The derby della madonnina. A name synonymous with hyperventilation, uncontrollable anxiety, and palpitations furious enough to disintegrate an elderly heart.
These are just some of the feelings associated with the annual match between the two Milan sides. And I use the term 'Milan sides' loosely, considering one of the teams is based out of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Bragging rights are given to the victor for the next few months, where the person will ridicule/mock/physically assault the fan of the other team upon every encounter. It has caused friendships to split, marriages to end, and Cristiano Doni to place his wager.
The derby highlighted dramatic problems with the club. Worries that often go unnoticed as Milan dominates provincial sides that possess the technical ability of a rotting corpse. However against the upper tier, a different story arises. Fun fact of the day: MILAN HAS NOT WON AGAINST THE TOP FOUR SIDES IN ITALY THIS SEASON. Yes, you heard it right. A loss to Inter & Juventus, and ties to Lazio & Udinese means Milan has yet to beat a quality side domestically. And I'm supposed to be confident against Arsenal because we tied with Barcelona? Not going to happen.
If Ancelotti rode a beautiful golden chariot, led by two sparkling unicorns on his way to Champions League glory, Massimiliano Allegri is currently being dragged around on an overweight donkey. You must applaud Max Allegri's plans however, as he truly is an innovative coach, a fundamental pillar that will join the pantheon of all time greats. I mean, his unorthodox philosophy for converting left backs into trequartisti will raise a few eyebrows, and the fact that this bizarre formation change happened in the most important game of the season is bewildering. If starting a left back as a trequartista is not enough, how about slotting Kevin Prince Boateng as a right sided midfielder when HE HAS CLEARLY ADAPTED AS A TREQUARTISTA, AND HAS SAID HIMSELF THAT HE PREFERS THAT ROLE. But that's fine, let's not look at the world class games Boateng has played behind the strikers, often scoring marvellous goals and cutting through the middle like a silhouette - No. Allegri doesn't care. He would rather start the Prince in a role where his performance was MEDIOCRE AT BEST EVERY SINGLE TIME HE WAS SLOTTED THERE. For Christ's sake, Allegri. And why don't you play the youngsters? What happened to the whole 'rebuilding with youth' sentiment from Galliani. Stephan El Shaarawy has been spending more time at the barber, perfecting his aerodynamic haircut, than on the field with Milan. It's unfortunate to see, as the young Italian was more instrumental in a few minutes than Pato throughout the entire game. Stephan nearly set up Ibrahimovic with a lovely outside of the boot lob on his first touch of the ball. And not to mention, the kid is only 18. Allegri, why aren't you playing him?
Max Allegri has made some questionable decisions lately
Now that that's off my chest, let's move on to the attack...
A wise man once said: Allegri chooses ten men in the formation, Barbara chooses the eleventh. After a dramatic saga which unintentionally became the script for the next atrocious MTV reality show, Pato (or rather, Barbara) said no to an imminent move to Paris St. Germain, a team that was ready to spill over somewhere in the vicinity of €38 million for the services of the tabloid superstar. Could you imagine, Barbara crying to her father not to sell off her lover. Cute, huh?
Pato's performance against Inter was curious. If running into Inter defenders like a decapitated chicken wasn't enough, Pato missed the clearest occasion on goal for Milan with a shot launched so high that somewhere in the world, Massimo Oddo became aroused. What are the odds now that Pato leaves over the summer? (Somewhere, Cristiano Doni is wondering the same thing - and logging on to BWIN.com)
Ibrahimovic: Nonchalant, lackadaisical, and lethargic. Three hard to pronounce words that thoroughly describe Zlatan's performance versus Intergentina. Simply put, he was as maligned as Pato. The Milan attack that won't conjure magic despite their brilliant technical gifts makes one think that it's a dysfunctional pair. A match-made-in-hell, so to speak. You'd expect those two to singlehandedly create chaos in the box every time they were given the chance. Instead what we see is a tall Swedish player who seems a second away from physically assaulting Pato after the next botched run.
- Not even going to be naive enough to pin the loss on Abate. Sure, his mistake was catastrophic and Philippe Senderosian in nature, but he still is fundamental to the Milan formation, and will hopefully be travelling with Italy to the Euro's this summer.
- After the loss, Milan now sits at -1 on the table, with Juventus taking the lead. The next two matches are both against Real Novara, one in the Coppa Italia, and the other in the Serie A.
- Am I being too harsh? The fact of the matter is, the derby is the most important game for anyone who considers themselves a real Milanista. Pride is at stake with every result, and bragging rights are earned for the next several months until the next derby takes place. As much as I love our team, I'm realizing that change is not only an option, but also a necessity. You can have all the greatest players in the world, but if they can't coexist, what's the point?
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