Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

1) They’re baaaaaack!

And probably better than ever. The Champions have had a sluggish start to the season, but the biggest shock was not the high profile losses against Napoli and Juventus themselves, but the manner in which they were utterly outplayed by both pretenders and looked completely toothless. Finally though a convincing performance in every department, epitomised by the fact that Palermo didn’t even have a shot on target in the second half; this against a team that has beaten the Rossoneri three times in the last four encounters. Now with a freakish round of scoreless draws, Milan are only two points away from Napoli, and four behind Juventus; and who would bet against them closing that down further?

2) Attack is the best form of defence

With the recuperation of Robinho, Milan’s attack looks dynamic and threatening again. The side switched the ball effortlessly from side to side and combined slick team moves with moments of individual brilliance. Antonio Cassano is finally showing some form that will give Azzurri fans across the country something to cheer as well as the partnership between Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho that was so fundamental before Christmas last season looking like it’s just going to just get better and better. And there’s still the scary prospect of Pato to come back into the fold…

3) Nocerino is not Gennaro Gattuso…

…but he’s arguably a more complete midfielder who is now one of the first names on the team sheet. With hours to spare before the transfer market closed, Adriano Galliani did what he does best and pulled of a fantastic bargain buy. Signing the defensive midfielder for just more than half a million euro’s was a steal and against Palermo it really showed. Milan completely dominated the midfield whereas Palermo looked flat lacked the fight that Nocerino would give them. The fact that he scored the first goal was not only fitting, but showed his worth as a midfielder who can defend at one end, then run beyond the forwards into the box as well. This isn’t the first time this season that Nocerino has proved his worth though, the Italian international as slotted in quietly and effectively and put in many accomplished displays including his Champions League debut for Milan, when it was his pressing in the dying seconds of the game that led to Thiago Silva’s last gasp equaliser.

4) Speaking of midfielders….

…there IS life after Andrea Pirlo after all… (as well as Gattuso, Seedorf and Ambrosini) Much of the criticism directed towards Milan ever since 2008 has been their slow midfield and predictable play. However against Palermo on Saturday night, none of Carlo Ancelotti’s midfield stalwarts were on the field and the impact of this was clear to see. Alberto Aquilani and Antonio Nocerino gave the midfield speed, dynamism and the control necessary to launch wave after wave of attacks, fully in the knowledge that Mark Van Bommel was backing them up. This was perfectly demonstrated in the first half, when both midfielders ran into the box and contributed to the first goal. The likes of Gattuso and Seedorf have been fantastic servants for Milan and still have a very important part to play in the squad with their experience and clutch ability - but the dominant display of Milan’s new midfielders shows a new era in the future.

Qasa Alom

Broadcast Journalist. Writer for Serieaweekly, subtitled online or anyone else daft enough to want me. These are my thoughts (even the clever ones)

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