The 4-3-3 is in an interesting beast in it’s own right, and I want to devote a full blow post to it on Tactics Tuesday. In the meantime I want to do a player review:
But first as a whole Chievo was exactly as expected, get guys behind the ball, clog the center of the pitch and counter with venom. In essence the recipe for success against Milan…it sure helped that Sorrentino was playing OUT OF HIS MIND.
Dida: shaky at best, test early and often and was lucky to only give up one. Defense settled, possession increased and his work slowly tailed off, his stop on the 90th was vintage but he has lost almost all the confidence he once possessed, still counting down the days to Abbiati’s return.
Oddo: erratic, his passes were either to the feet with precision or horribly off, there was really no in between. What bothered me most was his lack of recognition, he seemed confused coming forward and even more confused on the overlap or inside run, in essence it seemed he had memorized a plan and forgotten it more often than not.
Nesta: game saving tackle on Pellissier in the 62nd minute or so. Was very strong on the tackle and for playing in all of Milan’s matches is showing few signs of fatigue. His header was a monster and well deserved, but his second goal was even more amazing!! MOTM hands down and really the only Milan player who had Sorrentino’s number, Frey will certainly have nightmares of Alessandro this evening.
Silva: what a breath of fresh air this player has been. Super strong on the tackle, intelligent and quick, was left hung out to dry on the goal as no midfielder was filling the space of front of him. Made a forward run from the CB spot in the first half that reminded me of Maldini in the last few games of his career; Silva is easily the best addition of the transfer season to this point.
Antonini: tentative and lacking in confidence, his one two with Seedorf early was sublime and his one on one defending in the box on Luciano was excellent. My biggest gripe was much like Oddo he appeared confused going forward. It was almost as thought the wingbacks were told to play more reserved, it is hard to tell without knowing the tactical plan, but his lack of confidence in himself showed in his passing and his general communication with his teammates. He has the skills to play in this team, he just has to show them!
Flamini: went whole periods without even being in the play, if you were a casual fan watching the match you would lose him instantly. Did well early but as the game wore on he wore out and disappeared. Just not good enough has regressed from last season and looks like a shadow of his former Arsenal self.
Pirlo: his service on both Nesta goals was excellent, but his play was lax and rather sluggish. He constantly overshadows his errors with quality passes in all directions but this tactical setups may ask for to much from Pirlo defensively.
Seedorf: like last season Seedorf played one good game and one bad and this was again the case. Maybe it is fatigue, maybe it is the opponent, but he just was not good enough with the pass or the finish. His one two with Antonini should have been a sure goal instead Milan continued behind.
Pato: momentum from the midweek tie was in his favor and he looked very dangerous. Chievo clearly knew he was the danger man and did little to disguise the double and triple marking. He was most dangerous when he was interchanging and his markers could not keep of track him. He needs to learn that even if he doesn’t score his movement is VERY dangerous and as he progresses and learns these facts he will become even more complete as a striker.
KJH: Horrendous is the only word that comes to mind, if anyone can find a way to defend him I would be more than happy to hear it. On three separate occasions he received the ball with his back to goal had an errant touch and passed the ball back with little or no chance of even turning or playing square. He looked stiff, slow, and really poor. Sure he scored goals in Holland, but that is clearly not what it used to be.
Borriello: he was on the pitch for both goals, and was partly responsible for the first one. Showed more grit than KJH, really stuck his nose in the places it needed to be. Between this match and Wednesday he now has to be the first choice man for Milan in the middle.
Dinho: let’ be honest he no longer can take a player one on one, that part of his game which was so spectacular early in his career is all but gone, these defenders were not World Class but they stood him up time and time again. His game needs to evolve and if it does he will be dangerous once again in more of passing fashion. I do not believe he should have been subbed for Pippo, who did very little, instead it should have been Seedorf or Flamini to give way, but if Leo wants to use the 4-3-3, than Dinho is pivotal wide left. Play simple and he will be an asset, trying to do to much his play will be exposed.
Let’s not get carried away here with this win. Chievo certainly deserved more from this match, a draw was far more deserved, but Milan did well to grind it out, stay on the ball, and pressure the goal. Grinding out a win though is a huge plus and should not be underestimated, tied for fourth place is really not all that bad now is it!?