Why AC Milan Are Set for a Second-Half Surge in Serie A

Sumeet Paul@italiafootyContributor IJanuary 29, 2013

BERGAMO, ITALY - JANUARY 27:  Massimiliano Allegri, head coach of Milan reacts during the Serie A match between Atalanta BC and AC Milan at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia on January 27, 2013 in Bergamo, Italy.  (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)
Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

It has been a complicated season thus far for AC Milan, with the Rossoneri suffering from a desperate hangover after the departures of numerous key players last summer.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side experienced an early-season malaise as they dealt with the absence of the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva, but have seemingly found the road to recovery since.

With Champions League football for next season appearing to be merely a dream at one stage, the Rossoneri are now within six points of third-placed Lazio after a run of form which has seen them pick up seven wins and just one defeat in their last 10 games.

So what can be expected of them as we approach the business end of the season? With Stephan El Shaarawy leading them forward with 15 goals already this season, Milan will be hopeful of snatching third spot and therefore securing a place at Europe’s top table next year.

El Shaarawy has undoubtedly been the star of the show, but with the club focusing on youth and gradually bringing in others, including Mbaye Niang and Mattia De Sciglio, the future appears to be in safe hands.

A last-16 Champions League meeting with Barcelona also awaits them, but with few giving them a realistic chance of progressing, early elimination from UEFA’s showpiece competition could allow them to fully focus on domestic matters.

Rumours continue to suggest that Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli is edging closer to a move back to Italy with the Rossoneri, and Milan fans will undoubtedly be delighted with his arrival.

Despite his off-pitch misadventures, Balotelli remains a precocious talent on it, and given the right environment and backing from the coaching staff it could be a perfect move for both himself and the club as he looks to kick-start his career once more.

Having taken their time to move back up the table, Milan are now in fifth place and in the right form to put pressure on the likes of Lazio and Inter above them.

With reinforcements arriving and a friendly fixture list over the next few weeks which includes clashes with Udinese, Cagliari and Parma, they will be hoping to extend their fine start to the year into February, as they eye a top-three finish.