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AC Milan Woes Continue as Pressure Mounts on Leonardo

Posted by David Schiavone Thursday, February 11, 2021

After a brief period of hope the lights have finally been extinguished on Sunday with the 0-0 draw with relegation threatened Bologna. The somewhat fortuitous draw had more to do with the excellent performance of Roberto Colombo in the Bologna goal; he foiled Marco Borriello, Andrea Pirlo, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and new signing Mancini. The wood work also had its part to play as Milan twice thumped the frame of the goal.

Starting the game with new signing Mancini on the right-wing and notability Daniele Bonera in centre of defence, preferred to Giuseppe Favalli. AC Milan set their stall out from the off with Andrea Pirlo dictating the play and creating the first openings. Bologna though did give the visitors a few scares as Marco Di Vaio who was thwarted by Bonera and Ignazio Abate in quick succession.

As the game wore on and Milan failed to make the breakthrough, Leonardo decided to throw on Huntelaar in an attempt to get a goal. The Dutchman did have a one-on-one chance but his shot was smothered by Colombo in the Bologna goal. Ronaldinho hit the bar after Colombo completely lost the flight of the ball from a Pirlo corner.

In the dying minutes though, Milan had a chance to snatch the points as Ambrosini rose to head a Mancini cross, only for his header to cannon back off the crossbar. Two points dropped and the Rossoneri are now a massive 10 points behind city rivals Inter who lead the way in Serie A.

The last four games have been a wake up call for Leonardo and his merry men, since the Milan Derby they have not won a match and look to be in a state of shock. Ronaldinho’s form has dipped, the goals have dried up and defensive errors are becoming more prevalent.

Alessandro Nesta’s continued absence leaves the Milan backline looking very frail. Luca Antonini has made the left back position his own, but offers no real threat going forward and even less defensive stability at the back, whereas on the other flank, Abate is clearly not a full-back, his defensive positioning leaves a lot to be desired and he seems intent on always diving in when challenging opponents. The return of Bonera is a welcome on considering the other candidates for Nesta’s spot. Kaladze and Favalli are nowhere near the desired level of ability Milan are looking for. Favalli is closer to getting and pension and a bus pass than making a decent contribution to this team, while Kaladze is more adept at conceding own goals than defending them.

Dumped out of the Coppa Italia by Udinese and all but out of the Scudetto race, the Champions League is Milan’s last remaining hope for silverware, but they would have to overcome last years beaten finalists Manchester United to navigate their way into the quarter finals. A task that seems all the more daunting given the English champions’ form and Wayne Rooney being in the form of his life.

As a consequence of the recent dip in form the future of Leonardo has once again been called into question. The Brazilian has been under constant scrutiny since taking the job at Milanello, even fighting back from the brink of losing his job. Latest reports in the peninsula are linking Rafa Benitez and Juande Ramos to the Milan hot seat, but only if Leonardo doesn’t make it into the top three in Serie A.

It seems likely Milan will finish at minimum third but that will most probably be the best they can hope for. President Silvio Berlusconi recently commented on the form his team are in, “On Sunday I go to the stadium and see people crying,” he joked. “Imagine how I feel, as not only should I cry, I also pay for this team.” Maybe an off the cuff remark but feeling in the Curva Sud is of discontent and unhappiness at lack of investment in the ever aging squad.

Old problems remain and need to be fixed… pronto.

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