AC Milan vs. Parma: 5 Things We Learned

Matteo BonettiContributor IMarch 16, 2014

AC Milan vs. Parma: 5 Things We Learned

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    Luca Bruno/Associated Press

    It's safe to say that Milan have now hit rock bottom. After being relegated to 10 men early in the match, Milan failed to bounce back. Goalkeeper Christian Abbiati received a red card and forced the opening penalty.

    Milan have now lost four matches in a row in all competitions, and they are now in the second half of the table, looking at the nearly impossible task of making a push for Europe.

    Parma's 4-2 win at the San Siro means they have now gone 16 matches undefeated in Serie A, an astonishing record for Roberto Donadoni's men, who are in European contention.

    Here are five things we learned from this Italian fixture.

Clarence Seedorf Under Fire?

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    Recent reports from Corriere dello Sport (via Football Italia) suggested that Clarence Seedorf might be fired if Milan do not reach a European spot.

    Now that the manager has lost four matches in a row in all competitions and has the Rossoneri 11 points away from a place in the Europa League, it's worth wondering whether or not another coaching change could take place in the summer.

    It's hard to put the blame on the new coach, as he has barely had time to instill his ideologies, and he received a squad that was already mentally and physically burned.

Cassano Must Be Considered for World Cup

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    Antonio Cassano is in the form of his career.

    The playmaker known as Fantantonio has reached double-digit scoring in Serie A for only the second time in his career, and he is leading an overachieving Parma side that plays organized, beautiful football.

    Even though Cassano hasn't been called up by Cesare Prandelli in years for the Italian national team, it would be a shame to see a player with his skill level not get a fair chance to represent the Azzurri in the biggest tournament in world football.

    Cassano deserves a chance to make the Italian squad, and he could be an integral figure.

Balotelli Whistled Throughout

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    Luca Bruno/Associated Press

    Mario Balotelli was whistled throughout the match by fans who have grown tired of his inconsistent displays leading the line.

    Even though he hit the post in the first half, Balotelli drifted in and out of the match and was frustrated by Parma's central defenders.

    It's unfair to say that this loss is Balotelli's problem, as the team had to play with 10 men after the Abbiati red card. However, fans will be expecting a more productive output from the striker on a weekly basis.

Squad Change a Sign for the Future?

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    The biggest storyline prior to the match was the complete makeover of the starting XI.

    Seedorf opted to bench both Adel Taarabt and Keisuke Honda, who have been regular starters domestically.

    In their place, Andrea Poli and Riccardo Montolivo took on a more offensive approach, with Milan's captain playing a trequartista role similar to the one he has played in for the Italian national team.

    At the back, Philippe Mexes was a catastrophe alongside Daniele Bonera. It's unclear why Adil Rami did not start from the first minute, as he has been one of the better performers since the Seedorf era began.

Parma Can Make Noise in Europa League

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    It's been a while since we've seen Parma play in European competitions.

    Led by Cassano, this team can cause a stir next season if it is able to maintain its positioning in the table and keep hold of some of its most important players.

    For one, Parma have found a great central defensive partnership in Alessandro Lucarelli and Gabi Paletta. Paletta's performances have been enough for Prandelli to consider him as a viable starter for Italy at the World Cup.

    Their midfield is led by the box-to-box presence of Marco Parolo, while the attack is in good hands with the trident of Cassano, Amauri and the speedy Jonathan Biabiany.

    If Parma can improve their team during the summer, expect them to be a tough team to oust in the Europa League.