Monday, January 14, 2008

Milan 5 - Napoli 2

It was aired live in 2.30 AM Monday and so here I am feeling sleepy at the office today. But it was a well worthed game to watch. After long suffering home record, my AC Milan finally bring the crowd what it feels to win a home match.
Thanks to what I like to call it a promising performance as I seen better performance before. So here are what I thought about the game this morning:

Dida has been suffered for a lack of quality performance before. Based on this morning match I can not say too much about him as he was barely make any crucial saves. About those 2 goals, those are practically not his fault (more about it below...). Nevertheless I still think Dida has been over his peak performance and Milan should bring a new goalie to the team. There has been a rumour about some other Brazillian goalkeeper in Milan's list but I think we should bring home Abbiati instead. Milan has a habit of wasting promising talents so please get Abbiati back to the team.

Milan start with Nesta & Kaladze in the middle with Maldini on the left and Bonera on the right. The first 10 minutes is working well with both flank were not hesitate to support the attack. Until the first goal came up and Maldini's age can not keep up with his gameplay. Shortly it became obvious that our left back become vulnerable. I don't know why but the same thing happen on our right side. Tough it is not about the age factor but Bonera keep loosing position every time Napoli made an attack.
I noticed from Milan every time they play their game, whenever they score first usually they become careless and change the game to be a bit more defensive. And this is exactly what happened on the game, they become careless and from a quick counterattack Napoli drew the score. And again it was happened when Milan lead 2-1 and Kaladze made an unnecessary tackle wich lead to the penalty and brought Napoli back on level term.
I always think Milan's primary concern is on their defense line. Majority Milan's defender is over 30 years old. In modern football today where fast paced and cunning attacker rule the scoreboard, a fast paced and cunning defender is a must have for every team. And we don't have it on our team. The only players that imho should stay with the team are: Nesta (the most experienced and playable for 90 minutes player we have), Bonera (not as good as he was in Parma days but he can be better) and Kaladze (on and off performance but sometime he played well as left back). The other players including Maldini should stay on the bench.
So please Milan get some new (and young) defenders soon. We need left and right back player for covering our flanks and tough center defender. There are a lot of name to be mentioned here but I read that Milan's top list on the summer include Zambrotta and Sergio Ramos. Both players I think could be a useful addition the team.

Milan's midfield are Ambrosini, Pirlo, Seedorf and Kaka. Gattuso was left behind because of injury. The midfield played well generally. We know Carletto like to play with deep midfielder to control how the team play. This role we know is Pirlo's. Then usually Seedorf and Gattuso covering wider field with Kaka in front of them behind the attackers. But because there was no Gattuso, Carletto bring Ambrossini to the match. This create a little bit of change in the game.
I think Ambrossini is best played as defensive midlfielder to stop the opponents attack before it reach the defender. Usually he substituted Pirlo when Carletto want Milan to play more defensive play. But in this match Ambrossini has to play Gattuso's role wich is a more mobile roles then he usually play as defensive midfielder and Ambrossini was not doing it very well at the 1st half of the game. The first goal from Napoli was a good example of this. There should be someone stopping the counterattack at the first time. I think Pirlo thought Ambrossini will be there and vice versa. After he was replaced by Emerson in 69 minutes, Milan midfield become more stable and it contribute very well to how Milan play for the rest of the game.
For midfield players, Milan should try to invest of some younger players too. Seedorf soon will become to slow. And so far Seedorf has been a very important player for Milan. Whenever Seedorf playing well almost guaranteed that Milan will win the game. This is because Seedorf can play the role of Kaka (attacking midfield) as good as he can play the role of Pirlo (deep playmaker). So everytime Milan's opponent manage to contained Kaka or Pirlo, Seedorf is the one that can save the game for Milan.
There was a substitution on 78 minutes where Gourcuff came in to replace Ronaldo while Milan already lead the game by 5-2. Gourcuff is a promosing young talented player, but looks like he prefer to play in wider position. Beside, as long as Milan have Kaka, Pirlo, Gattuso and Seedorf, it was unlikely he will play as reguler player. So we still have to wait for him. So what Milan need is a midfield player who can distribute ball and create chances. Someone that Milan can look in to when Kaka or Pirlo play below par.

The long waited duo finally came to play: Ronaldo and Pato. Ronaldo altough I think still a little bit slow made up for it with his instinct by doing positioning very well on the game. Two goals from him showed it very well. I think we should give him a chance and at least we can squash a little bit more of him before the age factor come.
And finally Pato "the Duck". His performance on the game really remind me of Sheva. He is quick and explosive with incredible individual skill just like Sheva in his prime time. Yes he score only one goal instead of two as he promised before, but that one goal is incredible. Show how good his skill is by controlling ball like that and with a good attacker instinct manage to put the ball in to Napoli goal.
Yet I think his performance is not yet reach in the level of superb or even good performance. I would say his performance is in category of very promising. Milan should let him play regularly, let him taste what it feels like playing in Serie A. Let him feel what is like being tackled and guarded here. That way he can improve and adapt his style to the game. If things going well, I have no doubt he will be the next Sheva.
Do wee need another attacker? Not as important as we need new defender or midfield but Milan should get one more new player. Inzaghi and Ronaldo is not Milan's future. That left Gilardino and Pato (with Aubameyang in reserve). Pato definetly play, but Gilardino keep dispalying an on and off performance from the first time he joined Milan. He is a good player. I remember him from the time he played for Parma and he was superb. But he can not show the same performance with Milan, I guess his style not yet matched with how Milan play. So even there is still room for improvement for him, I think Milan should get one main attacker. What we need is an executioner and opportunistic type of player. A predator in penalty box. Much like Pipo Inzaghi and George Weah in his prime time. The rumor about Drogba in Milan's top list is really exciting. I really like Drogba style and I really believe he can be very useful for Milan.
So with Drogba and Pato up front I think Milan will have the most fearsome attacante. While Gilardino will provide the best backup for Milan to make it complete.
How about Ronaldinho? He is a great player and I like his style of play. But at the moment Milan does not need his type of play as Kaka already play the same position and roughly the same style of play. I do not mind if eventually Dinho join Milan but with that money we could bring several quality player for defense and midfield. So if Milan has money for all, then buy them all. But if doesn't, be wise and invest on the top priority first which is good defender.

Milan get lucky this morning. They face Napoli even tough they fast but they not supported by quality players. But that was enough to put 2 goals in Milan's face in San Siro. What will happen if Milan has to face the like of Inter, Roma or MU and Barca? Defense is the most crucial factor to be consider and do something about it fast. Find younger defender and also goalkeeper before terrible things happen.
Pato is definetly Milan's future. Alongside with Kaka, Milan should do anything they can do to keep both players as long as possible.

Player of the game:

Milan did very well to play as a team. I think no one is more stand out above everyone else in term of performance. Kaka playing very well to made him always dangerous with the ball, Ronaldo's 2 goals was something for player thats has not been play for sometime, and Pato performance is very promising and this 18 years old score goal and create chances in his 1st time performance with the team. From those 3 I choose Pato as player of the game, but not based on his contribution for the team's winning but for his promising performance. He successfully made a statement from that game that he will be "something" in Serie A.

*All images from