signed criminal/footballer Mark van Bommel for 5 months. View his signing as more of a quick fix for all the injuries in the midfield.
- Milan fans across the globe were subject to heart failure and/or high blood pressure upon seeing our classy Alessandro Nesta carted off the field with a shoulder injury (expected to miss three weeks of action). The most horrific sight ensued - seeing Sokratis Papastabgerugireug warming up on the sidelines. Allegri was tired of watching the horror film titled Bonera helping the other team so he decided to go with the immortal central defensive pair of Sokratis and Apocalypto Yepes. To my surprise, Yepes was immense. Brute force, menacing tackles, and even an occasion on goal led to my epiphany: has Yepes played bad this season at all, ever?? Every time he has played the old wily Colombian has registered solid performances. I'm wondering why Boneheadera got the nod infront of him so many times.
- Concluding this article, I pose the following questions: Should Pato be a starter, and for whom? I guess having too many quality players is a great problem to have, but then it's expected that Cassano will constantly improve as he sheds the extra weight he put on from three months of eating twinkies. Robinho on the other hand, needs to stop squandering so many opportunities. He could have scored a hattrick against Cesena had his finishing been half decent.
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