The Milan Tragicomedy In Three Acts:
One. In their own box they defend sufficiently well and turf the ball out to midfield as expected [with some nice passing - these guys are good as long as they don't have to cross].
Two. The midfield is all older, more languid, more elegant Arsenal; they stroke the ball around, play it in triangles, take it to lalaland and back in an approximation of gentle lovemaking or whatever inappropriate metaphor you want to use.
Then, in the attacking third, something happens. It's like they lose all sense of actually being in the game. It's like -- like they go from being Milan's current forward line to the Class Of '07 future top-drawer international coaches. They have the ball, they see a young perky defender approach, and they go all misty-eyed and smiley-faced. "Here, little one," they seem to say, "you can have the ball."
Perky Defender: So -- I just take it from you?
Future Coach: Yes, exactly.
Future Coach: And then you play it out of your box -- that's right, turn around, find your teammate, pass--
Perky Defender: Like this, mister?
Future Coach: No no no, you must pass it along the ground, pass it along the ground, Santa Maria, who will hire you if you play ugly football like that?
Perky Defender: Oi! Pass it further upfield! ... along the ground!
Future Coach: I don't think he heard you. *avuncular grin*
Future Coach: Now bring it back and let's do it again, yeah?
Future Coach: I said bring it back.
Future Coach: Why are you all the way at the other end of the pitch all of a sudden? That's my side's six-yard box.
Future Coach: THAT IS MY SIDE'S SIX-YARD BOX.
We all like to bring our grandmothers up to compare them favourably to a team that's playing with less-than-expected pace or cohesion, but I think 'AC Creepy Uncles' is a bit more appropriate than 'Grandma FC.' Knowing more football than their opponents saved them this time. Let's see what they'll do against Boca. Who look -- young.
[Martha has a proper match report up at the Italy Offside. It is good.]