A few random thoughts that crossed my mind, in no particular order:
- Finally the break. No other team in Serie A needed them as much as we did. No wonder: we went through another epochal, month-long injury crisis, which would have meant the premature end of all title dreams for many teams (see Liverpool two years ago, or Tottenham this year, and so many more). Somehow we managed to get out of there, again, and we did it quite unscathed if you look at results only: we're only two points behind our last seasons tally, which was one that broke the club record. In addition, we made it to the last 16 in the CL for the first time in nine years (also benefiting from an easier group than last year, though). The ship wobbled a lot more than before, true. But it's still on track.
- Napoli's season is crazy. Just crazy. They march at a pace that seems unreal. But a season consists of cycles. They, too, will sooner or later navigate through more difficult waters. We must be ready for this moment. We have almost two months to prepare for this. Not only Pioli is in demand, who probably has to reconsider some tactical and personal decisions. But also Maldini and Gerry, who absolutely have to make the urgently needed corrections on the transfer market.
- What if Napoli don't back down and just keep up their rhythm even after the World Cup as if nothing happened? Then hats off to them. Then the title would simply be deserved, even if it would hurt me to admit it. But that's the sport. Last year we were the best. This year is still open. But what Napoli have achieved so far deserves respect. And if we Milan fans could take anything positive from it, it's that Napoli openly admit that they actually just followed our blueprint and basically copied us. Seen in this way, we are absolutely on the right track, according to them.
- That's also what the numbers say: December 2020: first in the table. May 2021, second. December 2021, second. May 2022, first. December 2022, second. Say what you want: We've consistently been in the top two for years, no matter how much our own fans sometimes criticize the club and predict that its downfall soon. Well, it may come at some point, but I don't want to hear "I told you so" then, because just because some have prophesied long enough, they don't become prophets if their predictions eventually come true again after several months and years.
- There are exactly two coaches in the league that I fear: Juric and Italiano. Both of them just seem to have figured out Pioli every time we play them. We didn't just play our worst game against Torino. They were simply superior to us and Pioli in every respect. Especially tactically. We've never lost as badly to a team as we did to Torino this year (I don't accept Chelsea. We were missing more than half the team away in the first leg. In the second leg the referee declared the game over after 18 minutes). And yesterday, against Fiorentina, the game really could have gone either way. Luckily we had luck on our side for once.
So what else? Nothing I think. I look forward to seeing the long-term injured again soon. Maignan back in goal, orchestrating the offensive from the back. Calabria, the team's beating heart, back in position, allowing Kalulu and Tomori to once again field the league's best and most impenetrable central defense. Zlatan back on the field to give a kick in the ass to those who think victory will come naturally, even against small teams. Origi with a complete and decent preparation. And hopefully a CDK that comes back from the NT full of confidence and enthusiasm.