The English translation of zero titoli is zero titles, the dubious distinction Milan can claim starting today. Gutted out of the Champions League by the band of magical elves, trumpeted out of the Coppa Italia by a relentless Juventus side, and falling behind in the Scudetto race for a multitude of errors, injuries, and gaffes by the venerable Allegri.
Individually however, let's give recognition to the only award that will be handed out to a rossonero this season. With 24 goals on the year, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is sure to take home the Capocannoniere title. The title honors the Italian leagues top scorer, which ironically is half the amount of this years La Liga's pichichi. Well done Zlatan.
We can play the blame game all over again, or I can go on one of my infamous pessimistic tirades that have divided many throughout the past few years. This time let's take an innovative approach and mix the two together!
There have been whispers from Milan that we could see the back of Adriano Galliani this summer after a recent fall out with President Silvio Berlusconi. It is unclear to me who should be given the brunt of the blame for the way things have unfolded. Never mind the overwhelming slew of injuries, which is sure to be a factor in the way Milan has bowed out of all three trophies, but there have been many instances where team selection has played a part in the negative results.
Take today's Milan v. Bologna game for example. Every time I criticize Allegri, the pundits are quick to point out that the majority of the blame shouldn't be directed his way. However, how can you explain playing three defensive midfielders plus Seedorf at home, against Bologna. For Christ's sake, even our opposition had three attacking players in their lineup! Was it really necessary to start an out of form V.Bommel (at fault for the Bologna goal), Muntari, and Nocerino together? Even though I am not a fan of Aquilani, he would have probably been a better fit to give the slightest semblance of creativity in a midfield that was about as rugged as Zamparini's facial skin. The lack of service to the front was noticeable like it has been all season, and repeatedly we see Ibrahimovic put on his now infamous petulant scowl for the lack of quality balls shot his way.
Ibrahimovic was frustrating throughout the game
Now that the Scudetto is all but in the hands of Juventus, it's time to look on to the summer and next season. Major changes will need to be made on a variety of fronts. It is clear the team is desperately lacking pieces in two areas primarily: left back, and creativity in the midfield. I'm not so sure Fiorentina's Riccardo Montolivo (set to sign with Milan this summer) is the answer, as he has Aquilani version 2.0 written all over his gaunt cheekbones. Although more offensive than Aquilani, the Fiorentina playmaker has been plagued with injuries and was wildly inconsistent this past season while playing for the underachieving Viola side.
Left back is another area that will need to be addressed as Allegri has very confused ideas about the position. Seems that Milan are already fed up by Djamel Mesbah, and at 30 years old, Antonini won't be getting any better. Inexplicably, the few times we've seen Emanuelson line up at left back (briefly played there today against Bologna) he has had a positive impact with his naturally left footed crosses and technical ability. Still bewilders me how he cannot get the nod from the very first minute in the position he grew up playing with Ajax and the Dutch National Team.
The referees: You didn't think I could quite possibly go this long without blaming something on the referees, right? Although it's usually a last resort in the way I perceive the game, something has to finally be said because the general perception that Milan has been gifted points couldn't be further from the truth, and quite frankly, is irritating at this point. Off the top of my head, I can count roughly 7-9 points that were unfairly taken from Milan this season, and I haven't even taken into consideration the Robinho v. Catania incident, which literally just popped into my head while writing this sentence. The three most notable incidents however:
Seedorf v Fiorentina: Seedorf was about a meter onside as he banged in a goal that would have given Milan the three points in a 0-0 deadlock. However, the linesman thought differently and raised the flag, unfairly negating Milan a win.
Muntarigate: Milan were winning 1-0 by the time Sulley Muntari scored a goal that Gigi swiped out of his own goal. The strike would have put Milan up 2-0, by no means an insurmountable lead to overcome by Juventus, but I would have liked Milan's chances a lot more to gather three points instead of the measly 1 they ended up getting from the tie.
Ibrahimovic v Bologna: Ibrahimovic was clearly onside as he made a great run past the defender and proceeded to score on a lovely chip that (according to the final) would have given Milan a 2-1 lead. However, ruled offside.
I'm going to stop before I smash something.
For a more tactical look at Milan v. Bologna, please visit here.
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