Sunday August 25 2013
New Hellas, same Milan

Verona surprised Milan on the field and off, but everything about Massimiliano Allegri’s side was utterly predictable, argues Susy Campanale.

Has Milan’s season begun? Well, let’s look down the list. Inability to defend from set pieces? Check. Christian Abbiati batting shots away with all the power of a bored kitten? Check. Conceding headers? Double Check. Terrible start under Massimiliano Allegri? Triple Check, as they’ve amassed one point from the last three campaign openers. Fans left to mutter ‘when are they going to buy a new defender, because Cristian Zapata cannot possibly be first choice?’ Check.

It’s the same old story and now becoming painfully predictable. The problems are there for all to see and still the club scrambles around for a creative midfielder or forward while the back four languishes in a state of disrepair. Massimo Ambrosini – a midfielder, at that – used to be the only Rossoneri player who could actually defend in the air and now he’s gone too. Keisuke Honda can wait until January, what this team needs is a centre-back. Make that two, because none of the available men deserve a regular starting spot. Allegri will still get blamed and fired, of course. That never changes either.

At least Hellas Verona decided to shake things up a bit with some surprises in store. Luca Toni may be 36 and attempting to grow an Andrea Pirlo-style beard, but he’s still the biggest aerial threat in Serie A. Coach Andrea Mandorlini finally won a top flight match at his third club, while Jorginho and Martinho are names to watch this season.

The biggest surprise was in the stands, as the Stadio Bentegodi crowd shook off its appalling reputation for racism with a bit of ingenuity. Arguing their monkey noises are not inherently racist, but aimed at irritating the opponent (the less said about that theory, the better) the Hellas ultras tried to discover what would most wind up Mario Balotelli. It turns out that ironic applause is more disconcerting than straight-out abuse for someone of such an impressive ego. Verona fans might’ve changed tack for the wrong reasons, but hopefully it’ll draw out the more inventive side of the Italian ultras movement. As the banner at the Bentegodi read: ‘Why Always Him?’

Have your say...
No defence + no midfield + no attack = no team.

It's just as simple as that.

The team needs back FOUR, not just central-backs. Definitely needs a hard-tackling anchor midfielder, and wingers. SES & Niang & Boateng & Emanuelson exemplify jokes not players and the list goes on. Or for God Sakes change the formation !

And Allegri just managed to make the matter worse when introducing an unknown striker when he needed support in midfield.

I hope they just get passed PSV, then out to EL.
on the 25th August, 2013 at 10:51am
And yes, the situation with the defence is an outrage. Why is the club willing to let Ogbonna go to a team that already has the strongest defence in the league (and for €15m spread over 3 seasons – Milan could have afforded that!) and at the same time believe Bonera is worth keeping on? Having said that, I'm pretty sure even he would have looked better than Zapata on the pitch yesterday. He should have been booed off the pitch.
on the 25th August, 2013 at 10:48am
2.) The clumsy desperation they showed, particularly in the closing stages, when they were throwing men forward to try and score a second – only to look like a pack of clowns stumbling and scrambling about as they tried deliver a kick on the ball that would properly connect. A thoroughly disappointing display. Max Allegri has every reason to be angry about the performance, like he says.
on the 25th August, 2013 at 10:42am
Watching that game felt like watching the England national team for two reasons. 1.) The sluggish lack of intensity both on and off the ball – Milan were too slow with their passing a lot of the time, or too clumsy when they tried to be quick, and why oh why were they content to just stand there and let the Verona players have the ball? Where was the pressing?
on the 25th August, 2013 at 10:39am

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