It has been a season with highs and lows for both AC Milan and their forward El Shaarawy. After racking up 13 goals before Christmas, the youngster has only scored 3 goals this calender year rising speculations of even a move away from the San Siro outfit.
Sometimes you just cannot agree with Massimiliano Allegri and as a matter of fact, we have often made a bit of a running comedy taking his exact quotes and having people think it’s just another sarcastic fake-tweet. He did however have this to say about El Shaarawy being kept out against Napoli: “If every player could play 50 matches per season, I’d go into next year with only 14 players in my squad.”
In what was one of the most bizarre moves of the year, Allegri Benched Milan’s little starlet El Shaarawy ahead of the most important match of the season against Napoli a couple of weeks before which started all the trouble.
His post-match press conference after Napoli’s match read,
“Robinho had a great game, and was important throughout. Why did I play him? Because I needed a player who could cut in through the middle with a different technique than El Shaarawy. The Pharaoh needed to recharge his batteries on a physical and mental level. If every player could play 50 games, then next year we will only have 14 players on our roster. It’s normal that Stephan still has to grow, and in the last matches he has not been at the level he was at in the beginning of the season. Same can be said for De Sciglio.”
Not even minding the statistics (16 goals domestically, a crucial strike in Champions league against Zenit and considering he was only 19 back then, being considered as the top choice in attack by Cesare Prandelli’s Italian side) El Shaarawy has given so much during his goal drought. Besides his technical abilities and pace, El Shaarawy provides an added presence in the defensive part of Milan’s game. How many times have we seen him chase balls back as if he was the playing at the last line of the defense.
El Shaarawy’s presence could only be a boost the core of Milan’s team which should be made of the real Milanist who would give their 100% week in week out. From what it looks like and knowing Milan’s financial situation, there is little to expect from the transfer window and expect for a couple of departures and a few youngsters coming in Milan should try and retain the team to build upon for the next season instead of having talks about El Shaarawy’s departure. Players like El Shaarawy, De Sciglio, Abate, Nocerino, Montolivo and Balotelli should form the core of the team atleast for the next couple of season.
Following his one match stint at the bench El Shaarawy found himself back at the starting berth against Juventus last week and although the youngster couldn’t get on the score-sheet, his performance was a captivating one as he played with his heart throughout the 90 minutes. Find me a player who runs more or that is more selfless during the course of a 90-minute match. Allegri’s tactic of using him in a more deeper role in the 4-3-3 set up has been one of the major problems for the striker for not getting in as many shots he would normally. He often track back to help his full backs and the presence of Mario Balotelli up-front has also been another crucial factor in his decline in form.
One last interesting statistic: El Shaarawy averaged 3.3 shots per match before Balotelli arrived. Since Super Mario arrived he has only taken his chance on goal 1.9 times per match. So, is he shooting less because the attack is far too focused on getting Balotelli the ball, or has it been a tactical decision by Allegri to do so?
While many are quick to rush judgment, Balotelli is the last person I’d blame for ElShaarawy’s below-average performances.