I miss Zlatan...

Posted by Sumeet Paul

Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Watershed signingGettyImagesZlatan Ibrahimovic: A huge loss for AC Milan

There, I said it. Despite the commendable comeback in Palermo on Tuesday night, which saw Milan secure a point after falling 2-0 behind, it is rather difficult to enjoy watching the current day Rossoneri. The corresponding fixture last season saw Milan take a three-goal lead by the half-hour mark, all three goals coming from that man Zlatan Ibrahimovic. With all the talk surrounding losing the best defender in the world, is the absence of the big Swede more damaging?

Aside from having binders full of tricks and flicks, Ibra provided that little bit of spark and magic that brought the best out of those around him, thus in turn making Milan more pleasing on the eye. The basic premise over the past couple of years had been to give the ball to Ibra and the talismanic front-man would deliver. With that no longer an option, the Rossoneri seem devoid of ideas at times, until seemingly spurred into action by falling behind.

If Milan were performing and goals were being contributed throughout the side, Ibrahimovic would probably be a distant memory by now. However, that is simply not true with the media and supporters alike attributing the downfall of the likes of Kevin-Prince Boateng and Antonio Nocerino to the absence of their former team-mate.

Ibrahimovic has begun life in Paris as he ended his time in Milan, contributing decisive goals and almost dragging Carlo Ancelotti’s side to the top of the table single-handedly. Appreciated by few and despised by many, the Swedish international was a joy to watch. Having been fortunate enough to be present at numerous football grounds across Europe over the years, watching Ibra stroll around the San Siro as if it were his playground was worth the ticket price alone.

Milan may have a new hero in the making, as Stephan El Shaarawy followed his match-winning performance against Genoa with the equaliser in Sicily. However, while he continues to improve, is this really enough from the team as a whole? Massimiliano Allegri continued with a three-man defence, which for the first time in three games appeared to be porous. Not only did it fail from a defensive perspective, it also takes something away from Milan offensively.

Undoubtedly, there was an improvement in the second half. There were glimpses of what this team is capable of, with sustained pressure as Palermo began to drop back and attempt to defend their lead. The introduction of Bojan was a key turning point, as he provided more movement and deft first touches to drag the Sicilian defence out of shape. While he may not score anywhere near enough goals, in my opinion the Spaniard plays a key role when on the field and should be given more minutes.

"Despite playing badly in the first half, the penalty could've been avoided. The lads did well after the break, and we fully deserved the draw. In fact, we could well have won it," said Allegri after the game. With Ibrahimovic still in side, he may well have got his win, and they would of looked a lot better doing it.

What did you make of Milan’s performance against Palermo? Do they miss a player of the ilk of Ibrahimovic?

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