The El Shaarawy Show -- Episode 12

Posted by Sumeet Paul

AP Photo/Carmelo ImbesiMilan's Stephan El Shaarawy celebrates one of his two goals in the Rossoneri's 3-1 win over Catania on Friday night.

For those of you of a Twitter persuasion, you will be aware of the official AC Milan account coining the phrase '#holdtogether', as the club battles to come through troubled times. Having endured a bitterly disappointing start to the season, where talk revolved around managerial changes and uninspired players, it appears that while their critics mercilessly circled them, the Rossoneri held together throughout.

Victory in Catania made it three consecutive wins in all competitions, as Milan move up to seventh in the table, albeit temporarily having played a game more than their rivals. Stephan El Shaarawy grabbed his 11th and 12th goals of the season in Sicily, but credit must also be given to Massimiliano Allegri who undoubtedly roused his troops from their slumber at halftime.

A dismal first half was compounded by the opening goal of the game, Catania's Nicola Legrottaglie heading home as Milan, yet again, failed to deal with a set-piece. However, while they were perhaps guilty of retreating into a frustrating mess in past months, the newfound belief instilled in the Rossoneri ensured they battled back to secure victory.

El Shaarawy found the equalizer, though in controversial circumstances having clearly been offside. That was followed by Kevin-Prince Boateng who fired home brilliantly from long-range before Milan's rising star wrapped up proceedings with a sublime curling shot.

"I hope we can continue this for as long as possible. We haven't got any targets for the campaign, we just want to move as high up the table as possible," the 20-year-old told Sky Sport Italia after the game.

Milan are in the midst of a vital period of the season, with just three league games remaining before the shortened winter break. As noted by their top goal-scorer, disregarding the league table despite the improved view is arguably the perfect approach as they aim to continue their good form. With Zenit visiting the San Siro on Tuesday night in a game in which Allegri faces little pressure considering Champions League qualification has been secured, he will also be wary of the importance of continuing this winning formula.

They will be without Boateng for the foreseeable future after the stand-in captain received a red card for a two-footed lunge. The Rossoneri are also seemingly without Robinho, who continues to compile a DVD-worthy highlight reel of shocking misses. The Brazilian was tireless and inventive at times, yet his finishing, or lack of, ensured a nervy end to the game before El Shaarawy showed him how it was done.

Banishing memories of the early season struggle, it is imperative that Allegri allows no let-up as results continue to improve. As many sides will attest to, it is not easy to travel to the Stadio Massimino and come away with three points, and the Rossoneri can take great confidence from that, coupled with their win over Juventus last weekend. With momentum and perhaps luck on their side, Milan are now showing what they are capable of, led by a star of the future and, evidently of the present, too.

What pleased you most about the win against Catania? How good can El Shaarawy become?

For all the latest Milan and Serie A news, you can follow me on Twitter @italiafooty

ESPN Conversations