Milan finished their home campaign with a comfortable and somewhat bizarre 3-0 victory against Torino, with three goals and two red cards meaning it was an interesting encounter. Here’s what we learnt from the game:
1. Il Faraone is back
Perhaps the most delighting aspect of the match was the return of Stephan El Shaarawy; and what an impact he made.
He has struggled to get consistent game time due to injury problems over the past couple of seasons, and he will be hoping that those are all behind him heading into the foreseeable future, because he will be a huge part of Milan’s plans.
As for the Torino game, it was his presence alone that caused no end of problems for the Torino defence. Stephan’s running was intelligent and hard to track, and he popped up with two deserved goals for his efforts that will give him a major confidence boost.
The first was a lovely finish that gave Padelli no chance, the second a really nice give-and-go with Marco van Ginkel, with a tidy finish to match. 2015-16 will bring better things, and he is still young, so look out for the Pharaoh next season to make a serious mark.
2) Pazzo 100
In what may be his final home game for Milan, Giampaolo Pazzini scored his 100th Serie A goal, complete with printed shirt for celebration.
Despite the fact it was only a personal triumph, it was still nice to see Pazzo with a beaming smile, and the fact it was such an important second goal in the game made it all the sweeter.
Having been struggling for form, any striker will tell you that it doesn’t matter how you score, so when the penalty opportunity presented itself Pazzo was of course going to take it. He buried it, and the milestone was complete.
Whether he is kept next season or not I do not know, although it looks likely he will be departing. A good professional, it will be sad not to see him celebrating in the red-and-black.
3) Discipline is a MAJOR problem
If I’d have predicted at the start of the season that the Rossoneri would pick up 13, thats right thirteen, red cards, it might not have been very serious and more a tongue-in-cheek projection.
However, somehow, here we stand with thirteen red cards, added to by Cristian Zaccardo last night as he made likely his last start for Milan. He can have no arguments with the decision really, as he hauled down a surging Molinaro as he would have been through on goal.
Some see it as taking one for the team, but others such as myself would say that it jeopardises the whole situation of the game. Thankfully it was only a free-kick situation that resulted, yet it is still synonymous with what has been a difficult couple of years for Zaccardo at Milan.
He did however provide a nice assist to El Shaarawy for the goal, and did an OK job stepping in at right-back for the ill Abate, but other than that he chose to stay close to Alex and Paletta rather than venture forward too much.
4) Patchwork makes perfect?
Somehow, with a defence consisting of four natural CBs, we won the game against a team above us by a comfortable margin.
There is, of course, the opportunity to overtake Il Toro when we play Atalanta on Sunday, but nonetheless we were probably all expecting a much tougher game than that. It was nice to see possible targets such as Darmian and Glik so near to the mercato, but neither provided much spark, and Torino’s season has just faltered away to nothing.
That doesn’t take away from the result, and the fact we kept a clean sheet with Zaccardo starting at RB and Bochetti at LB is almost laughable. Three points is three points though, and despite a shaky performance (again) from Alex in possibly his last home game for the club, it was nice to sign off with a win for the fans.
5) Replacing De Jong is essential
Another workmanlike performance from the dynamic Dutch midfielder, in what may well be his last San Siro appearance in the Rossoneri colours.
I for one will be very sad if it is, as he has been the only one to show heart and determination at time this season, despite the fact he probably sees his future elsewhere.
Regardless of where he ends up, with Manchester United looking the most likely, it is such a shame that he hasn’t signed an extension, and it is very difficult to replace a skill set like that.
A tough-tackling, hard-working engine of a midfielder, NDJ is never scared of getting stuck in. The ‘bite’ of our midfield, I struggle to see any real candidates in the current team who can step into that role aside from maybe Poli with a bit of work, and the players we have been linked with such as Alex Song fail to excite me.
70 appearances and some memorable goals, including the header in the 1-0 win vs. Inter last season and a nice finish against Parma this season, which may have been the final salute for number 34.
So, those are the five things we can take from the last home game this season. Shame the three points mean nothing, but it was nice to see the squad enjoying the game.
A special mention goes to Mastalli for a bright 15 minutes in which he showcased his fearlessness.
Also, I feel it imperative that we try and keep Marco van Ginkel for next season, be it another season loan or a permanent deal at a reasonable price. He has a lot to offer and seems to improve with every game.
Farewell to the San Siro for another season, but don’t worry, we’ll be back soon!
Article by Oliver Fisher