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Serie A: Genoa 1:0 AC Milan - match report 27.9 ||webmaster
Scorer: Dzemaili 10 (G)
Milan crashed to a halt and Genoa emerged from crisis, as Blerim Dzemaili scored and Alessio Romagnoli saw red.
The Rossoneri were fresh from two heart-stopping 3-2 victories over Palermo and Udinese, while the Grifone had lost four of their last five games. Andrea Bertolacci returned from injury to face his former club, moving Jack Bonaventura into the trequartista role, while Carlos Bacca was rested. Goran Pandev and Issa Cissokho sat out bans with Mattia Perin, Alassane Tambe, Ezequiel Munoz, Tino Costa and Cristian Ansaldi sidelined.
Mihajlovic: 'Balotelli has matured, but...' 27.9 ||webmaster
Sinisa Mihajlovic sees an improved Milan against Genoa and tempered praise for Mario Balotelli.
“A win would be very important for us, because nine points in a week is good preparation for the Napoli game. If we play the way we did, improving defensively, then we can win,” said the Coach in his Press conference.
Serie A: Udinese 2:3 AC Milan - match report 23.9 ||webmaster
Scorers: Balotelli 6 (M), Bonaventura 10 (M), C Zapata 45 (M), Badu 51 (U), Duvan Zapata 57 (U)
Mario Balotelli scored on his first Milan start, but they almost threw away a 3-0 lead, beating Udinese 3-2.
The Rossoneri were coming off a 3-2 victory over Palermo and gave Balotelli his first start since returning from Liverpool, partnering Carlos Bacca. There was a full Serie A debut for 18-year-old defender Davide Calabria, as Jeremy Menez, M’Baye Niang, Andrea Bertolacci, Ignazio Abate, Luca Antonelli, Philippe Mexes and Juraj Kucka were injured. Udinese missed Guilherme, Alexander Merkel and banned Panagiotis Kone.
AC Milan are one of the biggest and most prestigious clubs on the planet but the Italian giants have failed to qualify for the Champions League in each of the past two seasons. This campaign, however, Milan have made a number of changes as they look to improve on last season's disappointing 10th placed finish. Filipe Inzaghi was sacked earlier this summer and replaced by former Serbia national team boss Sinisa Mihajlovic, who has immediately put his own stamp on proceedings at the San Siro.
Milan have struggled in recent years but have shown signs of improvement in the early stages of the season, despite their latest setback against city rivals Inter last weekend. The Rossoneri have failed to make a major impact at the top of the Serie A table in the past few seasons but could well climb up the division throughout the course of the 2015-16 campaign. Without any European competition to distract them, Milan could profit from the additional resting time and, in theory, should be better prepared for each and every one of their domestic fixtures this season. The Rossoneri will host Palermo in their next Serie A clash and 32Red price the hosts at 7/10 to pick up all three points in front of their own fans.
They were incredibly active in the transfer window and, although they have a number of new players in the starting line-up, they have bonded quickly and have started to develop great working relationships on the field. Mario Balotelli has returned to the San Siro on loan, while the club invested an estimated £21 million in Sevilla's Carlos Bacca. Bacca was one of the best forwards in La Liga last season and Milan moved for the striker after he also impressed for his native Colombia at this summer's Copa America.
Meanwhile, they also made a move for Shakhtar Donetsk striker Luiz Adriano. The Brazilian was one of the standout players in the Champions League last season and played a key role as the Ukrainian side advanced to the knockout stages before they were demolished 7-0 at the Allianz Arena by Pep Guardiola's Bayern Munich. He will play an influential role for the Italian outfit this season and, although he will face tough competition for a starting berth from Bacca in the short term, could prove to be a great buy in the future. At the time of publication, 32Red are pricing Bacca, who scored 20 goals in 37 games for Sevilla last season, at 9/1 to finish as the top goalscorer in Serie A this season.
Defensively, Milan also made moves in the transfer window this summer. The club opted to bring in Roma youngster Alessio Romagnoli, while the Rossoneri also recruited both Luca Antonelli and Rodrigo Ely from Genoa and Avellino respectively. Ely made an immediate impact at the San Siro, impressing Mihajlovic with his commitment and aggression but the 21-year-old was sent off in his second game after picking up two yellow cards. While aggression is key for defenders to succeed in Serie A, Milan's young defenders must maintain their discipline if they are going to compete for a Champions League spot.
The Italian giants were wise to act quickly and dismiss Filipe Inzaghi at the end of the campaign, which allowed Mihajlovic plenty of time to plan his targets in the transfer window. Inzaghi is a club legend and his reputation as a player will not be tarnished, however it would have been completely impractical for Milan to have kept him at the helm. Unfortunately, he looked a little out of his depth and just wasn't the right man for the job. Former Serbia coach Mihajlovic has plenty of experience and ticks all the right boxes to succeed in Serie A this season and throughout his initial two-year contract. If he performs well, it is likely that the Milan board will offer him a contract extension of at least another year or two.
AC Milan are one of the giants of Italian football, there's little doubt about that. Although they have spent a few years in the wilderness, Mihajlovic has started to rebuild the side and they look a lot more organised than in previous years. While it would be foolish to believe that they are now capable of going on to win the title this season, they are certainly capable of fighting against Italy's best clubs and could, with a bit of luck, finish in one of Italy's Champions League places if they maintain their level of performance for the duration of the campaign.
Serie A: Internazionale vs. AC Milan - match report 14.9 ||webmaster
Guarin 56 (I)
Fredy Guarin’s screamer gave Inter the Derby della Madonnina and top of the table, but Mario Balotelli hit the post for Milan.
The Nerazzurri would be the only team with a 100 per cent record with a victory tonight and top of the table on their own after five years. They threw deadline day buys Ivan Perisic and Felipe Melo straight into the mix, while Mauro Icardi returned from injury. Gary Medel moved to centre-back for the sidelined Joao Miranda, dropping Andrea Ranocchia. Milan gave Riccardo Montolivo his first competitive appearance in seven months, while Juraj Kucka and Keisuke Honda also supported the strikers. Andrea Bertolacci, Jeremy Menez, Luca Antonelli and M’Baye Niang were injured.
Reviewing AC Milan's key summer signings 3.9 ||webmaster
The transfer window has closed, with AC Milan having added eight players to the squad in an attempt to improve upon last season’s 10th-placed finish in Serie A.
Adriano Galliani was working right up to the transfer deadline as he tried to secure a deal for Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Axel Witsel. No agreement could be reached for Witsel but, even without the addition of the Belgium international, it’s generally been a positive window for Milan.
New coach Sinisa Mihajlovic looks to have a stronger squad to work with than the one which saw Milan disappoint last season. And, while it may still be some time before Milan improve on their betting odds of around 16/1 when this article was produced to win the title, the Champions League is not a forlorn hope.
Here, we assess the key signings Milan have made this summer:
The Brazilian striker has been a consistent scorer in eight years at Shakhtar Donetsk and brings a powerful presence to the Milan forward line. He scored on his debut in the Coppa Italia against Perugia and got the winner at home to Empoli. He has the potential to form a devastating partnership with Bacca.
Given Milan’s toils in the transfer market in recent years, it was something of a coup to reportedly beat Liverpool to the signing of Bacca. The Colombian scored twice in Sevilla’s Europa League final win over Dnipro last season and his record of around one goal every two games for the Spanish club prompted Milan to activate his buy-out clause. Also on target in the win over Empoli, Bacca will be hoping to have the same impact at the San Siro as he did in his first year at Sevilla when he was named the best signing of that season.
Balotelli is back just a year after leaving for Liverpool and Galliani says he has already noticed a change in the striker’s attitude. After scoring 26 goals in 43 appearances in his first spell with Milan, he has proven himself at the club. The challenge is for him to do it again. The one positive is that, following the signings of Bacca and Adriano, there isn’t major pressure for Balotelli to be the main man and so Milan won’t be relying on him as much as before.
An astute addition to the midfield from Genoa, Bertolacci has the attributes to be used however Mihajlovic wants to deploy him. He can be the creator-in-chief if Mihajlovic wants him to, but his defensive awareness also makes Bertolacci a useful option in a more withdrawn role. At 24, he has time to progress and should relish stepping up a level at Milan.
With comparisons to Alessandro Nesta, it was perhaps inevitable that Romagnoli would join Milan, especially after he played under Mihajlovic on loan at Sampdoria from Roma last season. He is a composed defender and is also a good distributor of the ball. As he is just 20, Romagnoli should be given the time to learn as mistakes will be inevitable. But he has the potential to be the bedrock of Milan’s defence for the next decade or more.