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Thursday November 22 2012
Frankenstein Milan

They took their fans on another emotional rollercoaster against Anderlecht, but, as Scott Fleming reflects, this cobbled together Milan side is not without a certain charm.

Ah, if only Milan had the self-confidence of Philippe Mexes. One look at the Frenchman, with his panoply of tattoos and hair like a Mad Max villain, is enough to confirm that he has not a shred of insecurity. And every now and again, those enormous reserves of self-belief seem justified. Such as the 71st minute at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium last night, when Mexes punted a staggeringly audacious overhead kick into the top corner from outside the box.

Collectively, Milan are not quite so assured of their own brilliance. Their task was simple in Belgium last night – win and they would be guaranteed a place in the Champions League last 16. And they succeeded. Eventually. There can’t have been many Rossoneri fans that didn’t feel a touch queasy at half-time however.

Their team was outplayed by Anderlecht in the first 45, grateful to Christian Abbiati for making a crucial save when Milan Jovanovic was clean through and unable to exert any measure of control, their game plan consisting of long, hopeful Riccardo Montolivo passes and not much else.

But just two minutes into the second half, Stephan El Shaarawy intervened, controlling a cross from fellow youth Mattia De Sciglio and stroking in a finish. The Little Pharaoh has now scored 12 of Milan’s 27 goals this season, and is bound to face the same accusations that predecessor Zlatan Ibrahimovic faced – namely that the team are over-reliant on him. Given that he only turned 20 last month, he should take it as a compliment.

The sending off of Anderlecht’s Bram Nuytinck and the acrobatics of Mexes seemed to wrap things up, but Tom De Sutter’s goal inflicted another 10 minutes of nail-biting on the Diavolo support. In the land of the master chocolatiers, it was left to Alexandre Pato – a man who has this season often looked like the coffee flavoured one left to moulder in the box – to seal the victory in stoppage time, taking advantage of yet more excellent work from El Shaarawy.

Once upon a time Pato was the young sharp shooter Milan turned to in their moments of need, but that role now belongs to El Shaarawy and it was hard not to detect a hint of jealousy in the Duck’s ominous post-match declarations. “Milan are doing well and Stephan El Shaarawy is doing well, but I want to play. We’ll see what to do with my agent.”

As nervy and unconvincing as they were at times in Brussels, Milan have qualified from a difficult section with a game to spare, and given all of their problems this season, it’s a laudable achievement. That said, they owe a debt of gratitude to the shocking under-performance of Zenit St Petersburg. Favourites to win Group C when the tournament began, Luciano Spalletti’s side are now not even assured of a Europa League spot.

Kevin Prince Boateng on the right wing, Kevin Constant at left-back and Bojan Krkic at centre-forward – this is a bizarre Frankenstein’s monster of a Milan side, cobbled together from mismatched parts, but not one completely devoid of quality, as their run of just one defeat in the last seven games proves.  If they can throw a little of Mexes’ healthy arrogance into the mix, this season might not be beyond salvage after all. 

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Have your say...
@Sarcasm, I can name many top sides that rely on a 20 year old.

Anyway, the style of play we have at the moment has spirit at times and calamity at others... I can imagine in equally high class leagues our style of play would have us top of the table.
on the 24th November, 2012 at 7:57pm
I'm a Huge Milan fan, and have total respect for Juve.
See, it took a couple of years for Juve to put themselves together and they're doing well this season and have a balanced team.
Now, We must not expect much from this year's Milan. As fans, we gotta keep cheer and back our favorite team. And i'm pretty sure the management knows better of us all how to deal with the players, whom to keep and whom to sell.
And I'm sure, the Beast within Milan will rise again next or a couple of years from now.
on the 24th November, 2012 at 9:44am
@Mustafa I can't wait for you to eat your words. its been awhile have seen an arrogant fan like you.keep hating on Milan to your detriment...
on the 24th November, 2012 at 9:43am
@MBM, you dare called Pato a waste of talent? This same Pato is the one you guys always look up to some years ago and even name some matches after him like Pato show. The problem is not with Pato but with Milan lab. Those guys working in that lab should be fire or else your SES will soon join my NO 1 milan player. Forza Pato!!!!
on the 24th November, 2012 at 12:18am
@Jaz

Scheva and thiago never played during same period..
on the 23rd November, 2012 at 1:57pm
@Maldini's Heir

Although Juve seems to be better & certainly have been more consistent im not underestimating Milan. They are no Pescara and in my opinion are more balanced then Chelsea this game won't be one sided it will be balanced and both teams could win. Im sure if Juve are not careful we could be in for a major surprise this Sunday!
on the 23rd November, 2012 at 12:45pm
From a 4 th gen. Juve fanatic. Juve in my blood fan. I am happy for Milan to progress. Although I will be hating on you this weekend I know unlike some Juve fan, it will be a hard fought game and especially clean game, Honest! Good luck on the rest of the way in CL
on the 23rd November, 2012 at 8:23am
Look back who Milan was and had!!!
Silva, nesta, seedorf,Pirlo,kaka, gutuso, and sheva up front
Where has the Milan of great gone to.
on the 23rd November, 2012 at 6:19am
Haters be gone. Forza Milan
on the 23rd November, 2012 at 6:01am
I think this Milan side has a lot of potential but with the current defence we have we won't get too far. Sides with better strikers will punish chances like Anderlecht were gifted.

De Sciglio needs to be a permanent fixture of this side. His forward runs and crosses bring back memories of Cafu's time at Milan.

Personally, I'm a big Pato fan but he needs to stfu and earn his spot, and if he wants to leave then hopefully we can cash in and look towards a certain SuperMario......
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 10:39pm
Juventus are going to tear us apart this weekend. I am not confident at all. It might be Allegri's last chance. As for Pato. Why did we not sell him last January. SES has more determination in his little toe than that injury prone, waste of talent
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 8:31pm
I like the way we keep the other teams on their toes by switching our centre backs around. That's the area of the team that really throws teams. Just when you are expecting to play against one average defender you are faced with another! Seriously what is going on in Allegri's head. We changed the centre back pairing again last night. We've conceded in nearly every game this season and should have conceded earlier last night. This has to end. If Allegri can't make up his mind he needs to go.
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 8:29pm
I totally agree with Dan Giambrone. Pato is useless. He has not improved as a footballer in 5 years at Milan. He has a heavy touch, his decision making is awful, he doesn't combine well with forwards and can't stay fit. He has only scored the match winning goal for Milan in a UCL game once, 3 years ago against Real Madrid! El Shaarawy is already a much, much better player.
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 6:03pm
Doesn't matter if you win by an inch or a mile... Winning's winning...
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 5:55pm
Milan is going to win it like Chelsea. You know, by immense luck, 2 penalty shoot-out etc.
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 4:07pm
@Sacrasm, um footballing lesson from Arsenal?? I belive that it was Milan who schooled Arsenal how to play football last year lol. You must be an English fan who can't stand that EPL teams are dropping while Serie A teams are going through. Sore loser lol!!!! Forza Serie A!!!
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 3:50pm
I am a massive Milan fan but sorry this is NOT a hard group. The Pharoah has been a revelant. He needs to keep KPB in midfield and stop playing him as a trequartisa.
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 3:46pm
I don't get all the love for Pato, I really don't. He is a gifted player, but he is extremely injury prone, lazy-with little determination, and he hasn't got a professional attitude; as soon as he isn't first team football, (because he has been useless of late), he is making threats to leave.

I really wish that Milan sold this liability of a player to PSG when they had the opportunity. Had they done so, they may have got Tevez, and may have been able to keep Silva.
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 3:36pm
Milan still need time to gel together, recently they play better and improving. And if they have found the right rhythm the will be dangerous considering their young and talented players. For Pato it is not easy for him to quit like that. First Milan won't let him walk put easily and second he has special relationship with Berlusconi's daughter - one reason why he wasn't sold to PSG last season. So for now Forza Milan Forza SES !
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 3:13pm
@adam

Yes zenit made it easier for us. really? You dont thinl they rather go trough themself? Considering we're prett solid in CL qualified for the 10th consecutive time in row... In CL we're pretty great. Hopefully Juve go through considering YOUR not very good ib CL.
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 3:07pm
Nice work Milan.

In a season where the billions invested in Chelsea and Man City have failed to progress to the next stage, its nice to see a team saving money with little investment going further.

Its not always pretty, there's going to be heartbreak but it's entertaining.
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 2:39pm
Please play Pato more. I could not stand to see him leave as well.
What a goal from Mexes.
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 2:33pm
What' sad is that the only reason Allegri didn't play Bonera and Ambro was becuase they're injured. They would've started for sure if they were healthy and the end result would have been different. Get rid of Allegri. He has no idea how to field a team.
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 2:23pm
Juve should make a deal with Milan for Pato, could be a win-win situation
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 2:12pm
The midfield lacks so much technical quality and confidence to play with any style. A world away from Pirlo, Seedorf and Kaka's beautiful pure football. Acerbi put in a composed, calm performance against Napoli where he kept covering for Mexes constantly diving in, and he is bottom of the pecking order behind journeymen like Yepes, Bonera and Zapata...  The author might find this Milan side "charming." For the rest of us, it's just depressing.
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 1:57pm
well done milan, now to the knock out stage, where you will face manchester united/madrid/barca and beat them all and then win the Champions League. LOL ye ryt idiots they'll get slaugtered in the next round. Just remember this is the pathetic team that lost to Tottenham, got thrashed by Man u and taught a footballing lesson by Arsenal.

Milan are garbage, when a 20 year old is your saviour, then you know u have it bad
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 1:51pm
As much as happy as I am the defence is worrying me, why can't we try one line of defence for 2 consecutive game I like the pairing of De Scilgio Mexes Acerbi and Constant. With January just around the corner we need to rid some players and get Nesta for 3 months period to coach Acerbi get Felipe Anderson in exchange for Robinho plus € and get Cigarini, to get rid the list goes as follow Mesbah Flamini Didac Vila Traore Straser and Gabriel in exchange for Perin.

Forza Milan
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 1:50pm
Do not get over-excited. Milan need work !

I'm glad they qualified, but I hope Juve don't humiliate them in San Siro.
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 1:31pm
Bravo Milan on getting through, thankfulyl Zenit and the in fighting made it easier for you, but you have done well considering you are not very good, Good to see another Italian team through, Milan another sleeping giant I hope next season they can get back to being the Milan people are scared of.
on the 22nd November, 2012 at 1:21pm

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