Monday November 27 2017
Wk14: The Sliding Doors Scudetto

Who knows how many tiny moments will decide the title race in Serie A this season? Susy Campanale believes we saw a few in this weekend's games.

Life is just a series of moments and put together they form a narrative, but it’s the ‘Sliding Doors’ effect: what if that one tiny detail had gone differently? A Scudetto can be won and lost on whether the ball ricochets off the woodwork just the right way to bounce into the net or back out.

If Jorginho’s weak penalty hadn’t been parried back into his path to tap in the rebound, would Napoli have been able to break down Udinese? If Daniele De Rossi hadn’t experienced his now traditional rush of blood to the head by slapping Gianluca Lapadula, would Roma have been held by Genoa? If Nikola Kalinic had managed to put just one of those clear-cut chances into the back of the net, would both his and Milan’s seasons have been transformed? If Felipe Caicedo’s clumsy challenge hadn’t been viewed on the VAR, would Lazio now be title contenders?

The weeks go by and the Rossoneri keep ploughing their furrow of painful mediocrity. Perhaps the only thing more painful than watching this team play is listening to Vincenzo Montella insist in every post-match interview that they are on the right track with only bad luck preventing them from achieving their richly-deserved results. Montella seems to have come down with a dose of Giampiero Ventura-itis, constantly chopping and changing seemingly at random, refusing to use players in their proper positions for reasons known only to himself. I don’t think it’s going to get any better. The more Montella maintains this level is good, the deeper Milan will be locked in a mid-table malaise.

At least Maurizio Sarri and Eusebio Di Francesco have the decency to acknowledge when their teams aren’t playing well. Perhaps Montella and Max Allegri genuinely believe their current performances are worthy of praise, in which case the problems run deeper than first feared. Luciano Spalletti wisely clouded over the issue in Sardinia by noting their “suffering” for the victory was an added bonus, as if relying on Mauro Icardi to convert every half-chance is somehow a long-term tactic. We’ve seen it too many times to be a fluke: just as Inter seem under the cosh and ready to break, that’s when they take the lead. It’s the football equivalent of the rope-a-dope boxing technique.

De Rossi acknowledges his faults, he always has, yet seems powerless to stop that demon rearing up every now and then. He must learn that times have changed and VAR will catch you slapping your opponent in the guise of man-marking. His own attempt to cover it up as some sort of mutual collision by going down clutching his face just made matters worse. He’s the Roma captain now and at his age there is simply no excuse for this behaviour. How many times must be make the same mistakes and never learn from them?

It’s frightening to think how much of our lives, our very existences, depend on that one moment, the fraction of a second, the half an inch, that can go one way or the other. In football the Coaches always say it’s the performance they are most interested in, but everyone else looks only at the result. SPAL receive endless compliments for their style of football and attacking approach, but very few points to show for it. The same goes for Benevento, who inexplicably have zero points in the table despite playing 10 times better than Sassuolo.

Neroverdi supporters ought to be grateful to Hellas Verona for earning that 2-0 victory at the Mapei Stadium when down to 10 men. It proved that there was no future under Cristian Bucchi and the only results they had achieved up until now were largely flukes. They have no ideas going forward and are incompetent in defence, all with largely the same squad Eusebio Di Francesco worked wonders with last season. Beppe Iachini will be a breath of fresh air and it’s nice to have his endless supply of baseball caps back on the touchline.

Have your say...
@Maldini's Heir I always enjoy reading your posts because you offer thoughtful analysis on all things calcio, but I honestly think you'd be mad to even think about getting Ventura. I believe that Conte would be perfect for you guys and would at the very least get you back into the CL by the end of next season.
on the 28th November, 2017 at 4:27pm
@maldini's Heir

Bankcrupt is over the edge.

They can easily sell Bonucci and Donnarumma for 80 at least.

Not to mention Suso, Romangoli, Conti, kessie, etc

I actually and I dont believe it would happen but could you imagine for some really weird luck, faith, whatever you call it, Gattuso turns this around? I pray, and thats the truth, that he plays YOUNG AND UPCOMING PLAYERS with GRIT. Bench Montilivo, Bench Biglia, Bench Abate, PLays loca, kessie, Calabria, Suso, Jack, Silva, cotrone etc
on the 28th November, 2017 at 2:42pm
@Maldini ...did you seriously just suggest Ventura? The most hated in Italy. The laughing stock of the world.
Milan's fans would riot and our club would be ridiculed.
on the 28th November, 2017 at 3:54am
test. They need to hire a proper manager which reflects the ambition to match their summer spending spree. Otherwise they have wasted over 200m of (whoever's) money and destroyed one of the biggest clubs in the world. With a CV like that they'll no doubt find another job in no time.
on the 28th November, 2017 at 1:40am
I don't think it's an under-statement to suggest that the next manager could be the most important in Milan's history. The stakes are that high. If Milan do not qualify for Europe we could be bankrupt. Back where Berlusconi found us in 1986. Is now really the time to be taking a punt with Gattuso? I have so far not criticised Fassone and Mirabelli. They took the understandable decision to back Montella in the summer and then delivered the transfers that Montella wanted. This is their first major
on the 28th November, 2017 at 1:37am
Just how long are Milan fans and, more importantly, players supposed to put up with mediocrity and amateurism? We've not had a proper manager since 2014. In the meantime we've had hundreds of players come and go who fans and the media then criticise. If this season is a failure we will lose the likes of Donnarumma and Romagnoli. Why should they put up with any more rubbish? And that's just the players. We also have concerns about our financials.
on the 28th November, 2017 at 1:33am
Why not Simone Inzaghi? How much does he want? We can double his wages. Could Gasperini be tempted away from Atalanta? Donadoni's Bologna are one place below us in the table. And if we were truly stuck (and we need to be if we're taking a punt with a youth team coach) then why not Ventura? I know he was a failure with Italy but on an interim basis until we get Conte he could at least bring stability.
on the 28th November, 2017 at 1:28am
point in spending 200m? If Ancelotti can't be convinced there is Gus Hiddink who has come in as interim manager numerous times particularly at Chelsea. Di Matteo also came in on an interim basis at Chelsea and won the CL (like I said football is unpredictable). Mazzarri for all his faults had some success with Napoli playing with 3 at the back. Ronaldo Koeman might be more suited to Serie A than the Premier League. Then there's always the option of torpedoing the competition.
on the 28th November, 2017 at 1:25am
Football is unpredictable and a manager or player who has been a total failure at one club can suddenly find the right balance at another. However, Gattuso's management career to date has been far from impressive. In addition, there are a number of talented or experienced managers currently available. Ancelotti should obviously be the first choice. I don't care if we wants a break, we've spent over 200m on players so surely we have a few spare millions to get Ancelotti? Otherwise what was the
on the 28th November, 2017 at 1:21am
So my question was answered. Of course he needed to go. And it's a good time because next up is Benevento and the Rijeka which is a mere formality. We then have tricky but winnable fixtures against Bologna, Verona, Atalanta and Fiorentina before the delayed winter break. That gives the manager nearly 2 months to prepare for the Lazio game at the end of January. So the timing is right. The choice however.....
on the 28th November, 2017 at 1:16am
Choosing Gattuso over trying to lure a world class coach, who has actually won a coach, is just another fail. United Got Mourinho when they were only a EL qualified team. What's Milan's excuse?
on the 28th November, 2017 at 12:57am
I am no Montella fan but I just cannot see how Gatusso is a suitable choice. With all the qualified managers/coaches that are out of work why pick Gatusso? Why sack Montella now? He has been abysmal all season and ought to have gone a long time ago but they allowed the mediocrity to fester so why not carry on? Putting Gatusso in charge just sends a message that there has been no thought put into things. Brocchi and now Gatusso do these guys have no pity for their fans. I do feel for Milan fans
on the 27th November, 2017 at 10:52pm


I can make a killer pasta on mediocre ingredience. He had some great players to work with, no need to deny it. The problem is he should have stick with the set up he plays in Europe IN THE LEAGUE. He made constant changes and that was evident in the result.
on the 27th November, 2017 at 4:51pm
I echo the sentiments expressed by others on here. While sacking Montella seems a sensible decision at this point, replacing him with a relative novice in Gattuso certainly is not. It is indeed the Seedorf and Inzaghi appointments all over again. Apparently, the current management have learned nothing from the incompetence of Berlusconi's final 10 years in charge.
on the 27th November, 2017 at 4:46pm
@viktor for me milan lack the pace on wings to justify that formation plus it allows for milan to be outnumbered in the midfield. I wouldn't mind it if milan had another box to box midfield player or left sided winger which the team needs with any formation.

As for kalinic he is still the most experienced striker and he can be dependable besides it limits the pressure of cutrone and silva to develop quickly.
on the 27th November, 2017 at 3:36pm
Kalinic has no future at the club now that Montella is gone. What a waste of 20m euro.
Hugely skeptical of the Gattuso appointment. Seedorf & Pippo all over again. However, Rino is nobody's yes man, so hopefully he can instill a proper attitude and cohesion in the squad so a REAL coach can take over next summer.

on the 27th November, 2017 at 3:03pm
Poor Montella..he's given a mediocre squad and expected to perform miracles. How much of a difference can a cook make if the ingredients are poor.
on the 27th November, 2017 at 3:02pm

Carlo a Interista????

on the 27th November, 2017 at 2:08pm
@glass houses

Def dont want to see Kallinic play.

Bonnaventur on right Suso on left. Silva cutrone strikers, Kessie and Loca mid. Calabria, or rodriquez, Bonucci, romangoli, conti.
on the 27th November, 2017 at 1:16pm
Strama for Inter was very good (in my opinion) but wasn't given the right type of backing needed, so too Leonardo, and Montella and Gattuso now were/may be similarly inexperienced at getting the club around them. They need a top manager to come in, to command respect, Carlo I know you're Interista, but please go and help our cousins out AGAIN!!!
on the 27th November, 2017 at 12:57pm
Honestly sacking montella without a reasonable replacement it is just absurd does anyone really expect gattuso to be a actual improvement on montella.

I only hope gattuso is capable of sticking with a formation personally i would like to see him playing 433 with bonnaventura kalinic suso up front kessie biglia locatelli in midfield calabria romagnoli bonucci rr in defence and donnarumma in goal. Still have the europa league for the likes of cutrone silva borini calhanoglu musacchio
on the 27th November, 2017 at 12:24pm
Sakcking Montella... hmmm... replacing with Gattuso.. I'm beyond skeptical to this.

I wish someone whould have told, just like you said Maldini's heir, PLAY locatelli, Cutrone silva a head of Montilivo, Kallinic and such, I'm positive we would be in a whole different situation. And granted, we have had massive bad luck in at least 3 of our games. Those 9 points would have been worth gold at this point.
on the 27th November, 2017 at 11:27am
Serie A definitely more interesting & competitive this season.Hopefully the teams do well in Europe as well.The only sad part is my Milan.Montella has now been sacked so hopefully they improve.We play better with two strikers & with Suso on the right so I hope to see a 442(Please Gattuso) with Jack on the left.Borini&Hakan can be backup wingers.I agree with Maldini's Heir about Cutrone & Locatelli.They should start more often especially in the relatively easy run of games coming up.
on the 27th November, 2017 at 11:03am
I have given up on montella he seems completely unable to form this milan side into a team if there was some indication on a team forming than i could put up with the poor results however they haven't developed at all since the opening week of the season. Still it is completely pointless to sack montella unless there is a better alternative available. Milan really need a long term plan to improve this side and sacking the manager every couple of months will hinder any sort of long term plan.
on the 27th November, 2017 at 9:39am
Allegri is once again making controversial statement saying the things that he should have been doing prior to Crotone. I have no doubt that Juve will return to be impeded by a defensive setup that was already layout for the upcoming Napoli side. These whole forwards should sit deep to help out with the defend need to stop! We are Juventus, we inject fears! Not retaliate incoming threats! On a side note, a good win against Crotone is nothing praiseworthy, it is just a duty meant to be so.
on the 27th November, 2017 at 8:34am
For that reason alone Montella should be fired. Also why is Montolivo back in the fold when we have both Biglia and Locatelli? It's no coincidence Milan's season improved when he got injured last season. And the reason is simple; Locatelli moves the ball quicker. Just like Cutrone is more direct than Kalinic. These players are young and hungry and that's what makes them tick. And 14 rounds in we are no closer to understanding what our staring 11 is. Everyone's knows Napoli's.
on the 27th November, 2017 at 3:54am
Can we fire Montella already? We need about 10 back to back wins to have any chance of qualifying for the CL and Montella would struggle to deliver two. Sure luck plays a part but after 14 rounds the table doesn't lie. Kalinic has never been a prolific goalscorer. He's 29 and he's never had a 20+ goal season including in the Croatian and Ukrainian leagues. Come on. Montella specifically wanted him and he has been chosen in the league (our main competition BTW) ahead of Silva and Cutrone.
on the 27th November, 2017 at 3:48am

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