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Posted by Matteo Bonetti on 02/13/2012

Perhaps a Mitsubishi Eclipse isn't so bad after all. If Milan win the scudetto, and I repeat, "if", you can look at this Milan-Udinese match as the most important turning point of the season.

• We'll go with the Eclipse

Up until the entrance of the now immortal balon d'or candidate Maxi Lopez in the second half, everything was going astray for the rossonero outfit. A slow, lumbering midfield lacking ideas, a seemingly incoherent attack, whose lack of chemistry was alarming. And finally, the venerable coach Allegri, once again with that befuddled look on the sidelines that drives us to make these following assumptions/questions: Is he even breathing? Is he in a coma? Why hasn't he blinked in 15 minutes. Does he know the game ends in five minutes and we need a new striker on?

I joked that there was a release clause in section II of Maxi Lopez's contract which forbade him from scoring goals -- boy, was I wrong. The blonde hitman partnered with Stephan El-Plucked Eyebrows to form the most atrocious hair duet in modern football. However, the two mohawks aligned to form the unlikeliest of chemical combustions, causing a seismic wave to sweep through the Northeastern corridor of Italy -- and this pairing would have their say on both Milan goals.


Attack of the mohawks ©AP

While the win kept Milan competitive for the Scudetto, there is still a dark cloud of gloom hovering over the Milanello. Perhaps one of the most frustrating, lackadaisical displays of the year was followed by 15 minutes of brilliance in the second half. However, one must worry as the match vs. Arsenal in the Champions League will take place midweek - and our injured XI is probably better than our actual team suiting up for the match.

Random Notes:

- For all the people who are noticing a slight drop off in Silva's form, here's the rebuttal: blame it on the midfield (remix by Jamie Foxx and guest host Emerson). Predictably so, Milan's midfield keeps getting overrun whenever we employ two elders who have quite honestly, wore out their welcome. For all the great service Ambrosini has clocked through the years, he's running on a reserve fuel tank, trying to maximize every last drop of gas left in the tank. To compete in the Champions League, you need a modern/athletic midfield. Nocerino & Boateng fit that mold to perfection. Versatile players who can do a little bit of everything, from tracking back and providing cover, to attacking the holes and scoring the odd goal. Add a little bit of creativity & flair in Boateng's already immense arsenal, and you have one of the most complete midfielders in the world.

- Fortunately, Kevin Prince Boateng will suit up vs. Arsenal, according to sources on La Gazzetta. Many people have been asking me about Milan's recent "crisis", and how to go about fixing it. Quite honestly, it wouldn't take much to put out a significantly better side that is more aesthetically pleasing to the wandering eye. All we really need is a free transfer over the summer (Montolivo) and a more offensive mindset (we're all looking at you, Mr. Allegri). Now, imagine this formation: Abbiati, Abate, Nesta, Silva, Mesbah, Montolivo, Nocerino, Boateng, Slapahimovic, Pato, Cassano. I've said it plenty of times, Slapahimovic plays better when he's in a slightly retracted role behind the striker. This allows him to not only unleash one of his signature belters from behind the penalty box, but it feeds his creative instinct and vision, which is incredibly underrated. His unique repertoire is better suited in this position, and he can assist teammates just as often as he scores goals.

- Am I worried about the Champions League clash against Arsenal? Absolutely, especially since Robin Van Persie is having a career year. Are we favoured? Based on current results, I'd say it's dead even. The timing couldn't be better for the London based side to face Milan: a team with an ongoing injury crisis who is forced to play former backup Catania strikers and teenagers up front. However, could this actually be a blessing in disguise? You see, Stephan El-Plucked Eyebrow & Maxi Lopez have an undying hunger, unlike Ibrahimovic and Pato. Pato, who should specialize in writing a book about the reasons not to mix work with pleasure, and Ibrahimovic, who at his age, still can't control his barbaric urge to love tap the opposing team - a move that could ultimately cost us the scudetto.

- Based on current results, Allegri should play Ibrahimovic & El Shaarawy up front. What has Robinho done to merit a spot? Just because he's older he deserves it over younger players who are contributing more to the club? Who do you think should start for Milan against Arsenal? If Mourinho was in charge, you could be sure that El Shaarawy would be starting. Then again, it's that risky roll of the dice that could turn into a move of tactical brilliance, that catches the opposing side off guard. But no, knowing our good old Allegri, he'll play the token Ibrahimovic/Robinho, slotting Emanuelson god knows where - probably in a position he's never even practiced playing before.

Forza Milan

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Comments

Posted by Chip on 02/12/2012

Brilliant article! I honestly have no idea why Ambrosini and Seedorf even see the pitch anymore. Milan already has a reputation for playing players past their prime but it doesn't mean we need to keep is up. They had buckets of class earlier, no doubt, but athleticism needs to be a focus too. Not just plodding around the midfield getting outplayed.

Posted by damian on 02/12/2012

Will be most dissapointed if I see robinho start against arsenal.
He has noyt done enough to merit it.
il faraone could be the key, wenger knows not enough about him to combat him whereas as binho you just give him an open goal & watch him mess up himself.

Posted by oni alex on 02/12/2012

Welldone.brilliant article. I really do enjoy reading your articles. Looks like I am going to start visiting your site everyday. Being a milanista myself, I am quite concerned about our game against arsenal. I just hope allegri plays the right team.

Posted by Edward on 02/12/2012

Great article as always...i still remember how Arsenal beat us up few years ago...i hope it wont happen again.

Posted by Beth on 02/12/2012

Great article, Matt. Quick question: when do we find out about ibrahimovic's red card appeal? Just thinking to the future ....

Posted by Landon on 02/12/2012

Great article!
-----El Shaarawy---Maxi Lopez--
---------Ibrahimovic-----------

---Nocerino------KP Boateng---
----------Van Bommel---------

-Mesbah--Silva--Nesta----Abate-

---------Amelia--------------

Posted by Ryo on 02/12/2012

I wonder if Maxi is match fit for 90 minutes, so this will be my starting XI:

--------Amelia----------
Abate-Silva-Mexes-Mesbah
----------MVB-----------
Nocerino------Emanuelson
--------Boateng---------
------Ibra----SES-------

Replace Mexes if Nesta is fit.

Come to think of it, Cassano's creativity is still what we need the most out of the injured players. Aquilani is another unique creative hub that we do not have a sub in. Discounting Boateng, the others injured like Pato, Abbiati, etc are not as crucial to miss in a single match, since we have quality replacement. Players like SES, Amelia, Emanuelson have step in and played quite well in the last few match.

Posted by JULIE on 02/12/2012

Rubbishinho has to go I lost count the amount of times he lost the ball and Undinese broke.

Posted by ibrahim on 02/12/2012

like ur stuff i hope mr allegri doesnt start robinho bcus he is wasteful

Posted by Emmanuel oppong agyare on 02/12/2012

I dont know why Allegri still uses uhe old plays.is time we 4get them(Ambrosini....,seedorf.....,van bomel....,nesta).they have done their best 4 the team so is time we give the young player to shine.look at the arsenal team no player is above the age of 30 that is why they are fast with the ball.

Posted by JX Tan on 02/13/2012

ROFL! Spot on! A Mitsubishi Eclipse ain't so bad after all!!

Our midfield is a disgrace for a supposed top tier side.

Posted by Wiscohammer on 02/13/2012

@Emmanuel, I am 100% with you that Ambrosini and Seedorf need to be gone. Nesta and Van Bomel I feel are a different story. A big part of it is just because of where they play. By being farther back on the field, their conditioning/age/speed is much less of a factor. Playing as deep as he does Van Bomel really just has to stay calm on the ball and help swing the field and try and stop or at least slow any break.

Nesta is in much the same spot. He can depend on excellent positioning and poise. Having guys like Silva,and Abate mean he doesn't have to chase down many plays. He can organize, and control the game without running the field.

I am not saying I want to see either of them suit up many more years, but especially considering what is on the bench Van Bomel needs to start and Nesta rotate with Mexes and Silva when he is healthy.

Posted by Debashis kundu on 02/13/2012

Brilliant and realistic article. For long time you stuck with Tevez,Tevez,Tevez(bullshit and chuckle headed Argentine).....just irritating to hear the name. I think the injuries and red card are blessing to Milan in disguise. Our formation was too predictable for the top teams and that's why we were not winning. But this new weapons (mesbah,little pharoh and maxi) can damage arsenal and juve (may be I am too ambitious). Nesta must remain for at least 2 more years and mentor silva/abate as maldini did to nesta, baresi did to maldini. Others (pippo,ambro,seedorf) show respect (respect means retirement) to the appeals of fans and club who made them famous. Can u tell me what happened to Flamini? How long will he take to recover from injury?.........Forza Milan

Posted by Paul on 02/13/2012

Our midfield is TIRED! And needs to RETIRE....Ambrosini,Slowdorf,VBM and Gattuso should GO! Jst bring in Montolivo,Oscar(forget Ganso) and Paulinho.Promote Carmona,Comi and Valoti. Our new midfield will be;Paulinho,Montolivo,Oscar,Boateng,Nocerino,Aquilani,Emmanuelson,Flamini,Merkel,Strasser,Comi,Carmona,Valoti.A STRONG,FAST,SKILLFUL AND ATHLETIC ENGINE!

Posted by kelon on 02/13/2012

brilliant article matteo
firstly congrats if ur a milan fan,theres no other,i like the formations ive seen but knowin allegri(pig headedly)he"s puttin missbinho in the startin line come wednesday (sorry).football is now dominated by good midfielders as barca shows daily an evolves the game,shitedorf,ambrosini,mvb,gattuso all must go nesta stays not only for bein a legend but also a mentor-leader,while pippo earned his stay but on the task at hand revenge is a must on the english so game time milano

Posted by Milan 1963 on 02/13/2012

Ciao Matteo,
spot on article i must say. Everybody here agrees that it is now time to lay to rest the good memories of our past heroes aka, Slowdorf, Ambrocadabra, Gattuso, Superpippo. In the meantime it is also very important to get rid of players "non da Milan" aka Bonera and Antonini and start to see the bright future with the likes of Al Sha, Maxi and Merkel and Strasser when back. Now for Arsenal I am 100% with Landon but with a twist on starting with:

------------------- Amelia------------------
-Abate-----Nesta----------Silva------Mesbah/Urby

------------------Van Bommel-----------------
------------KPB----------------Nocerino--------

------------------Al Shaarawi------------------
--------Ibra------------------Maxi-----------

Forza Milan!

Posted by Tijani Taofiki on 02/13/2012

Brilliant...I Seedorf and Ambrossini should go and rest and let us buy modern day mildfielders......

Posted by Ben on 02/13/2012

if flamini comes back, then he would do superbly against arsenal. perhaps we should play Seedorf in the deep-lying playmaker role? remember he did roll back the years against Spurs in UCL QF 2nd leg in London? i would play a 4-1-3-2. 3 midfielders to shield seedorf so he playmakes. if we have seedorf sitting back, and three ATHLETIC midfielders with one BOX-to-BOX midfielder, we can have Ibra and SES up front. our fullbacks need to be on watch at all times! have one alternating fullback support the flanks only. Give Ibra the free role, and he'd have so much space between the midfield and attack to roam, plus he'd get the support of our box-to-box midfield runner, plus ONE supporting fullback. SES is quite decent in front of goal, i think, so he'd have to start scoring in UCL now. this way, a 4-1-3-2 formation is unexpected, and a mark of strength and intent.

Abbiati
Abate, Nesta, Silva, Mesbah

Seedorf
Prince-B, Flamini, Nocerino


Ibra, SES

Posted by Johny on 02/14/2012

Love Tap. Hilarious

Posted by iwc24 on 02/14/2012

hey matteo,
i know it's still two days away but what are your predictions for the arsenal match? Also, i might be getting confused a little but didn't you say you would prefer to put boateng as a trequartista than in the mid 3 before. Personally i would put him in the mid 3 since he's more mobile and not as creative however i still think ibra is better suited to where he is right now... Anyways i think we all agree milan needs to show up for this match regardless of who we play. We haven't been past the last 16 in a while now and for a big team, that's pretty bad. Also there's that myth that ibra doesn't show up for these games and i think we all know he has the skill but just needs to keep his mind focused during the game. Finally I'm still hoping you're wrong in your prediction of t.silva going to barcelona but unfortunately i'm already starting to see the transfer rumours coming out in the press...

Posted by Matteo Bonetti on 02/14/2012

Milan 1-1 Arsenal. I'm going to be pessimistic so I can be pleasantly surprised. Granted, we have Nesta/Silva at the back so I feel better. Still convinced the only reason we lost last year is because Yepes was burnt to a charr by Lennon on that god forsaken counter attack..

Posted by Milan 1987 on 02/14/2012

Milan need to ATTACK to have any chance!I hope Allegri FINALLY plays an attacking formation like Ibra-SES-Maxi/Robinho.Milan need to get a 2 goal lead to go through.

Posted by Neeraj on 02/14/2012

Spot on.. Abt the final scoreline i'd rather go with the close 1 goal diffrnce in favour of milan may be 1-0..stop persie and play pato nd ibra.i kno they dnt gel but dunno y i have this feelin of surprise about the pair..SES behind the strikers..last but nt the least beware of the HENRY factor..feeln very excited abt the tie..forza milan

Posted by lorenzo il magnifico on 02/14/2012

I love you, but your crazy. boateng clearly plays better as a trequartista and robinho has been struggling cus he has been playing too much....also without boateng we should have a tridente with ibra in the middle el shaarawy and robinho on the sides.
also lets get rid of pato, please
pace fouri

Posted by Carter on 02/14/2012

Fantastically written article mate, kept this non milan fan very entertained and interested

Posted by Matteo Bonetti on 02/14/2012

@Lorenzo

Never suggested Robinho is better as a trequartista than Boateng. Actually, Robinho is quite awful as a trequartista, as his position at Milan seems to be just to hover around the attack, often times swapping positions.

Point is, if we want to become more offensive, Boateng has to be slotted in the middle further back, behind three strikers. He can still make his forward runs, and be creative, and defend. I see nothing wrong with this - just as long as he isn't played as a right winger, which is a disaster.

Posted by Pagliuca on 02/14/2012

I'm not positive with this match because of Allegri's bungled decisions, the on-going injuries, key players not in match form..yet. A failed winter mercato despite knowledge that we needed players in key MF spots and some in defense. It's a shame another CL year gone to waste and management is still clueless? Oh well, Forza Milan...no matter what.

Posted by Wiscohammer on 02/14/2012

@Milan 1963, Ryo I can't see Boa being fit to play a full 90. I much prefer to see him start as the trequartista, with Urby and Noce on the wings.

When needs to come out probably around the 60-70 minute mark, Allgeri can send in either Bino, or Maxi, and move the Pharaoh or even Ibra back to the trequartista spot.

They are about the only two I want to see coming off the bench in this game. We can't afford to see Ambro, Seedorf, or Bonera on the field at all.

Posted by Milan 1963 on 02/15/2012

@Wiscohammer,
Hey you are not all wrong there dude, that seems a very sensible and well balanced approach. I guess my wish was to see the Boa coming asap and having a power attack with the trio SES Ibra Maxi. I completely agree with your last sentence, but will Allegri be able to do without is favorite Seedorf?

Posted by Pagliuca on 02/15/2012

Ok, backs to the wall and against all odds. Let's do it. No matter what it's still our team. Let's give the English a fight. Forza Milan Per Sempre!!!

Posted by Wiscohammer on 02/15/2012

@Milan 1963

I would love to see what Boa, SES, Ibra, and Maxi could do with all of them on the field together I just can't picture a way to make it work, even if they are all healthy and fully fit.

None of them play very well out wide. SES does better out there than the others but I guess I still picture him better working through the middle.

I don't see Milan having the players to switch to a 4-4-2 allowing all four of the above on the field at once. The outside backs, particularly Abate, are more like wingers and push up as they should in our current system. As they push though, the center backs can't push up, and someone has to sag out of the midfield.

Posted by Wiscohammer on 02/15/2012

If they can ever get everyone healthy I would like to see Milan try at least once:

Abate----Silva---Mexez/Nesta---Mesbah
-----Van Bomel-----
Noce-----------Pato
-----Boa-----
Ibra---SES

Pato, can't stay healthy and I am about ready to see him out of Milan. He does have terrific pace though and can take players on one-v-one, which is something we are lacking in out current side. He wouldn't have to play all that physical out there, lets face it our wingers don't contribute that much on defense anyways.

While not a very Italian style of play I could see him wreaking havoc out on the left side, cutting inside and unleashing with his right. He seems to prefer being outside so why not just move him all the way out there.

If Cassano can come back healthy next year, I think I would be good with seeing both Pato and Bino out provided we get good money for them.

Speaking of the Duck, does anyone know when he will be getting out of Barbara's bed and back on the field?

Posted by Pars on 02/15/2012

Hey!!

Anyone still criticizing Allegri and Ibra??? FORZA MILAN!!!

Posted by Forza-Trequarista on 02/15/2012

FORZAAAAAA MILLAAAAAANNNNNNNN!!!!! HAHAHAHA ARSENAL WHO? VAN PERSIE WHO??
I think today we all saw something very crucial...BOATENG IS AN ANIMAL!! GOD we have missed him recently! With him in the side we have a whole new dynamic!! He combines so well with everybody on the team!! And what an absolute CRACKER of a goal!! BEAASTT!

Posted by Pars on 02/15/2012

Oh Rossoneri faithful!

There was a point in the CL (4-0 rout!!) game where I absolutely fell in love (if that's even possible) with Milan again!!!!! It was after the 4th goal and when Urby miss kicked. Allegri's reaction was that of a true CHAMPION! The guy was LIVID with Urby's effort...yelling that he should have passed it to IbraMAGIC for a possible 5th!! I have never seen that from Allegri (even after Robinho's terrible misses), and it just shows how ruthless this young manager has become. Give this team and the man some time...he will phase out Seedorf, Ambro and van Bommel. We still need our best 11 ready and healthy for the Juve game!
FORZA MILAN!!!

Posted by Debashis Kundu on 02/16/2012

Forza Milan....Forza Milan........Forza Milan....Hey Matteo, we have done it(beating Arsenal). Its majestic. Milan made every predictions wrong. I am soooooooo happy. But do not flattered with this result. We must be cautious in return leg and ensure in no way they can back.........Forza Milan

Posted by Pagliuca on 02/16/2012

Right now I'm still speechless! Is this our Milan? With all the craziness of the past month, injuries, decisions etc. I didn't expect this! Wow! This was a Milan performance. Honestly, I can't figure Allegri out for the life of me now? One day he's...well....see above...and the next this happens! Anyways, despite the performance, can we still get a creative MF. Just saying! Forza Milan Per Sempre!!! Milano Siamo Noi!!!!!!

Posted by sintechness on 02/16/2012

Your only as strong as your weakest link and Milan's weakest link is antonini. However Antonini must have drank whatever the knicks player Lin has been drinking. His form was great in the first half of the arsenal game. I saw him fighting for loose balls make some fortunate blocks, and even take a few runs into the box. I think it was his best performance of the season. But to keep things fair anto is still a clutz he did fall down and trip up more than our old striker borrielo... anyway....Isnt it great to have Prince back in the mix. It seems he performs better when everyone is watching ...

Posted by Milan 1963 on 02/16/2012

Ale ale ale ale....Milan Milan.....
4 - 0!
A pity I couldn't watch the game but what a better way to wake up in the morning with such a great news :-)

I have been waiting for this kind of performance since quite some time now and it came against an English team which is even more enjoyable.

Matteo when are you coming to Singapore, we must celebrate.

Posted by D on 02/16/2012

Good thing Allegri doesn't listen to the 'binho detractors in this blog's comments.

It's games like the Arsenal one where you wonder what happened to all those claiming PL superiority over Serie A. I'm hoping I don't have to post the statistics a third time.

Despite your club allegiance we should all be supporting Napoli and Inter through this round of the CL.

@lorenzo: am with you buddy on selling Pato. Undeniable talent, and explosive pace is a tremendous asset - only problem is he spends more time on the trainer's table than on the pitch.

Posted by Ryo on 02/16/2012

Isnt it wonderful when Robinho actually score those goals instead of missing it? Life would have been much better for him and for us if his finishing are better. Take out Robinho's both goals and we would've been 1-0 up for most of the match, get us nervous and possibly more mistaken will be made. You just know everything is going right when Robinho scores.

I am very satisfied with our performance, even more than the scoreline. MVB is commanding in midfield, along with Ibra is fresh with some much need rest thanks to suspension.

On the bad side, we really need to play Mesbah and bench Antonini, and I am not saying sell just because he is our youth product. He can stay as our 3rd choice LB if he likes.

Posted by Ulises on 03/24/2012

Glover Hi BC, posted this on the Liverpool rpeort and thought it might be ignored there.Hi BC, just lurking from Chelseablog. A very nice write up. Sacking Scolari now would be utterly senseless as any new incoming coach would have the same set of players. There are possibilities as to why RA is not funding a rebuild.a.) A possible ground announcement, rumoured for the Annual rpeort.b.) He doesn't like what he sees in Scolari and the fact that he seems unable to get the best from the current highly paid squad.c.) Scolari is already getting the Mourinho January' treatmentd.) Very few worthwhile players are available during the transfer window unless you want to be ripped off. Something I agree with Kenyon on.e.) Scolari will have made his mind up by now about who stays and who goes IN THE SUMMER and that's when the rebuild to an attacking attractive team really startsf.) RA is skintg.) Kenyon and RA are getting the books in order for a possible sale of the club.Whatever the reasons the daft mentality behind chucking huge amounts of money at very man and his dog is doomed to failure. Man City will find this out as surely as Real Madrid did during their Galactico years. We need decent young players to be bought, with hunger, during the summer and we should ship out deadwood such as Drogba (who doesnt give a shit), Malouda (the worst I've ever seen in a blue shirt), Deco (here to fund his retirement), Mineiro (what was his point exactly?) and perhaps Ferreira as well. Alex is a worthy stand in for Riccy and Ivanovic has been nothing short of superb in his appearances this season. The boy deserves his chance. get a couple of pacy wingers (Quaresma if he shows his worth could be one), a new striker (Agbonlahor perhaps) and promote some of the youngsters such as Stoch, Sinclair and Di Santo. take a leaf from Manures book who rarely buy more than 1 or 2 big players per season. Anelka is still dangerous, Belletti a good utility player, Ashley Cole may well be the best this season. JT is still a rock, Ballack and Lampard are so much better without Deco getting in the way and vastly experience. The key is the mixture of experience and youth. Fundamentally not a lot is wrong, we're just a de-tuned engine at the moment and the new mechanic hasn't learned to way to fix it. If Scolari does go then stop crying for Mourinho, it ain't gonna happen. Zola and Clarke need more time and experience together and in this league. We don't need European experience' so stop with the lists of Italians, Portuguese and Spanish .there are two very good candidates in the EPL already. Martin O' Neill and David Moyes. I quite fancy Moyes as he has the advantage of youth and seems to have the healthy disdain of authority, the hard headedness against egotistical players and the tactical nous to become our own Ferguson and build something long lasting. Scolari may well stay, although at 60 one has to wonder what his long term commitment is likely to be, mind you if he turns it around then he may have another 10 years at this level. This season is not yet a disaster and maybe if this is our weakest season before we rebuild and start to conquer again we'll all understand why this was necessary. 47

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About
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: themilanguy@gmail.com, and follow him on twitter: @TheMilanGuy

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