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Pato Shines...Milan for the Scudetto?

Posted by Aymen Gheddai Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Round 26 of the Serie A saw Milan pick up a maximum 12 straight points from their past four matches. The Rossoneri comfortably defeated Atalanta with the score sheet displaying a familiar name, Alexandre Pato. Pato, 20, scored two of Milan's three goals on the day, and in doing so showed his massive importance to the team. In 25 appearances this season the young Brazilian has scored an impressive 14 times. Ever since Pato signed for Milan in 2007 expectations have been extremely high, and he has not failed to disappoint. In spite of his age, Pato performs on the same level as other seasoned veterans.

Considering he is a Brazilian it should not come as a surprise that his skill level is already where it is. After all Ronaldinho burst onto the football scene as one of Brazil's main protagonists during the 2002 World Cup victory when he was 22, Kaka played a major role in Milan's 2004 Scudetto triumph when he was also 22, and of course Pele led Brazil to World Cup glory in 1958 at the age of 17. This past Sunday's victory was bittersweet for Milan as the young star also picked up what seemed to be a serious injury. Pato, with his blistering pace, was leading a counterattack when all of a sudden he collapsed in a heap clutching at his hamstring. Marco Borriello's post match comments were an indication of Pato's importance to the Rossoneri. According to the striker when Pato hit the ground, "...the whole San Siro went silent." This sentiment was echoed by other players as well as the coach, with even Adriano Galliani stating that Berlusconi contacted him in search of an update regarding the injury. Milan's chances for success in the league this year require a fit Pato and they will be hoping he recovers quickly.

Earlier in that same match, the second minute to be exact, the Milan fans began to cheer, but nothing special was happening on the pitch. There could only be one explanation for the random jubilation of the fans...Inter were losing 1-0 to Udinese at the Friuli. The Milan tifosi knew a potential slip up by their rivals would be a valuable step toward the top of the standings. Currently Milan sit in second place, four points behind the league leaders, and now fans are wondering if they can not only catch Inter, but overtake them as well.

Can Milan actually accomplish such an objective, or is it just wishful thinking?

Milan's current league position has been reached mainly because of the massive improvement in form compared to their performances from the early part of the season. Initial predictions, which were justified, at the beginning of the season were that Milan would struggle to qualify for Europe (Europa League positions included). However, following consecutive victories against Roma and Real Madrid in October, things took a turn for the better. Since then the general demeanor around Milanello seems to be that of a team filled with pride because they have come so far from the dark early days of the season in spite of all the criticism they endured. It is this mindset that allows the coach as well as the players to approach each game in a more relaxed manner. The ease of pressure has also permitted players like Ronaldinho to blossom yet again and in turn Milan have been able to reap the rewards.

Recent wins against Bari and Fiorentina, despite Rosetti's error in Florence, showed championship winning form not seen from Milan in a long time. Milan showed grit in both matches to obtain the three points needed. The fixture list is still long, and with tricky games against Roma, Sampdoria, and Palermo away, as well as tough encounters at home against Juventus, Napoli, and Fiorentina the Diavoli have their work cut out. Meanwhile Inter have to worry about Palermo, Roma, and Fiorentina away, and they still have to host Juventus at the San Siro. Recent seasons, however, have shown that Inter rarely struggle against other Serie A opposition, and as a result Milan may be the team that finds the fixture list more worrisome.

Having taken the league matches into consideration, arguably the most important determinant as to who will win their 18th Scudetto is the Champions League. The Champions League since its inception has always been a high priority for all the top clubs in Europe. In recent seasons Milan have always made it clear that the Champions League takes precedence over the league, and in doing so, have won it twice in the past seven years. Inter, on the other hand, have not been quite as lucky in recent history. With both clubs striving for European success, there is the potential that attention may be diverted from the league. If Inter defeat Chelsea it is very likely their focus will drift to the Champions League, and as a result points could be dropped. Meanwhile Milan's match-up against Manchester United could also determine how much attention they focus toward the league. Having said that, Barcelona and Manchester United have shown in recent seasons it is possible to actually win the double. When both squads are analyzed, it is clear that Inter, rather than Milan, possess both the depth and quality to manage this feat. In spite of that, it remains a highly difficult task to accomplish, and if Milan exit the Champions League sooner than Inter, there is a high probability that they will be ready to exploit any potential slip-ups the defending champions commit.

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  1. Patrick Said:
  2. Milan may just fall short and the 2 losses to Inter may be the margin that hampers them from lifting Lo Scudetto once again. Inter can be beaten, but I still believe they are too talented at every position to gift first place.

  3. FutureEyE Said:
  4. BURRR!!


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