May 012016
 

Milan Frosinone

Week 35 was one of the lowest depths Milan have fallen. The 2-1 loss at Verona was nothing short of a humiliating embarrassment. The defeat marked by poor, indifferent play to a last placed team was even more frustrating as a last second freekick gave the hosts the win. Montolivo, the last man in the freekick wall and the team captain ofcourse, made no attempt to jump to head or divert the ball away from its trajectory towards the back of the net. The goal was somewhat reminiscent of the last second Parolo goal conceded vs Parma in the 2013/14 season. But this time the main offender wasn’t Matri but the supposed team leader.

There is now a facebook page demanding Montolivo leave Milan in the summer

There is now a facebook page demanding Montolivo leave Milan in the summer

The defeat piled pressure on the new coach as well as the team and it seems that Brocchi’s fate is already sealed. However, the bigger news that has taken the spotlight away from the non-existent on pitch performance is the growing likelihood that the team will be sold to a Chinese group. Berlusconi is under enormous pressure from his company, Fininvest, to sell. A €90 million loss for the 2015 fiscal year and a hostile annual shareholders meeting may finally push Berlusconi to let go but then again he might continue gutting the team while somehow satisfying his delusional ego and while he and Galliani continue to stick to past glories.

In the meanwhile another team near or in the relegation zone awaits. Bonaventura will miss his second game in a row due to injury but Balotelli and Alex return after serving a one game suspension. Balotelli will partner Bacca up front and Honda will play in front of Mauri, Montolivo and Kucka. Abate, Romagnoli and De Sciglio will line up alongside Alex in the four man defense.

The 4-3-1-2 formation is arguably a wrong one but any tactical analysis will not answer the deeper questions. The team will continue to fail without a plan, support, leaders and heart. This season’s final three games are near meaningless without these four elements. Follow the match on the forum and keep tabs on the sale saga too.

Apr 252016
 

Verona Milan

Milan travel to Verona to try to do better than the teams’ first meeting, a 1 -1 tie at the San Siro in December. The week 34 0-0 tie vs Carpi was another illustration of a smaller team’s ability to close down and defend, it highlighted Milan’s lack of game changers.

Bacca was highly ineffective as a receiver of the ball and as a finisher, his substitution created controversy as he showed his unhappiness and walked off the pitch. He has since apologised and his presence, however poor it has been, is required because Balotelli is suspended after the yellow he received in the Carpi game. Luiz Adriano continues to be absent and if Brocchi wants to continue his 4-3-1-2 formation Bacca and Menez are the only available forwards.

Kucka returns to midfield but Bonaventura joins Bertolacci on the sidelines. Bonaventura injured himself in the dying minutes of the Carpi game and will miss one week, if not more. Without the two and Boateng’s poor game vs Carpi the midfield is left with little more than Montolivo, Kucka, Mauri and Honda. The latter will likely take over the attacking spot behind the forwards.

The defense needs to change too because Alex’s yellow rules him out of week 35. Mexes is set to be preferred to Zapata and start alongside Romagnoli.

The match kicks off at an unusual hour, 17:00 local time, on a Monday. Follow the match on the forum.

Apr 212016
 

Milan Carpi

The Brocchi era started with a 1-0 at Sampdoria, the shape of the team was different as expected and there were good moments but it was one beginning with a view of more to come. Whether that means more of the same or a sale to a Chinese group remains to be seen.

Up next to visit the San Siro are Carpi, it was the points dropped to Carpi and other relegation battling teams earlier in the season that have played a big part in Milan being sixth in April. Inter and Fiorentina ahead of Milan in the standings are not exactly on fire and with a few extra points the team would have been fighting for the 5th or even 4th spot now.

Line up news for this match include the surprise inclusion of Boateng as he is set to start and play as a trequartista behind Balotelli and Bacca. Kucka’s yellow vs Sampdoria and Bertolacci’s poor form or injury, as it is claimed, mean that Brocchi had to make changes but using Boateng in the attacking slot and pushing Bonaventura back to midfield is surprising.

The defense should remain unchanged despite continuing whispers of De Sciglio taking Antonelli’s spot. Of course Donnarumma will start in goal. Follow the match on the forum.

Apr 172016
 

Sampdoria Milan

Following the 2-1 loss to league leaders Juventus it has been another remarkable week for Milan. After a dinner with Cristian Brocchi he was hired by Berlusconi and Mihajlovic dismissed. Milan have now hired a third rookie coach in less than three seasons.

Brocchi brings his own ideas and is known to favour more attack oriented tactics. One of the first consequences of this belief is that Bonaventura will be played on tip of a midfield diamond behind and supporting Balotelli and Bacca. This means that at least for time being Honda will find himself on the bench. How long Brocchi lasts as Milan coach and sticks to his 4-3-1-2 is open to question of course. As mentioned Balotelli will likely start and probably continue to be given a few final chances to help the team and remain beyond this season. The rest of the midfield is set to be predictable with Bertolacci, Montolivo and Kucka starting and not surprisingly there is still no room for the likes of Mauri. Locatelli however, remains a wild card and has been emerging as a potential starter in the last few weeks.

Mexes in place of Alex and De Sciglio in place of Antonelli have been mooted but Brocchi may stick to the same four as Mihajlovic did and keep Antonelli and Alex in the starting eleven.

Sampdoria will likely miss Antonio Cassano and Andrea Ranocchia is suspended after picking up a yellow in his team’s 2-0 over Udinese.

The week also brought news of an American-Chinese group trying to convince Berlusconi to sell a majority stake. Whether that happens is highly questionable but with losses mounting and team’s value falling anything can happen. Read more about the ongoing sales saga on the forum, and about the match too.

 

Apr 122016
 

Cristian Brocchi

Reports last night of a dinner with Berlusconi and primavera coach Cristian Brocchi immediately alerted everybody that a coaching change was on the way. It was confirmed by multiple sources and made official today, Brocchi will be Milan coach until the end of the season. The decision is said to have been made by Berlusconi despite Galliani’s hesitation and his preference in keeping Mihajlovic at the helm till the end of the season.

The latest winless streak and several players’ ineffectiveness seems to have convinced Berlusconi and now Brocchi will likely remain beyond the end of the season too. So another inexperienced coach has been thrown in the line of fire. This is likely not going to end well … Forza Milan.

Apr 092016
 

Milan Juventus

Week 31 proved a disaster and the 2-1 loss to Atalanta extended the winless streak. The crisis that has now followed the good period before it has pretty much killed the chance of even finishing fifth.

The coach didn’t really help his own cause by starting De Sciglio as a right winger of sorts in Honda’s absence. The talk of his dismissal as soon as next week, but probably at season’s end, intensified and there is little to indicate any replacement will be better. Apparently Berlusconi’s first choice is Cristian Brocchi, the primavera coach of course.

The defense welcomes back Alex to partner Romagnoli. Honda should be back as well, Bertolacci though is suspended after receiving a yellow at Atalanta. The latter’s absence should not be felt considering his very poor form. Montolivo is nursing an injury and was thought to be out but he should make it. Interestingly Mihajlovic has confirmed that Manuel Locatelli will start if Montolivo is not ready. It would quite a start to the 18 year old’s career if he does.

After a relatively positive 42 minutes contribution at Atalanta Balotelli has been the subject of more talk and gossip. Galliani has stated that Super Mario wants to extended his Milan stay but hasn’t done enough to deserve it. It seems that he may get his chance as a starter vs Juventus. He would be partnering Bacca of course.

Juventus come to Milan out of the Champions League but on their way to another scudetto and their early season struggles are a very distant memory. They will however be missing Paulo Dybala and his 14 Serie A goals.

Follow the match on the forum.

Apr 032016
 

Cesare Maldini
Milan legend and a big member of the Milan family passed away today at 84. He played for Milan in the 1950s and 1960s and coached the team on two occasions, the second time nearly 30 years after the first!

RIP Cesare Maldini.

5 February 1932 – 3 April 2016

Apr 032016
 

Atalanta Milan

After the traditional March international break Milan travel to Bergamo to meet Marco Borriello and Atalanta. Milan are mostly healthy with only Niang on the long term injury list, however three players will miss this match with minor knocks. Alex, Kucka and Honda are not available to start.

Honda’s absence presents a dilemma for Mihajlovic, Poli could start in his place but Gazzetta and others report that De Sciglio could be given a start in front of Abate! The rest of the midfield should be more predictable with Montolivo, Bertolacci and Bonventura playing behind Bacca and Luiz Adriano. The defence looks to feature Abate, Zapata, Romagnoli and Antonelli in front of Donnarumma.

The latter name was the subject of rumours again. The international break provided the opportunity for writers and rumour makers to speculate that Donnarumma could leave Milan as early as this summer with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United offering bids upwards of 40 million. Berlusconi has denied such rumours and all Milan fans better hope he means it more than ever.

There has also, predictably, been talk of Mihajlovic’s future. Neither Berlusconi or Galliani have been fully supportive of the coach and it is at least somewhat likely that Milan will have a new coach next season. Whether names like Sassuolo’s Eusebio Di Francesco or Azzurri’s Antonio Conte are realistic or possible remains to be seen.

Summer adventures ahead, in the meanwhile follow the match on the forum.

Mar 232016
 

Last week La Gazzetta dello Sport published an article looking forward to Milan’s 2016 summer transfer window. The paper aimed to identify and categorize players that are sure to stay, unsure and certain to leave.

Here is the list of players as categorized by the newspaper:brightfuture

Certain to stay: Abate, Antonelli, Bacca, Bonaventura, Donnarumma, Kucka, Locatelli, Montolivo, Romagnoli.

Uncertain future: Abbiati, Bertolacci, Calabria, De Sciglio, Honda, Menez, Niang, Poli, Zapata.

Set for exit: Alex, Balotelli, Boateng, Lopez, Ely, Mauri, Adriano, Mexes.

It is telling that the ‘certain to stay’ list features only 9 players. Fans should be hoping that some of the ‘set for exit’ and ‘uncertain future’ names are just loans because there is surely little point in giving up on players like Calabria, Ely and Mauri. There are plenty other questions too, for example, who is going to be next season’s second or third choice goalie if Lopez is definitely leaving?

The identity of the Milan’s 2016-17 season coach is still up in the air and based on recent results so is the likelihood of any European participation. One must presume that on a normal team a coach will have a lot to say about his players and if Mihajlovic is not returning a lot of this list is or should be pure speculation. A non interfering owner will provide the best possible for his coach and step out of the way but with Berlusconi this is of course not guaranteed.

It is already certain that Milan will suffer massive losses and a drop off in revenue is just as responsible as any over spending. Champions League action is out of reach. Any revenue provided by possible Europa League action will come nowhere near enough to cover the losses.

Bright future? Another active but anticlimactic summer more likely.

Mar 202016
 

Milan Lazio

The disappointment deepened after the 0-0 tie at Chievo. The chances of reaching fifth spot, let alone anything above were lowered as Milan and Carlos Bacca fell into a scoring slump. All of which means Sassuolo are only four points behind and have Milan looking over their shoulders as well.

Up next Alessandro Matri and Lazio visit Milan, the visitors come to Milan following a very poor Europa League exit at the hands of Sparta Prague.

Donnarumma was substituted during the Chievo match after colliding with Antonelli but should be fine and start, perhaps the bigger news out of his exit was that Abbiati came on despite Lopez being available after a long layoff. This almost certainly means Lopez is considered a third string keeper and will be sold in the summer. Other news of the week included more team sale rumours, all of which were obviously and predictably denied. There was no mention of Mr. Bee however.

On defense, Alex has a knock therefore Zapata and Romagnoli look to start. On midfield Kucka is out but Montolivo is back and it looks like he will partner Bertolacci, Honda and Bonaventura. In the striking department we might be looking at an Adriano – Bacca partnership again. An offensive spark is very much needed.

Follow the match on the forum.

 

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