Well wasn't that enjoyable?
After weeks (and even months) of misery, Milan finally treated us to a thrilling attacking display on Saturday evening. Five goals and three points were secured against Chievo, prompting the the San Siro faithful to greet the full-time whistle with cheers and applause in place of the habitual whistles borne out of frustration. With that five-star performance and the Rossoneri hitting the refresh button, is this now the start of an improved run of results or simply a cruel and false dawn?
Despite struggling to find a balance in the early stages of the game, Milan improved as it went on, arguably playing some of their best football so far this season. Perhaps understandably caught out on several occasions in the first half as they familiarised themselves with a return to the 4-2-3-1 formation, the second half produced some great box-to-box play. It was no coincidence that the dominant win came with the re-introduction of Bojan, who aside from scoring produced his best display for the Rossoneri yet.
The diminutive Spaniard not only registered his first goal for the club with a well-taken curling strike from outside the box but was instrumental throughout. As mentioned previously, Bojan's movement drags defences out of shape and coupled with his ability to find space and run at defenders with confidence, he can become a vital part of the starting lineup. On numerous occasions he linked well with Capocannoniere contender Stephan El Shaarawy to great effect, not least for the fifth goal as they combined to set up Giampaolo Pazzini.
Perhaps the biggest test for the former Barcelona man is his ability to find consistency, the missing component that might allow him to become an integral part of this squad. His presence in Massimilano Allegri's formation undoubtedly poses a more dangerous attacking threat, but the worry remains that it leaves Milan fairly lightweight in midfield and culpable to being overrun.
El Shaarawy also continues to impress, notching his eighth goal of the season. The 20-year-old was tireless yet again but despite all the hysteria surrounding him, there is a worrying trend developing. With his goal effectively sealing the win fifteen minutes from time, why not take him off and rest him for the Champions League on Tuesday night? Evidently he might not require it right now, but eventually the rigours of a full season may catch up with him and impact his form in the latter stages of the season. It reminds me of how Allegri managed Ibrahimovic last season; the Swede seemingly played every minute when fit, so maybe the Milan braintrust believes that the youngster can handle it.
Kevin Constant also enjoyed one of his better displays, filling in at left back and "constantly" (sorry) providing an option down the left while Riccardo Montolivo, Massimo Ambrosini and Urby Emanuelson also impressed. With 'captain' Daniele Bonera set to return from suspension and face Malaga in midweek, Allegri faces a huge vote of confidence, particularly from me. If Saturday proved anything, it was that Milan are more effective without the three-man defence. Off the back of that performance, there is absolutely no reason to change it back.
Happy with the win over Chievo? Who impressed you the most, and has Allegri now found his ideal starting lineup and formation?
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Well wasn't that enjoyable?