Zlatan has become a forgotten hero at Milan, all hail El Shaarawy

image

When Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Antonio Cassano both left Milan, the attack of the club was left in the hands of Alexandre Pato, Robinho, Bojan and Pazzini. However, no one would have expected young Stephan El Shaarawy to be to be sitting as Milan’s top-scorer this season.

In fact, El Shaarawy is not only Milan top-scorer but he’s the Serie A topscorer as well. His 14 strikes place him ahead of Cavani, Klose and Di Natale; all of whom are renowned for their goals. Additionally, the attacker has three assists to his name; the young man who was born in Savona, Italy is responsible for a little over 50% of the Rossoneri’s goals this year. His new role in the team has created more freedom on the field, allowing the attacker to flourish, without playing in the shadow of somebody else.

It was last summer that El Shaarawy signed for Milan from Genoa for a fee around €10m. It indeed looked a hefty sum for a 19-year-old who had previously only made one league appearance and mostly featured in Serie B during a loan spell at Padova. But with Italian clubs not so flush with cash and lowering their wage bills in recent years, El Shaarawy has become one of the many Italian youngsters benefiting of more playing time.

Read More

The Pirlo, Mascherano and Makelele: An insight into the role of the Number 6

By Ogo Sylla

The holding midfielder, or defensive midfielder, or number 6 as we can also call it, is a thankless task that often gets overlooked in today’s football of marauding fullbacks, twinkle-toed playmakers and dead-eye strikers. However what is most underappreciated about the number 6 (as we will refer to it from henceforth) are its complexities that most fail to recognize. In fact, the failure to do so can be key to why some sides may struggle to find the right balance. Indeed, the defensive number 6 sits – on a tactical sense – at the heart of the game and at the center of the pitch where everything goes through him. It is for this reason that it is important to recognize the many intricacies of that position and its numerous roles in order to better appreciate it.

It is important difference – albeit just a seemingly semantic one – between a holding midfielder and defensive midfielder. But these are just types of the number 6, which can be broken down in three different roles: the destroyer, the deep-lying playmaker (regista), and the volante. The destroyer is exclusively a defensive midfielder, while the regista is a holding midfielder. The volante, however, has the particularity of belonging to both types of the number 6. Being such a special case, we will touch on the role of the volante last. 

Read More

An ambitious architect awaits results in Paris

By Ogo Sylla

Paris Saint-Germain have undergone quite the transformation since Nasser Al-Khelaifi took over the club last year. One of the more important moves that PSG have made, however, has not been the purchase of Javier Pastore last summer or even Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva this year. In fact, it is the man who brokered all these deals and who has hit the ground running in his aim of making PSG an important and relevant club on the European scene.

Two weeks ago, PSG returned to the Champions League for the first time in nine years, and a triumphant return it was as they emerged 4-1 winners against Dynamo Kyiv at the Stade des Princes. What was most pertinent about this game is that Ibrahimovic scored first, Thiago Silva opened his PSG account for the club on his debut, and Alex as well as Pastore completed the rout. In effect, these were all Leonardo’s signings, and they all vindicated his work on that night.

Read More

Back to basics for Allegri at Milan

By Ogo Sylla

It has been a tough summer for Serie A fans. The mercato has seen many stars and promising young players leave the Peninsula such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Fabio Borini, and Marco Verratti just to name a few. In fairness however, it is AC Milan who have experienced the most tumultuous of mercato and thus results on the pitch may be a difficult thing for Massimiliano Allegri to come by. 

Indeed, in addition to the immense quality the Rossoneri have lost in the form of Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and Cassano, they have also lost a substantial amount of experience with the departures of Nesta, Zambrotta, Gattuso, Van Bommel, Seedorf, and Inzaghi. As such it becomes a massive task for Allegri to mount anything close to resembling a challenge when it comes to the upcoming Serie Acampaign. In Adriano Galliani and Silvio Berlusconi’s mission to lower the wage bill and make the club more financially self-sufficient, the Milan hierarchy went on to recruit youth or bargain signings they knew could contribute something. 

Read More

Disclaimer
A Football Report © 2009-2013