The halfway point of the Serie A is nearly upon us, and it's time to hand out some not-so-festive grades to our dear Milan that have taken the term atrocity to unforeseen heights.
Grades will be handed out in a typical American letter-grade system:
- A = Excellent
- B= Good
- C= Mediocre
- D= Poor
- F= Kevin Constant
Now that that's out of the way, let's move on to grading each of Milan's various departments on the field, including their coach and the tactics that have been used.
The only reason Allegri isn't failing completely is that Milan are the only Italian team still left in the Champions League, and they've actually shown a bit of competence in Europe that brings back fond memories of the old days.
Two years removed from winning the Scudetto, Massimiliano Allegri has really outdone himself domestically. After it seemed that Milan's start last season couldn't be matched in terms of poorness, Allegri decided to continue giving Milan fans stomach ulcers with performances that are anything but Milan class.
The last time the Rossoneri started like this, they were relegated to the Serie B back in the early 1980s.
Now, they sit only five points above the drop zone, having picked up 19 points in their first 17 matches of the Serie A season.
Look up Milan's squad selection this entire season, and you won't see the same starting XI twice. On top of that, the formation seems to change on a weekly basis: 4-3-3, 4-3-1-2, 4-3-2-1 and even a 3-5-2 are all tactical schemes that have been used by a coach that has no idea who his best XI are.
Interestingly enough, Milan hold the highest possession percentage in the Serie A, further showing how useless that statistic is.
The players are continually rotated around various positions, with the likes of Kevin Constant and Andrea Poli actually starting at full-back. Sure, you can pull out the injury card—but once again some of these cases are linked back to coach Allegri, who is notorious for rushing players back from injury rather quickly (see: Stephan El Shaarawy, Thiago Silva, Alexandre Pato).
It's hard to judge a unit when it changes every week, but that's exactly why it's getting such a poor grade. Between makeshift full-backs, 90 minutes of Kevin Constant and attacking midfielders playing in the defense, this unit has been the main reason why Milan are in such a dire position.
Even more incredibly, Daniele Bonera looks to be by far Milan's best central defender. This was capped off against Inter when he actually managed to pull off a sombrero with Rodrigo Palacio breathing down his neck on a counter-attack.
Milan have conceded 26 goals this season. Only four teams have a poorer record, and they're actually the bottom four teams in the Serie A table.
Nigel De Jong is the only one that truly saves himself in this group, as he has been the player of the season for Milan. Always a hard worker, De Jong has been selfless for the Rossoneri and rarely makes a mistake in possession.
Other than the Dutchman, Riccardo Montolivo has taken a nosedive compared to last season, and Sulley Muntari is still a ticking time-bomb ready to explode despite offering a few key goals throughout the campaign.
By far Milan's best unit, the attack is the saving grace of this team and should be exploited more thoroughly. Only a 4-2-3-1 formation could truly squeeze out the abundance of talent that Allegri has up front.
With the arrival of Keisuke Honda, expect Milan to hopefully adopt a much more offensive approach, as the Japanese playmaker can be slotted alongside Kaka and Stephan El Shaarawy, with Mario Balotelli spearheading the front line.
The only reason why this unit received a B- instead of a B is Alessandro Matri. Milan's most expensive summer signing has essentially been a metaphor of their season so far.
With Silvio Berlusconi saying that he is now fully focused in the team, expect a few more surprises in the January transfer window. Milan's side will be much different when they meet Atletico Madrid in the Champions League.
Adil Rami and Keisuke Honda will prove to be valuable starters for Milan, and the hulking Rami will certainly help Milan on aerial defending.