Monday, November 1, 2010

Milan Sputters, Arsenal Sizzles Belatedly

By Bagga Wilks

Milan got clobbered in the Championship League by Mourinho’s Real Madrid and it is clear if Allegri continues to play 4-3-3 against the top teams of the world, they will suffer a similar fate.

Against Juventus, Milan was instrumental in rejuvenating Juventus’ season. Juventus showed on Saturday, October 30, 2010, the porous nature of Milan’s mid-field and defense. In the early minutes of the contest, Milan’s offense was potent. Ibrahimovic and Pato stormed the Juventus keeper but as the game settled, Milan’s weakness in mid-field and in the last four became apparent. As a formation 4-3-3 is anachronistic and the outstanding coaches play with essentially one striker and pack the mid-field with capable defensive players.

In the absence of Ronaldinho, Pato, Robinho and Ibrahimovic can be easily defanged. Ronaldinho makes Pato, Ibrahimovic and Robinho into better players. Without Ronaldinho, the defense-splitting passes are absent. Pirlo is supposed to be a playmaker but his forte at present is the kicking of the dead ball. When the ball is alive, Pirlo is a walking mummy.

Milan acquired forwards in the off-season. Great soccer teams in this era of ball must have marauding full backs. Cole and Bosingwa add immensely to Chelsea’s attack. Maicon does the same for Inter Milan and Danny Alves for Barcelona. Sagna and Clichy provide that flying wing span for Arsenal. A. C. Milan does not have that dimension in their game. Milan is an entertaining team to watch but if they are to rise to the top in the European League or the Serie A, there needs to be greater thought given to the making of the new Milan.


Song has become the heart and soul of Arsenal’s team. The defensive mid-field player, who never stops working but fouls unnecessarily, defeated West Ham in the 87th minute with a diving header.

Fabregas was his normal classy self. What has become clear is that when Nasri and Fabregas are in the middle of the field, Arsenal’s attacking chemistry is at its best. When Theo Walcott is racing down in the right wing, it gives another dimension to Arsenal’s game. Wenger has some decisions to make when Walcott returns on a full time basis and Jack Wilshire returns from his red card suspension. There is also Diaby. What will happen to the Russian? As Bob Marley states, Arshavin might be coming in from the cold.

Despite the disparities of wealth in the English Premier League, on any given day teams at the bottom can knock out teams at the top as Wolver demonstrated that ‘true grit’ against Mancini’s Manchester City. The Chelsea juggernaut continues to roll but in recent matches the roller seems to be short on steam.

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