ESPN Soccernet - Correspondents - AC MILAN
soccernet blog
AC Milan
Posted by Matteo Bonetti on 01/18/2012

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.

Moving on..

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 ©AP

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

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?

Matteo does most his damage on Twitter, so make sure to follow him! And LIKE his new facebook page!

Follow ESPNsoccernetFC on Twitter


Posted by Mark C. on 01/18/2012

Nice article Matteo. The lack of creation in the team during the derby was Allegri's fault. As you said, Boateng is our trequartista. Pato? He's been out of form/injured all season. So why include him in the derby instead of Robinho? Binho and Ibra have a better track record together than Ibra and Pato and, while Binho may have his horrendous misses, he currently still creates/assists/scores more goals than Pato has been. We clearly need someone else for the midfield. Maybe Montolivo and Merkel could help, or a fit Seedorf.

Posted by Lando on 01/18/2012

Great Article Mr. Bonetti!
I think Allegri needs to take a leap of faith, and consider El Sharaawy a starting 11 option. I don't believe he should start 30+ games a year, but he needs to play him more. It sounds like Merkel is coming back from Genoa.
Balzaretti LB Palermo
Mattia Destro ST Siena
Balotelli ST Manchester Money

Forza Milan!

Posted by Ralibguemiri on 01/18/2012

Right on Matteo, just wondering why Mexes didn't play, sedorf didnt start instead of emanuelson...lots of questions, Pato is deadly when he's fit and has been in the past but since the Barbara relationship, he hasn't one much for us ! As much as like him and others, we need major change ; bonera, zambotta, herpes (lol), nesta need to be shown the door and quick

Forza milan

Posted by Elvin on 01/18/2012

Yes, Pato has in fact shown a very dissappointing form this season but I don't think that's a reason to sell him. Way too much trust has been put in him, I think he just needs to get a good beating and become more focused on the game.
The other fact that striked me during the game is how MASSIVELY disorganized we were in the opposing half of the field. Inter rarely crossed the line but once they did they had some type of set out and logical plan to follow, milan relied on the individual skill and quite a bit of luck.
Seedorf was useless, he did nothing but lose the ball in his attempts to dribble.
Bonera, I don't even think we even need to include him in a "sell" list, that's a given
Overall, I think Allegri has been a dissapointment, even gasperini could have take the scudetto last year with milan - good squad/low competition (maybe thats taking it a bit too far tho)

Posted by Ben on 01/18/2012

I would like Milan to adopt a 3-1-2-3 formation whenever we face a brick wall(Inter)!
3 centre-backs (Mexes-Nesta-Silva), van Bommel to shield defence, Urby on left wing, Abate on right wing, Ibra up front supported from behind by Prince & free-roving Shaarawy.
Maybe a wide 3-1-2-3? Hitman Ibra needs the space & option to move. If he drops deep, Shaarawy can move up & slot in as a 2nd striker.
With little Robinho in middle, he could tempt some inter bricks to come out & shut him down.
Urby on the left wing can cut in from wide left to swap with Robinho. When Ibra drops deep, either one on left wing can ghost in with pace between the defence like Thierry Henry.
With fast dribblers like Urby and Robinho, we could have our Alexis Sanchez! (blitzkrieg)
We need pace on wings to get in behind the lines & stretch the Inter brickwall, and a strong hammer-striker to punch through, like Ibra or a Gignac.
We need a FAST passer in middle to ping good accurate passes & switch play well from L to R.

Posted by Ben on 01/18/2012

its time Milan showed the desire to roll up their sleeves and play fast aggressive RUTHLESS football. i'm thinking how Tottenham did us in the first leg of the Champions Lge; or even Arsenal. We lack the dynamism and the drive from midfield. plus, having a galavanting Pato is of no use either! we sorely miss the hunger, drive, HEART of Flamini, and maybe a powerhouse terrier like Essien can instil the fire in our bellies! but before we go and face arsenal again, can we please find someone who can shoot a bloody ball into a net? below the bar, preferably? and in-between the posts too. otherwise, we'd just flatter to decieve. or maybe we could tempt arsenal into deciding to characteristically "walk their ball into our net"? that might keep arsenal from being prolific in front of our goal, and perhaps paint over the cracks of a misfiring frontline.
and for that spark in midfield, how about a Luka Modric who quietly goes about his job with grace and INDUSTRY. our players have no HEART.

Posted by Paolo on 01/18/2012

Robinho should be sold. Too wasteful, never dribbles past players anymore, just into them. His passing is inaccurate and he is weak.

Pato has been a major disappointment. I don't know what's happened to him but he's just doesn't have a brain.

Boateng might thing he's a trequartista, but he isn't. He has done a great job filling in, no doubt. But his success usually comes from force, not guile. He's a potentially great driving midfielder.

El Shaarawy: he is obviously our best creative possibility. yes it is a risk but not a bigger risk than the shame and pain of watching urby play behind the strikers.

Other solution: play 4-3-3. If you don't have a trequartista you can trust, then OBVIOUSLY you don't play with one. You play the formation that suits the players at your disposal.

Milan have lost or drawn against the best teams they have faced. But somehow we are overachieving. We carry Antonini, Bonera, Zam, Robinho, Pato, Urby, and Aquilani to some extent. Too many passengers.

Posted by Paolo on 01/18/2012

Milan desperately need to replace Pirlo's creativity. We lack any kind of deep lying flair/ vision. Cassano's ability to conjur covered up a lot of problems. I'm really not sure Monty is the answer. He is too casual. Outside of Modric, there's not that much out there who offers what we need.

There is so much dead wood in the squad. Very pleased to see Merkel coming back but its still a matter of choosing athleticism over downright skill.

To think a few years ago we had players like Cafu, Kaka, Sheva, Maldini, Pirlo, Rui Costa - real champions.

Posted by Stormy on 01/18/2012

This is what I've been stressing, El-Shaarawy has so much potential but Allegri practically refuses to let him play. He was only given a cameo appearance in the derby, but played better than half the team. The derby was indeed a disappointment(Pato's missed chances in particular), but I hope we do better next time.

Posted by Pagliuca on 01/18/2012

Fra, You said everything there is to say. All you had to do was look at Allegri's formation before the game and see this was going to be a mess. The funny thing, did Inter really play that well? They played bunker style all game, really didn't show much expect on the counter. The game was lethargic for the first 20min or so then near the end we started to get serious but chances wasted and no communique between Z and P. Second half, the Clueless One got it right to make the Robinho for Luca switch. Notice change and pace on the left after that? Nocerino was industrious but your asking him to be a Seedorf. Which by the way was he not introduced earlier despite his pace we needed the creativity in MF. El Sha? Again, why not earlier? Abate's gaffer? So what where is the offense to score! This Inter squad? Looked like the Lecce game on steriods. We made a good showing near the end of the second half but wasted opportunities and Allegri's elementry blunders did us in.

Posted by Ryo on 01/18/2012

Ben- very interesting 3-1-2-3 formation, it could actually work well, though unfortunately we dont have the players to back it up for the whole season.

We lacked creativity throughout the derby, which cost us the game. Pato and Ibra proved incompatible once again. They should not take the field together anymore unless in a 3 forwards formation. Though I think Allegri cant drop Pato to the bench for political reason.

Just read that we got Mesbah and Strasser back, but Boateng is out four weeks. Mesbah transfer is logical, since we go continental last time (Taiwo) and it didnt work well, so we move to a local player. Strasser is back to cover Boateng? Hope not, we need another midfielder with creativity.

I know everyone is disappointed with the derby lost, but t is too early to call for the players head. Seedorf, Robinho, Aquliani, etc. they add depth to our squad even though I agree some should not be in our staring XI, they are very good subs to have.

Posted by Jay on 01/18/2012

I am not sure why our fans are attacking our player just because he has a social life. No one can argue that Pato is a tremedous talent, and when in form he is lethal in front of goal. The thing is that if we sold pato for tevez, we would be one player short for the CL. So starting would be ibra with robinho, and with boateng injured, we would probably have to start with seedorf. Seedorf doesnt have the speed to keep up with the pacy arsenal side.

Another thing is that if we look at the inter "fans", we see that they got behind their "prince" even when he was out of form in the beginning of the season. We has now gotten back into form, and the player and fans are happy. Like it or not, Pato is a Milan player, and if we attack him, his form will continue to deteriorate. We need to get behind our players, especially when they are feeling their worst. I'm sure he can back into form, the only issue is that we need to get behind all of our players! Not attack them!

Posted by Anonymous on 01/18/2012

One of the best you have written. Certainly Pato’s performance was poor. Robinho should have started.

The sentimental relationship between Pato and Barbara has proved to be harmful for Milan, as it is for any organization that has a non-fraternization policy. It has created a distraction.

Still in 4 weeks Milan can grow, be on the 1st spot by themselves, and impress in the UCL match. Aquilani and Boateng will be missed a lot in this matches.

Posted by Anonymous on 01/18/2012

I hope to see El Shaarawy more often. He’s very skillful. Is not about just giving him the chance- the starting forwards seem to run out of ideas. I prefer him than Tevez, who is a problematic figure.

Posted by Ben on 01/19/2012

you are absolutely right! our Milan really lacks so much in athleticism. Previously, we had the industry of Ambrosini & Gattuso, both who hungered to be champions, the water-tight Maldini-Nesta, the pacy Cafu, the magic touch of Rui Costa & Kaka, and the luck of Inzaghi. there was a good mix. but the common denominator is that these were players not only in their technical prime, but also in their PHYSICAL prime! they all had ATHLETICISM, (even Inzaghi chased down opponents!) they all had tremendous hunger - they all had pride when they pulled on the shirt. they showed what a priviledge it is to represent Milan.
today, it is such a joy to see Abate run up and down with such hunger & desire, while Nocerino chase players all over the pitch. sadly, we no longer have Athleticism in our team. Furthermore, players like Pato take their priviledge FOR GRANTED! how to support Pato when he shows no heart? its ok to lose if you tried, but Pato is too young to strut around like an enigma.

Posted by Ben on 01/19/2012

I completely understand & support your point. we DO need to get behind the team. simply, i feel all of us care about Milan, but we want that extra "encouragement" to improve our team. we DO cheer for Pato because we dearly WANT him to do well! like you said, he is a tremendous talent, right?
BUT, he hasn't accomplished much to be resting on his laurel. sure, he has so much potential, AND ability - his pace can challenge Ronaldo and Walcott! & i love that Milan finally have a pacey striker. but if Pato continues to be enigmatic, & not humble, & put in a hard shift with humility, he's gonna be lost.
i'm thinking Javier Saviola. remember him? at boca juniors? before tevez came, there was saviola. and he tanked at barcelona, b/c he thought "this is it". its not. and how about Pablo Aimar? the forgotten one really shone at Valencia, and then? both are now playing for Benfica. All 3 are similar amazing talents, but never reached their real potential. I fear for Pato. he CAN be great!

Posted by Milan9801 on 01/19/2012

Hey Matteo,
Being a die hard Milanisti, it was torturous to see Milan lose to Intergentina. That being said, I find your criticism very harsh. We haven't won against the top 4 this time around but we are becoming far more consistent in getting results against provincial sides this time around. Allegri has to shoulder a lot of blame for the derby loss but please cut him some slack. Our midfield has been decimated by injuries and of all the players on our roster, the 4 that did start the game were the only ones physically fit to start. If Seedorf (who came on as a substitute) was in any condition to start, I have no doubt he would have started in place of Urby. That would have seen KPB up as a trequartita and Seedorf playing as a deeper playmaker. I would love to see what the top 4 do against us when we have Aquilani and Flamini back from injury sometime in the near future.

Posted by Milan9801 on 01/19/2012

Addtnl Notes:
1. Allegri has to become bolder in his decision making. He takes too much time to ring in the changes.
2. I think that Pato does not play well with Ibra because he feels most comfortable as the target man himself (Remember L3-0). I think his views should be respected and he should be given a chance to prove himself in that role especially when Ibra is also firing blanks. Looking at Ibra, I feel that Ibra would like to play alongside a more mobile player like Robinho or Cassano. Therefore, our starting lineup should ideally reflect this.
3. Allegri is a great coach in the way he has phased out certain players. You only need to look at the Juve game to realize why we let Pirlo go. There will be more changes to our midfield in the summer and for the better. This is a transition period but the club are building in the right direction without losing too many games. The problem can't be solved by throwing money at it. Good things sometimes take time.

Posted by punditguy on 01/19/2012

Im too sick in my stomach to talk about the derby!!! So moving on....

We all dream of having a player like Messi or CR7 or Rooney etc...or even a younger exciting player like Neymar or Pedro. But the funny thing is.....WE DO HAVE A PLAYER OF THAT CALIBER!!! Im not talking about Pato, Im referring to El Shaarawy! That kid is a gem! Pure Class! Plays with soo much heart and have absolutely no fear! Why the hell Milan cant give him more playing time! Look at Barca wit Pedro, Bojan and Jefferson. Look at ManU with Young and so many others!

It really pisses me off that Milan dont show enough fate in these young talents! Even Merkel has tremendous potential! El Shaarawy iz truly an amazing young talent! He needs to be nurtured and the only way to do that is by giving him game time to gain experience!

I hope Sunday come they give him a starting role...he IS our future and a true Milan fan!


Posted by Pagliuca on 01/19/2012

Pato has been a great player but after countless injuries, he's not achieving that status as he was forseen to be. Again, in his first year with us he was sublime, after that he was more reserved and less explosive. Maybe fears of getting injured again would have brought that upon him, but still, he has not gained that potential where he was supposed to be at. For example,typical Pato,dribbles through,head down, 2 or 3 marking him, he wants to dribble around them can't, Ibra, Boa, or whoever etc is open, still head down he passes to the oppositition, shoots the ball way off, or gets marked out. That is what frusterating everybody. It would be different if he sees he's in trouble, passes to his open man and then gets the ball back on the run. Now we have something. Right now, I'm about dead even on him. To risky to sell and then he bloosoms or sell at the right time and he really stays the same and we made a smart move. BTW..what's the rift with Maldini and the club? I'm confused???!

Posted by Pars on 01/19/2012

Matteo (and the Rossoneri faithful),
Although it hurts me beyond belief to see my beloved team lose against a team that only showed up to defend, there are a few pointers.
1. I think Allegri deserves credit for some of his moves. I honestly think playing Pato in the derby was intentional (the same way he played Ronnie last year against Cesena - the game we shockingly lost). I think Allegri is fed up with Pato's OBVIOUS lack of interest, form and injury proneness, and needs evidence to move him on. What better evidence than the lackluster performance in the derby? Reminds me also of the treatment Raul got in his last season with Real (the infamous game against Alcorcon comes to mind).
2. Boateng should've played behind the strikers, but I feel Allegri wanted his sprints from midfield instead. Emanuelson is crap, end of story!

Posted by Pars on 01/19/2012

3. The Pharaoh has shown a lot of improvement, and I was delighted to see him start yesterday and score. I have lots of hope for him. I don't think he should've started the derby (too young to shoulder the pressure), but I have many hopes for him….he can become our Del Piero. Let Allegri slowly bring him in.
4. This is a team still in the rebuilding phase. You cannot just expect us to all of a sudden start playing like Real or Barca. The top brass have slowly shuffled things around. Along the same line, I think they will respectfully ‘retire’ Seedorf, Ambro, and van Bommel this season (I think Pippo is already ‘retired’).
5. For our team to play best (which I think could be the third best team in Europe currently) we ABSOLUTELY need our established starting 11 at our disposal. This means, Nocerino, Aqua man, Boateng, Abate, and Co. to be available and in top form. Otherwise we will struggle!

Posted by Pars on 01/19/2012

6. I don’t think too much should be read into our record against the big teams in Serie A this season. Last season, we beat almost all of them home and away, but dropped precious points against the ‘provincial teams’. At least we’re stream rolling against them now. At the end, it’s important to be first (regardless of how that happens). Inter of a couple of seasons ago did by no means win all of their games against the big teams (and it was Roma who managed to fudge it up against Sampdoria, if you recall!). Of course, it gives pride to see our team win every game, but if I were to choose between Serie A champions or champions against the Big Teams, I’d take the former every time! Plus, look at the manner in which we lost against Inter and Juve. Although we were dominated in Turin, Juve only scored after Abiati blundered horrendously. We all know what happened at the San Siro and Abate (unfortunate, but the sad truth).

Posted by Pars on 01/19/2012

Against Napoli, we had just returned from an exhausting match against Barca, with a LONG injury list.
7. I think Galliani is building a team that can genuinely contend for the CL next year. I think we’ll get Montolivo in the summer, along with another defender, and I have this feeling that we’ll go for Tevez (I could be totally wrong on the latter one).
8. You cannot compare Allegri and Carlo…the teams they had are COMPLETELY different!! Plus, Carlo didn’t fair that great in Serie A, let’s not forget (and I love Carlo). His teams had Kaka, Sheva, Seedorf, Rui Costa, Maldini, Nesta, Inzaghi, Pirlo, Gattuso, and Cafu in the PEAK(!!!!) of their legendary careers! It’s like comparing Rijkard and Pep! Makes no sense. I think Allegri just needs more time. Even Sacchi didn’t win anything for 2 years! And he had MVB, Gullit, and Frank Rijkard!!! So, let’s be sensible and patient here.

Posted by Pars on 01/19/2012

9. Finally, in the derby, if you’re so interested in (really) meaningless stats possession was 66% vs 33% in our favour, so we were the better team (again, if you’re so keen to allude to stats). But football is like that sometimes.

Posted by Matteo Bonetti on 01/19/2012


Some good commentary, however: It's obvious Allegri started Pato in the derby as a way to get him back on track even though it backfired.

Also, how is not performing against the big sides important? Considering how close the scudetto race is, dropping points against ANY of the other top 4 means losing 1/2 spots on the standings. To me, it's an alarming sign.

Rebuilding phase? Are we really in a rebuilding phase? Because up until yesterday's Coppa Italia match, I rarely saw Allegri use the "future generation" (El Shaarawy, etc) in the Serie A. Starting players like Ibrahimovic, Nesta, and countless other veterans signals otherwise. While the old cycle of the two Champions League winning sides is virtually done, a new one began two years ago.


Posted by Matteo Bonetti on 01/19/2012

Why shouldn't I compare Allegri/Ancelotti? Having grown up watching Milan, it is NORMAL to be impatient. We EXPECT the best, and are used to winning, or at the very least, competing in every major tournament. Success is a norm. Patience is not synonymous with Milanista, patience is something a Napoli/Roma fan might want to get used to, not us.

As for the derby, possession is meaningless unless you create plenty of fruitful chances, something Milan hardly did throughout the course of the match. I saw a bunch of individuals playing up front, not a team. There was something sorely missing in the core of the attack.

Also, you're being quite modest in general with the roster. We have some of the greatest players in the world. Thiago Silva perhaps being the best central defender, with the legendary Nesta next to him... Boateng, Ibrahimovic, Pato, Robinho, Cassano.. How many teams have a better squad across the board than us? 2, maybe 3? Of course I'm upset! No excuses.

Posted by Milan 1987 on 01/19/2012

Like I always maintained and will continue to do so:ALLEGRI IS RUBBISH AND WE ONLY WON THE SCUDETTO BECAUSE OF THE NEW PLAYERS THAT WERE BROUGHT IN!Emanuellson as a trequartista? Continuing to not have faith in young players!Not making subs at the right time!Being CLUELESS as to what to do when Milan are losing or drawing(ONLY versus Lecce did he know something).Milan are not going far with Allegri and the contract extension given to him just before the Derby was a HUGE mistake.

Posted by Ryo on 01/19/2012

Ashley Young, despite his name suggest, is not young. He is approaching his peak years.

Is Abate is our only successful youth product since Maldini?(Antonini is not successful in my book) I guess its a side effect of being successful we can not risk games with the youngster. Even Barca model would not have worked if they do not have the special Messi to begin with.

Hope to see Pato rested this weekend, Ibra and Robinho start, and give the paraoh 15~20 mins at the 2nd half.

Posted by Jomo on 01/19/2012

Part1. Guys, I think you are being unfair to Pato. He was not as bad as most comments here make him out to be. He was full of running and showed a lot of enthusiasm against a well-drilled defense. Of course he could have crossed better balls into the box when he had the chance, but unfortunately that's his Achilles heel for now. With the way Inter's defense played, most teams would have struggled to break them down. The problem I think was the lack of creativity in midfield. We lacked a visionary play maker like Wesley Schneider. I doubt if playing Boateng in his preferred position would would have made a difference. Pato has never been the type of player to create chances by himself, he needs good balls from midfield. Besides his clinical finishing when through on goal, the one trait that sets him apart from most strikers is his ability to convert half chances, even with his back to the goal. But for that he needs a good supply, which he didn't get in the derby.

Posted by Jomo on 01/19/2012

Part 2. There were some encouraging signs when Ibra was playing deeper (as the second striker), and Pato was in a more advanced position. I think that's the format Allegri should employ because Ibra has good creativity for which he is not given credit for. Or how about playing the young Pharaoh in the trequartista position behind Ibra and Pato?
Lastly, Pato just needs to stay injury free and he will come good again. His class is beyond dispute. Does anyone know how serious the back injury he sustained in the Novara match is?

Posted by Pars on 01/19/2012

1. I didn't mean to imply loosing against the big teams is not important (I'd take solace in the manner in which we lost) round two of those games are coming up!
2. It is a rebuilding phase. I don't think it's fair to expect Allegri to all of sudden start using all the U23s (I'm all for youth development, but it should be done properly). Allegri was very keen on his young players at Cagliari, so there is no reason to believe he won't do the same at Milan. However, it is not easy telling a number of champions you are finished and being replaced as of tomorrow. It takes time. Look at AVB at Chelsea; he has been trying to phase out Lamps and Drogba (and they haven't won half as many as trophies as our Senators). How easy do you think it'll be for Pep to tell Puyol "You're done, mate! Thanks for the years"?!

Posted by Pars on 01/19/2012

Allegri was about to drop Seedorf after his disastrous showing against Udine in San Siro last season, but wasn't able to do so! For whatever reason. Also, when a player like Rino comes out and publicly endorses Allegri, it is clear he has been successful in man-management (the very same Rino who was not a huge fan of Leo). Allegri is not stupid (he sees these legends are finished), but I don't think anyone would've phased them out more efficiently and diplomatically (something that I think the Club is very happy about). Also, which cycle started two years ago? The team that lost to United 4-0 under Leo and had no idea what was going on?
3. If Allegri is the problem, who is the alternative? Del Neri? Or, perhaps Mancini? Or should we appoint Ferrara? And, no we are not Roma or Napoli, and we should ALWAYS win, but with that token Madrid fans should start calling for Jose's head (he's clearly inferior to Barca and Pep! Again, even a great like Sacchi needed time.

Posted by Pars on 01/19/2012

4. That comparison is not fair...again Ancelotti had a bunch of WORLD CLASS players at their PEAK! And, again, he only has 1 Serie A to show for. All of a sudden Robinho and Pato are world class? Pato has world class potential, but he is not world class. Boateng is not world class (not yet). Cassano is out. And Nesta is a legend, but no longer world class. By all accounts, only Silva and Ibra are world class. If all the ones you mentioned are world class, we would have to classify Xabi, Rooney, Cesc, David Silva, Benzema, Ribery, Robben, etc as Martians...of course, that is after we classify Iniesta, Xavi, CR, and Messi as Super Humans! So, back to my original point, we have a great team (as I said earlier, when our starting 11 are on top form, we're behind only Barca and Real), but nonetheless, it is a work in progress.

Posted by Pars on 01/19/2012

5. Finally, if you recall, this very Barcelona Club did not win anything in Europe from 92-06!! And only 4 La Ligas (in a league where only another team exists!). A team, which along the way boasted having the likes of Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Kluivert, Overmars, and Figo...and yet, they are where they are today because of their patience in their philosophy! I think they may be a bit bigger than Roma and Napoli...

Posted by Roberto on 01/20/2012

Hi Matteo, Roberto here, I'm an Inter fan but regularly read your blog, I find it really informative to see what the Milanisti are thinking. Us Inter fans were totally perplexed as to why Emanuelson was playing in the hole. I mean, why not Boateng? We're not complaining of course, but it didnt make any sense. And it was clear that Pato had no stomach for this fight. Such a waste of a fine player.

Posted by BT on 01/20/2012

As a Juve fan, the result of the Milan derby was important to me. As I sat down to watch, I couldn't bear the lack of fluidity and the indifference of the AC Milan players. Thankfully, Barca were playing on another channel. Watching them is nothing like the Milan Derby.

Posted by California Milanista on 01/20/2012


Pato is hurt.

Never saw this dilemma coming. The only surprise is that his injury comes off a poor performance rather than a streak of good form.

Milan need help in midfield and obviously left back, but exchanging a true world class striker for Pato would be nice.

Posted by D. Devil's Advocate, Esq. on 01/20/2012

I've said it a hundred times, Milan has spent a fortune on players who fold like cheap lawn chairs when the game gets tight: Ibra, Robinho, now even Pato. But there always seems to be a chorus to deny what's right before their eyes. The big problem is, several of those folks are running Milan.

I'm not a big fan of Boateng, but it's undeniable: he plays every game like it's his last, no matter what position he's in. The rest of the squad is functional at best, especially since Seedorf still has great touch and vision but is worthless defensively. Who's the other creator on this team?

Oh, and thanks for putting the image of an aroused Oddo in my brain. I won't sleep for weeks.

Posted by Link on 01/20/2012

Great article. I couldn't agree more. Bonera, Antonini and Taiwo need to go, seedorf's time has gone, and if we dont bring in anyonein January El sharaawy needs a green light. Pato need to be BENCHED not sold. He is to good a talent to let go regardless of the immeadiate money we could get for him. The sale of the three defenders mention above plus seedorf would provide quite a bit of money towards a possible purchase of another forward. I personally would like to see Balotelli and De Jong arrive more so then Tevez with of of his off field problems. We should definately keep Robinho. He is a great talent much like Pato. There is no need to sell either of them.

Posted by Sintechness on 01/20/2012

And the award for more injuries than kaka's 2008/09 season goes to dun dun'pato'ra. Who again will be out on injury for a month. Just in time for carnival jogo bonito...

Posted by Stormy on 01/20/2012

@Devil's Advocate - Please don't compare Ibra to Pato. Pato has gotten maybe 3 or 4 goals this season, while Ibra is joint second in the league for most goals scored. If it wasn't for Ibra who scores/assists in almost every game, I highly doubt we'd be where we are now in the standings. As for Boateng, I do agree that he gives his all for every game. And the other creator on the team is Aquilani (He's out for a month or so with an ankle problem though).

In other news, Pato is injured again and is out for a few weeks. Surprised? And just when he started to look in form again too. At this rate, he should have been sold to PSG for a nice sum and we could've used the money to buy a more motivated player(s).

Also, I hope after watching El-Shaarawy's performance against Novara (man of the match without a doubt), Allegri decides to give him more first-team football. I also think that his partnership with Pato was shoddy at best; I feel he would be much better off paired up with Ibra.

Posted by Pagliuca on 01/20/2012

A good point made by Matteo this is Milan plain and simple. We are used to excellence not every 5 years or so but every season. Sure we had some rough times in the past but that was naturally transitional and it wasn't chronic. Milan is one or probably the biggest club in the world. However, I do see a problem with player availability and managment investing in players. I understand that times are tough and these are not the old days when Silvio took a check and said hey Baggio, Weah, etc come on on over. However, I will say this, as long as management invests in plain players(exceptions apply) we're going to get plain results. Take a risk and spend on a world beater and you'll get the result you wanted. However, it does not change that Allegri has made some incredable bludners this year. I don't expect that from a seasoned coach, also it to worries me that we lost to Inter, Napoli and Juve, that's a not good sign. Injuries galore are around, and we have a tie with Arsenal.....

Posted by Pagliuca on 01/20/2012

...a tie with Arsenal is coming up, and I don't have a good feeling with the current injury crises and potential locker room problems(Pato/Ibra). Allegri needs to get with Galliani and demand Silvio open the wallet and get real and adequate replacements and these cheap band-aids that won't hold. If Milan want excellence at the same time they need to get it. Now in the meantime, will El Sha develop as a Trequart.? Can Emanuleson be a good cover for the LB? Will Van Bommel show his good from again? You see Milan is more in a limbo rather than wait and see how El Sha will go through Sagna.

Posted by Ryo on 01/20/2012

I kinda agree with Pars, but slightly more optimstic. Ancelotti have probably the best Milan squad in the last twenty years? An in form Dida, Maldini Nesta Stam Cafu was the best back 4 at club level I have seen up until now. Even Barca's Abidal Puyol Pique D.Alves is not as good. Gattuso Pirlo Seedorf at their prime. Kaka supporting any two of three previous capocannoniere, Shevchenko Inzaghi n Crespo.

Allegri have Abbiati(solid), Silva Nesta Abate missing LB, midfield scramble of MVB Flamini Aquliani Seedorf to combine with Nocerino n Boateng. Cassano & Ibra up front is ideal. Assume the best case that Mexes can step up for Nesta n Pato to Ibra, to sum up Allegri still lacks a starting LB(Mesbah?), DM(Flamini?), CM(Aquliani?) & FW(6 months?)

Really Ancelotti squad is much much more superior. We need to buy a world class LB n two more world class midfielders (unless MVB suddenly rejuvenate, then 1) and even then we are only close to the Ancelotti squad, not equal.

Posted by D on 01/21/2012

Out 4 wks ... should have cashed in a few seasons ago (is this one of those I told u so moments?)
Robinho's value is creating space for Ibra. Would start him over B's BF every game.
Urby actually didn't play half bad, despite the perplexing decision to start him.
3-1-2-3? We really that confident to play down a man each game? (sorry Ben, couldn't resist - didn't mean to pick apart the fact you're offering some creative thoughts).
It's been said by many in this post, so just to echo ... would also give El S a lot of playing time. Will be interesting to see how Merkel is used (and how often).
For those of you hoping Montolivo is the MF answer, wouldn't hold your breath. Spend a lot of time watching ACF and he tends to fade when the game needs him.
@pundit...agree with you on the youth, but don't think it's just ACM. Serie A in general seems to have a propensity for not entrusting the younger players. Bundesliga and (ack) the PL are much better at it. Give Udine credit though

Posted by Anonymous on 01/24/2012

We have a very good team this. It's one of the best i've seen from Milan in a while. We showed is against barca who only won because of the own goal and penalty. Inter simply took advantage of their chances better than us. Pato won't be able to get back onto form until he leaves Barbara. Last season he scored 14 goals without her while playing with Ibra. El Shawarry should play alot more as weve seen what he can do when he was playing against inter. Allegri is a good coach he just made his first wrong decision since milan got back on form this season.

Posted by Milan 1963 on 01/25/2012

The loss against Inter even though always very painful may have been a blessing in disguise in the sense that it made some little grey cells move in the brain of Allegri. Thanks to this we all discovered that we have a little gem in the squad that was able to create more in 10 minutes than Pato in 80. He then scored in coppa Italia and came on as a sub to change the game against Novara last Sunday. Then I hope Allegri also noticed that Urby has fared much better as left back than as a trequartista, that should be his position. At this stage I almost hope we will not get Tevez so that we can see our little Pharaoh shine under headlights of San Siro. I believe we have more urgent needs elsewhere.

Posted by Ben on 01/25/2012

i wrote "3-1-2-3" on purpose. i realize its "9players", but the sad reason is this:
1. Pato is "untouchable" i.e. he always has to play if not injured, otherwise he screams like a girl and wails for a transfer;
2. since Pato HAS to be on field AT ALL TIMES, we actually play with a handicap, 1 man down. he just doesn't put in the hard work.

i don't care if he isn't the dribbling kind, or the flamboyant creative type! i just want to see him fight for the Milan shirt and show to us fans he belongs on the field.

i think its plain to see what Allegri is going for.

he's trying to inject youthful energy into the side. he should be commended for his bravery to field Emanuelson since its all he got, where pace is concerned. i mean surely Zambrotta cannot beat players! Allegri needs to use players in correct position.

if he had more athletic choices, Milan'll be exciting! Wenger's Arsenal has pace and youthful bravado. apart from Cesc, RVP, not all have more technical ability than Milan.

Posted by Sintechness on 01/27/2012

Its a shame that the tevez deal fell apart. The current Milan squad has so many succesful bipolar players that tevez would have fit right in. At the same time, tevez is so consistent, his form for man city and for man u was always 110%, the guy is a reved up tonka truck, he may have issues with authority but he likes to score goals and he is not injured every other monday like pato.

Posted by Milanese on 02/02/2012

Lol, one club is based out of Buenos Aires, Argentina? For how long have you been following football exactly..? Little friend, if you knew anything about italian football you would know that Inter's roots to the city of Milano is much stronger than Milan's. Inter fans have always been considered the real Milanese, while Milan was/is the club for the southerners/immigrants (there's a reason why Inter fans refer to milanisti as ebrei)

  Post your comment
Email Address:
characters left
Matteo Bonetti Born and raised just a few kilometers away from The San Siro, Matteo Bonetti has been watching the Rossoneri ever since childhood. The passion was instilled by a family whose fanaticism for the team dates back to the early 1900's. Instead of bursting with an obscenity laden tirade, or turning any object around him into a projectile weapon after a disappointing Milan outing, Matteo can now channel his emotions into a more effective, and most importantly: safe, manner - writing on a global platform. He is a young journalist whose grandfather was the Vice President of Milan nearly four decades ago. E-mail him:, and follow him on twitter: @TheMilanGuy

RSS feed

Recent Posts