AC Milan – the team I support – had a massive clear out this summer. However, on paper, the starting 11 only had two major changes with Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva being sold to PSG. The rest of the team was still there and on paper, there were more than capable players to step up to the new opportunity. With half the season over, except for El Sharaawy and De Sciglio, who are the breakout (young) stars for Milan, the season has been their worst yet since I started supporting them 9 years ago.
On the other hand, Dortmund, which has lost its key playmaker for the last two seasons to big clubs has come out even stronger than ever topping the toughest Champions League Group. The story has been a different one for Manchester City this season so far with despite all the riches and the strengthening the squad over the summer, if it ever needed strengthening, they have failed to deliver. Similarly, QPR despite all its expensive signings is still languishing at the bottom of the EPL.
Lesson learnt: is that soccer really about teamwork and how well the players can operate as a unit. I had initially thought that AC Milan would be able to cope well without Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva, but I was clearly wrong. Not because they do not have other players to step up, but that since they were leaders of the team and provided direction, they now have to find the (new) right balance. This also explains why Manchester United, even though without being remarkable in terms of their play, always manage to get results.