Mar 222015

Milan Cagliari

Bonaventura was a late injury scratch that meant Poli got the start. Nigel de Jong made a welcome return in an otherwise relatively rare stable lineup. Perhaps the bigger news of the week was Curva Sud’s strongly worded letter in the wake out this terrible season. The group demanded that Berlusconi and team management be more transparent and honest. A walk out and boycott was planned that left the San Siro almost deserted.

Curva Sud called for a walkout protest leaving the San Siro almost deserted

Curva Sud called for a walkout protest leaving the San Siro almost deserted

Marco Sau had an early good chance for the visitors but it was Menez who scored first. A well taken shot curled in to the far corner beating Zeljko Brkic in the Cagliari goal. Menez’s celebration was muted and almost non existent. Zdenek Zeman back for another spell in Sardinia was often his trademark attack at all cost self.
The second half almost immediately featured a Cagliari counter, Mexes was turned around by Diego Farias and badly beaten for the tying goal. The Mexes criticism was almost immediately interrupted when the Frenchman restored Milan’s lead. He volleyed well, from a Menez corner and through a crowd. Later after Cerci and Pazzini had come on for Honda and Destro the ref whistled for a Milan penalty. The foul seemed well out of the box however. Menez converted the penalty. Cerci and Pazzini missed very late chances but the three points were already assured.
More about the match in its forum thread.

Mar 162015

Fiorentina Milan

Abate made a welcome return to the starting line up, elsewhere on the pitch van Ginkel got another opportunity in a nominal 4-3-3. The hosts’ coach Vincenzo Montella could afford to rest the well performing Chelsea loanee Mohamed Salah. Honda had Milan’s first good chance, his hard shot was stopped by Neto in the Fiorentina goal. Perhaps surprisingly Milan had the better of the ball early on including several corners. Fiorentina weren’t doing too well. Several players, including Honda, were guilty of wastefulness however. In the 30th minute van Ginkel got a deserved yellow for a poor tackle and Fiorentina’s best first chance came from the resulting free kick. Lopez did well to collect the ball. Fiorentina kept improving.
Fiorentina made two changes to start the second taking off Alberto Aquilani and Micah Richards for Milan Badelj and Joaquin. The better chances started to come for the hosts. Milan scored first however, a Bonaventura shot was almost unintentionally directed in by Destro. Menez showcased his wastefulness again in the 63rd minute and wasted a counter and Destro cross. On the other side players like Joaquin were just as wasteful. Cerci came on for Honda but the team couldn’t hang on. Gonzalo Rodriguez jumped above Abate to head for the equalizer. Worse was yet to come as a poorly marked Joaquin added another soon after. The last ditch desperation efforts were introducing Pazzini for Essien and curiously Bonera for Abate. In the end it was yet more points thrown away.
More about the game in its match thread.

Mar 072015

Milan Verona

Even taking into account the long injury list it was normal to question Pippo Inzaghi starting Mexes, Muntari and Pazzini when Bocchetti, van Ginkel and Destro were available on the bench. It was also as questionable to revert back to a formation that moved Bonaventura back to the side when he did reasonably well in a more central attacking role the weeks before.

Current Milan injury list, via Gazzetta

Current Milan injury list, via Gazzetta

The start wasn’t the poorest and Milan were easily the more dangerous. Pazzini troubled Verona at least twice early on. Verona’s best early chance came when Jacopo Sala shot low and just wide. Verona started to come on more. Soon after Muntari stuck his foot in and brought down Artur Ionita, Luca Toni converted the penalty. Two minutes later Cerci had a good shout for penalty turned down, replays showed it was 50-50 at best. Milan did continue to question the Verona defense but otherwise the quality was poor, whether it be defending or creating clear cut chances. As the first half was winding down with little to show for Menez converted a penalty after Mexes was brought down by Bosko Jankovic near the top of the box after a questionable freekick.
Early in the second a scramble in the Verona box allowed Mexes to shoot in from a close range tight angle that was almost a deflected own goal. Ball possession remained very good but creativity with it was not enough. Honda replaced Cerci in the 64th minute. A few minutes later a Verona counter ended with a Panagiotis Tachtsidis shot which beat Lopez but rebounded off the crossbar. In the 77th minute Pippo Inzaghi somewhat surprisingly took out Pazzini for Bocchetti. Adding another defender for a center forward was surely too negative a move to make and no one was 100% sure what thee formation was anyway. Menez continued to showcase his selfishness too as he hung to the ball too long. In the final minutes Verona coach Andrea Mandorlini was sent off, Destro was a late sub for Menez. Muntari almost gifted Verona a goal. Very late on Nico Lopez scored to make it 2-2, a simple case of poor team play. Also, Honda wasted a last second free kick. Two more points dropped.

More about the match in the match thread

Feb 282015

Chievo Milan
All Serie A games of this 25th match day featured a 15 minute delayed start. The players organized the delay as a form of solidarity with Parma players caught in a chaotic ownership scandal that has been threatening that team’s existence and cancelled Parma’s second game in a row (at Genoa).
Diego Lopez returned to keep the goal, Mexes was back from suspension but (thankfully) only on the bench. Bonaventura had a small knock in the warm up but made the starting lineup. First dangerous chance was created from a Milan freekick in the 16th minute, Albano Bizarri in the Chievo goal stopped the low shot and rebounds. In the 25th minute Sergio Pellissier collected a long ball beat Antonelli and almost beat the on rushing Lopez but the ball was cleared out by Bocchetti. Few half chances were wasted and a wrong offside call against Montolivo disrupted another potential attack but otherwise the first half was rather ordinary except in Milan’s superior possession.
Honda replaced Montolivo for the second, a seemingly positive move. The Japanese moved into a 4-3-3 switch, made a good start and hit the crossbar within two minutes of coming on. Pazzini replaced Destro at almost the three quarter mark. The best chance of the game came right after, good work by Bonavntura cleared Menez on goal, however the Frenchman’s cross was stopped/intercepted well by Federico Mattiello. The final sub was Cerci replacing de Jong. The Dutchman seemed to have a hamstring issue otherwise he was not the intended sub and Cerci wasn’t even sure if he would be coming on for him. Cerci ran well down the right side several times but an actual goal was never really close.
Read more about the game on the forum

Feb 222015

Milan Cesena

A 4-3-1-2 of sorts was another new formation conjured up by Pippo Inzaghi. It left no room for Cerci and featured Bonaventura behind Destro and the oft selfish with the ball Menez. Montolivo was back from injury but the defence was still suffering from unavailability of Abate, De Sciglio, Zapata, Paletta, Alex, Armero and Zaccardo! Also, Abbiati started for suspended Diego Lopez.
An early Poli goal was called off due to offside. The team seemed a bit more cohesive and the first half was better than recent games. It paid off as Bonaventura shot well into the far corner from a nice play to beat Nicola Leali in the Cesena goal. The second half wasn’t as good perhaps but little of note was created by the visitors. Late on a questionable penalty was given and sub Pazzini sealed a relatively comfortable win.
How much value there is in beating a relegation team at home? Based on the matches since the start of the 2015 calendar year any win is a good win. It is inevitable to hear Pippo and management claim a “new start” but this was only one game.

There is also some truth to the following. Inzaghi preferred three subs, including van Ginkel, over Suso.

More about the game in its match thread

Feb 152015

With the injury list still long another was added when there had to be an early sub as Alex got injured, he was replaced by Salvatore Bocchetti. There wasn’t much positive to say about the game and the team still lacked cohesion and imagination. Destro scored from a counter before the half but the lead was not really deserved. Bonaventura and Menez worked well give Milan a lead. The second was more of the same and by the quality of the football it was right to question all players and coaches. Empoli, always the more fluid team, found the almost inevitable tying goal through Massimo Maccarone. Late in the second Diego Lopez was sent off for touching the ball outside the box. Abbiati came on for Destro to finish the game. But that was not the end of it, Paletta pulled a muscle and couldn’t continue. As all three subs were already made – a bit earlier Cerci had replaced Honda – the game finished 9 vs 11.
It seems every week Pippo Inzaghi finds a positive spin and gives hope but it is becoming clear that an experienced coach needs to be found. Despite looking like a poor collection of players the position on the table is still an underachievement.
Much more about the game on the forums.

Milan Empoli

Feb 072015

Continued injuries meant a different starting line up once again, a nominal 4-3-3. However one could question Adil Rami’s absence from the starting eleven. A midfield consisting of Muntari, Essien and Poli was not exactly encouraging and Muntari with the captain’s armband was even less so, especially considering his recent exclusions. The first goal came early when Tevez beat a very high offside trap, barely, ran and shot past Diego Lopez. A second goal was not far away when a Pirlo free kick made its way deep into the box but was cleared with Lopez trapped and beaten. Pirlo’s free kicks were predictably causing trouble. The next set piece to result in a goal was Milan’s, Luca Antonelli rose above everybody and headed in from a corner. Moments later Muntari lost the ball at the edge of the box, Lopez punched the resulting shot out. From the corner Leonardo Bonucci diverted the ball in. The tie had lasted only three minutes. Late in the half Pazzini came on for Menez in what looked like a slight injury. The Frenchman walked off unassisted. Lopez continued to save the team as usual.
Pazzini had a chance and Bonaventura replaced Poli just after the hour mark but soon after Morata made it 3-1 when pretty much the whole team could have done better. Later Pippo Inzaghi used his last sub to bring in Rami for Zaccardo leaving both Essien and Muntari in and not adding a real offensive thread, like Suso perhaps. A couple of questionable Juventus plays and elbows went unnoticed and the game was predictably lost.

Lots more about the game in its match thread

Juventus Milan

Feb 022015

The team is on a defender buying frenzy. Luca Antonelli, the former Milan youth player, returns to Milan from Genoa on a loan but with obligation to buy. He has signed until 2018.
Gabriel Paletta arrives from Parma for a low fee and also signs until 2018.

Gabriel Paletta

Gabriel Paletta (pictured), 28 and Luca Antonelli, 27 both signed.

Feb 012015

With a long list of injury absentees that included Bonera, De Sciglio, Zapata, Bonaventura, El Shaarawy and the suspended Mexes the squad to face Parma included five primavera players – Gori (66), Calabria (96), De Santis (97), Felicioli (37), Di Molfetta (38). The starting lineup featured Alex with the captain’s armband, ex-Parma Zaccardo at right back and newly acquired Bocchetti at left back. Destro started up front in what was officially a 4-4-2 but was more a 4-2-3-1 with the ex-Roma player in front Menez. The first goal came when a Parma handball in the box gave Menez another goal from the spot. The defence looked poor as usual and needed Lopez more than once again. The equalizer came from yet another ongoing weakness when a freekick was not dealt with and Nocerino shot past Diego Lopez. Zaccardo was better than expected when moving forward and Destro and Alex each had a good chance before the half. Michael Essien replaced van Ginkel at the half to add some stability. Menez scored again after a good play with Poli and Cerci with the latter providing the assist. A fully stretched Antonio Mirante in the Parma goal couldn’t keep the ball out. Later Muntari replaced Destro. Zaccardo’s good play overall resulted in a goal when he half diverted, half shot Menez’s cross into the Parma goal. A relatively solid effort, especially considering the injuries and new look of the team, provided the first league win of the 2015 calendar year.

Read much more about the game on the forum

Milan Parma

Jan 312015

Updated February 4th 2015 with more details including image and video

The new AC Milan stadium

The new AC Milan stadium

Milan have unveiled plans to build a new 48000 capacity “urban” stadium in the Portello area of Milan. The hope – if all land issues are soon resolved – is to have it ready for the 2018-19 season. Arup, the firm also responsible for Munich’s Allianz Arena among others, is working with the team to make a modern stadium that fits well with its urban surroundings.

More details have been released about the stadium. It has a block look, pitch level is below ground and sound absorbing technology will be used to minimize the noise impact on the city. Environmental considerations will also be a priority with solar panels and rainwater collection a centerpoint of the design. Being inside the city it will be easily accessible via public transit. The total cost is going to be around €300 million including the commercial buildings around the stadium.

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