The Grind…

I know what you’re thinking – What a horrible game it was last night. Milan looked like a minor team managing to eke a victory against a top side, in one of many quirks that regularly happen over a season in Serie A. It looked like we were the ones who were looking to not lose, rather than actually going out there and establishing our dominance on a side not usually considered a power house. All of this would’ve crossed your mind, and you would’ve been right. But let’s take a different view of this, shall we?

FACT – Milan had 14 first choice players unavailable. Thiago Silva, Philippe Mexes, Luca Antonini, Ignazio Abate, Djamel Mesbah, Daniele Bonera, Alberto Aquilani, Matheu Flamini, Mark van Bommel, Massimo Ambrosini, Kevin Prince Boateng, Alex Merkel, Filippo Inzaghi and Alex Pato were in varying states of unavailability – either through injuries (the majority) or suspensions. I’ve heard the argument about how teams have players injured all the time and how it should never be an excuse. To them, I ask – have you ever had 14 first choice players out at not only the same time, but also for the majority of the year? Do you understand the impossible task that faced the team, and how well they have managed to cope with all that they’ve had to endure? DESPITE the fact that they’ve had to completely change the way they play, from patient build up and lightning counter attack to lobbing the ball up to Ibra and/or long range shots, we’re STILL second in the league by only one point, and we went as far as the quarter finals of the Champions League. I’d bet that, had we got any other opponent than the elves of UEFAlona, we’d have at least made it to the semis. It hasn’t just been our year, with terrible injuries (almost all of the long term/repeat variety), 3 games a week almost throughout, a perennially misfiring forward in Robinho (I will NEVER understand why Allegri has so much faith in him…I’d have turfed him to a Serie B club, where he could have practiced his shooting…I digress) and that stupid lout who picks out draws for the Champions League.

Anyway, the point is that after all the tribulations of this year, we’re still only a point behind. I’m praying that Lazio show the same spine that they showed against us when they visit that stupid Juventus Stadium, and come away with either the victory (I will personally raise a shrine in Lazio’s name if they do) or at least a draw. That will give us a point lead that we SHOULD be able to nurse all the way till the end of the season. I don’t know if Roma has the wherewithal to prevent Juve from scoring. I’m hoping the absence of Marchisio will hurt them, and I hope Vucinic has another of his off days, where he’s not just off, he’s TERRIBLE.

Getting back to the way Milan have been playing, and all the whining I’m hearing from the tifosi (I must admit I was one of the whiners before the following came to me), I’d like to mention a simple thing : we’re incredibly tired, and are having to play out of our skins every game. The fact that Allegri had to start Gattuso, who hasn’t played in five months and who was basically half blind not too long ago, should demonstrate how desperate out situation is. What is worse, when Gattuso had to be substituted, he had to be replaced by El Sharaawy – a defensive midfielder came off for an attacker, at the time when we were protecting a slender 1-0 lead, because we have absolutely NO ONE to replace him. It is reaching desperation at a catastrophic level. If in these terrible circumstances, we play a bit poorly, I’d sympathize, not criticize. However, none of this is an excuse for the way we gave the ball away regularly. I mean, seriously, we were absolutely disastrous in possession. We had SIX shots on goal to Chievo’s 11. SIX. It was unbelievable. The main culprits were Seedorf, Muntari (who, despite his beautiful goal, had a really terrible game), Nocerino and, of course, Robinho. That just shows lack of focus. Sure, we’re tired, but presence of mind should never be in question. Especially when such brain farts lead to shots on goal for the opposition.

A special note on Seedorf – he has consistently proven me wrong ever since I started seeing him play. He can have a terrible game, but come up with a match winning pass/strike, and he has done this more often than most people realize. He is ageless in his class and ability. Unfortunately, he is just too old now. His legs can’t carry him fast enough, he gets bundled over too easily. I hate to say it, but I think we need to let him go come season end, no matter what happens. Allegri seems to have this stupid habit of playing the same players no matter how bad things get, or how poorly the team plays. He is unbelievably bull headed. The only way to ensure he isn’t tempted to play under-performing players anymore is to get rid of them. I’m ESPECIALLY looking at you, Robinho, you useless, pointless git…

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