Take a poll of pundits and fans and you will be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t think Barcelona will win La Liga, Manchester United will win the Premier League, and AC Milan will win Serie A. And who are we to disagree?
The fact is predicting that Milan will repeat their scudetto win is not much of a stretch and it certainly doesn’t take much bravery on our part to do so. The truth is it is much, much harder to come up with any good ideas as to why Milan won’t win the scudetto than it is to list off all the reasons they will. Among those reasons are Milan has strengthened their already fantastic and deep squad, they have a strong and smart coach, and none of the teams closest to them in last year’s table have improved enough to make me think they can overtake the reigning champions.
So far this summer, Milan has bolstered their defense with the signings of Taye Taiwo from Marseille and Philippe Mexes from Roma. The Rossoneri have also added midfielder Alberto Aquilani on a season-long loan from Liverpool. All of them are good players, should help the team improve, and were brought in on decent business deals.
However, if we were to truly dig for reasons why Milan might fail in the defense of their title, we can look to the midfield for some possible concerns. Mathieu Flamini has been lost to injury for possibly the better part of the season. He was an important player for the Rossoneri last season, and coach Massimiliano Allegri might struggle to properly replace his production.
Also, the only significant player to leave the club this summer was Andrea Pirlo who moved to Juventus as a free agent. When the deal was made, many assumed Milan would not miss their legendary midfielder as he played only a small part for the club last season due to injury. But with Flamini hurt they may soon wish they still had Pirlo to call on, especially if they fail to sign the elusive Mister X.
But in the end, there are far too many more positives than there are negatives when analyzing the potential for success in this season’s AC Milan team. The clubs who finish just below them in the table last season will make it interesting for most of the coming campaign, and the Rossoneri will have to work for their 19th title. But in the end, they should win with some degree of comfort. Which leaves the question, how will they do in the Champions League? More on that in the coming weeks…