Why AC Milan's 5-1 Loss Is No Indication of What the Season Will Bring
It was domination by the Galacticos and it has sent Milan fans into a frenzy, as they are already saying that the season is lost and that Milan will be lucky to get into the Europa League in 2013.
A lot of people are irritated with Milan and are in panic mode, but there is absolutely no reason to be. That match was not indicative of the club's season to come. Here are just a few reasons why there is no reason to panic.
Nine Substitutions After Halftime
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Both sides put out strong squads in the first half. While Real Madrid controlled possession, Milan looked willing to let them do so and break out on the counter when possible. This worked for Milan, who went in to the break with the score tied 1-1.
Things changed right at halftime when Milan took out Ignazio Abate, Luca Antonini, Francesco Acerbi and Christian Abbiati and replaced them with Mattia De Sciglio, Djamel Mesbah, Mario Yepes and Marco Amelia.
This is a large step down (although De Sciglio is one of the top up-and-coming players in Italy) and Real took advantage. Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka picked the back line apart after the substitutions.
While Madrid waited until they had a large lead to start putting in young and reserve players, Milan made its nine substitutions before and during Madrid's assault.
If Milan had subbed with Madrid and not before it may have been a different game.
Montolivo Wasn't in the Game
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Riccardo Montolivo missed the match due to injury and his absence was noticeable.
Like he did for Italy at Euro 2012, Montolivo has been a great playmaker out of a holding midfielder role for Milan in the preseason. He has been creating a lot of chances and easily moving the ball from the defensive third in to the attacking third.
A lot of the play this preseason has gone through Montolivo and Milan didn't have anyone to fill that void on Wednesday.
With Montolivo in there, Milan are going to have a lot more possession and opportunity, but it seems obvious that they need to find another holding midfielder who can be in there if Montolivo is out.
Several Absent Players
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Alexandre Pato is at the Olympics, Philippe Mexes is in Italy celebrating the birth of his new child and Christian Zapata signed only Wednesday morning.
Add the absence of Montolivo and there are four players who will likely play large roles for Milan this season that did not play in the game. All four of them could have made positive impacts, and in the case of Mexes and Zapata, Milan would have had more depth in the back.
Real Madrid were without Marcelo, but that's it. Milan were without four players that could have made a difference.
There Are Still Three Weeks to Go in the Transfer Window
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Around this time in 2010, many Milan fans were saying the same things they're saying now. "The season is lost. We're doomed."
On August 17th that year, Milan acquired Kevin-Prince Boateng. Eleven days later, they got Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Three days after that they got Robinho. These moves came late and they helped propel Milan to the Scudetto.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is only August 10th. There are 21 days until the transfer window closes.
Milan have plenty of time and a decent amount of money to make additions to the team.
Kaka still seems to be the most desired target, as Milan can put him in a deep-lying position and move Montolivo out wider in the midfield. Football-Italia reports that the Brazilian has dropped his wage demands and would take a significant cut to make a return to the Rossoneri possible, but Real Madrid still expect a large fee.
Giuseppe Rossi is another player that could join the fold. The New Jersey-born Italian international was in attendance on Wednesday and visited the Milan dressing room with Kaka after the match.
Several other players have been linked with Milan throughout the summer and with three weeks left, there is still time.
It's the Preseason
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A baseball stadium in New York City was turned into a football ground for one night in an effort to entertain American fans of the sport.
The Madridista-dominated crowd was there for a show, not a match where a result could be the difference between a trophy and failure.
It was a friendly, and that was exactly the attitude Milan had going in. The nine substitutions and willingness to sit back are indicative of that.
The result could have been a lot better, but it is no reason to jump off a cliff.
In July 2010, Milan lost to Varese, a club that had just been promoted to Serie B. The 2-0 loss was a miserable performance and the fans were in an uproar much like they are now.
What did AC Milan do that season? They won the Scudetto.