The Champions League group stage is just around the corner and Milan public relations in the face of Galliani and Ancelotti are already talking about Milan’s infamous CL DNA. While I believed in it during the ‘oughties, I don’t put much value on the current team’s ability simply because the biggest part of that DNA in my mind was experience.
Soccernomics has nicely showed the link between success and experience. An important part of experience comes from the club but I wanted to look at the players. A quick glance showed that current goalkeepers have less CL experience than a Dida, the whole defense can’t match a Maldini, the Seedorf-Gattuso-Pirlo trident tops the midfield and strikers are left behind by a Sheva. But how do Milan match up against other clubs?
For that I did some simple research that was more fun than evidence. I added up all CL competition games (doesn’t include preliminary matches or coach experience) from the UEFA site and I divided them with 116 which is the number of games Maldini played. Simply because having a number of games was too boring and after post-Maldini stress there is not much better to do than to make him a benchmark.
1. FC Barcelona 943/116= 8.136 mldn
2. Real Madrid CF 909/116= 7.84 mldn
3. Manchester United FC 871/116 = 7.51 mldn
4. Chelsea FC 614/116= 5.29 mldn
5. FC Bayern München 593/116= 5.11 mldn
6. AC Milan 455/116 = 3.92 mldn
7. Arsenal FC 415/116 = 3.58 mldn
8. FC Shakhtar Donetsk 363/116 = 3.13 mldn
9. Paris Saint-Germain FC 351/116 = 3.03 mldn
10. Juventus 332/116= 2.86 mldn
11. Manchester City FC 330/116 = 2.84 mldn
12. FC Dynamo Kyiv 249/116= 2.15 mldn
13. FC Zenit St Petersburg 238/116 = 2.05 mldn
14. Valencia CF 234/116 = 2.02 mdln
15. Galatasaray AŞ 212/116= 1.83 mldnn
16.SL Benfica 209/116=1.80 mldn
17. FC Schalke 04 209/116= 1.80 mldn
18. Málaga CF 209/116= 1.80 mldn
19. FC Porto 119/116= 1.72 mldn
20. LOSC Lille 162/116= 1.4 mldn
21. FC Spartak Moskva 151/116= 1.30 mldn
22. FC BATE Borisov 134/116=1.16 mldn
23. AFC Ajax 133/116= 1.15 mldn
24. Olympiacos FC 106/116 = 0.91 mldn
25. Borussia Dortmund 99/116= 0.85 mldn
26. GNK Dinamo Zagreb 86/116 = 0.74 mldn
27. RSC Anderlecht 67/116 = 0.58 mldn
28. CFR 1907 Cluj 63/116= 0.54 mldn
29. SC Braga 59/116=0.51 mldn
30. Celtic FC 23/116= 0.2 mldn
31. Montpellier Hérault SC = 0.19 mldn
32. FC Nordsjælland 0 mldn
Of course the more important part is how much of that experience is on the field during matchday but in the end the 6-th place injected a little optimism into me before we kick off (this was done before the Milan loss vs Atalanta).
PS: Let me know if you spot a mistake.
Better late than never – here are my ratings.
Abbiati 6. – saved the ones he should’ve saved and conceded 2 where he had little to do. He was on heels for 90 minutes and was always ready to win our team some seconds. Confidence boosting performance.
Abate 6.5 – at times he looked like the only one who can run with Barca players and dispossess them rather than wait. Can forgive him the first goal.
Thiago Silva 6.5 – some shaky moments but a game-tying goal. Will forgive him the first goal.
Nesta 7.5 MOTM – Minister of Defence back at his position. What’s his tackling level on those games the youth loves so much? I nominate 1 000 000 000.
Zambrotta 6 – the heat map showed Barca put most pressure on him. Coped ok with it though not too good.
Nocerino 5.5 – won a crucial corner Gattuso style and covered the most ground by our players. But did he caught my eye overall? No.
Van Bommel 6 – stupid card but smart pressure all the time. He was leading our midfield in the defensive phase.
Seedorf 6.5 – only one who could hold the ball for a second and let his teammates breath. And a nice assist from the corner.
Ambrosini 5 – off-form or finished? Played through slight injury? Silly fouls and bad touches. Nothing positive.
Cassano 4.5 – dreadful game. Maybe not suited for such a match but definetely fatigued of all the games he has had over the week.
Pato 6.5 – great to see him scoring. Great to see him scoring in Europe. Could he have done better at some chances? Yes, but with only few touches on the ball we can’t expect all of them to be perfect. Could anyone do better than his opener? No, that is the goal of the season.
Milan 6.5 – the attack was lacking but the defense of the whole team was to be proud of.
Allegri 6.5 – fixed the problems from Lazio game and made the most with depleted selection.
Prince; Aquilani; Emanuelson; n/a