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Hellas Verona 2 Milan 1

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In 90 minutes Luca Toni showed Milan's management exactly what they need, and it ain't strikersI

Dino Panato

I made some notes during the match, as I typically do, these stuck out:

  • 4-3-3 left the team exposed entirely
  • Tall strikers are going to be a problem, marking is horrible
  • Zero leadership at the back
  • No warriors, no battlers

There are a few points that need to be made and understood before we discuss this match.  Yes, there is a midweek game, a crucial must win at that.  Injuries are bad, nothing new, and the lack of a CAM meant the 4-3-3 continues to be the only choice for Max Allegri.  What ensued however was nothing that any of us expected.

There was little to praise outside of Poli, from front to back.  I would start and discuss the poor performance from Balotelli, El Sharaawy struggling, or Niang dribbling, dribbling, dribbling into two and three defenders.  But the real problem of this team is quite simply at center back.  Two goals, two missed marks, and while the midfield can be blamed to an extent.  To have two center backs unable to recognize the danger man, mark properly and assure their team is organized around them will expose Milan week in and week out.  This is no longer a simple problem, we clearly have two CB's who lack the position and tactical awareness to do what is needed on man marking situations, and this is unacceptable.  If we proceed like this, and it appears Fester doesn't see a problem with this, maybe until yesterday, every three points this team earns will be a on the edge of their seat.  No win will be simple without a solid and collected CB.

The midfield did little to press, and once Hellas Verona broke the initial attack third press, it was a race to goal as both Constant and Abate were pressed up and to many players committed to the attacking third.  The formation was not compact, it was not executed well and the players looked lazy and listless.  My last note above seems to say it all, when the going got tough this team collapses.  Balotelli more worried about the calls he isn't getting, Montolivo hiding behind the arm band that on this day he didn't earn, Zapata not saying a word, and Mexes busy fixing his hair.  This is not a team built to win matches, it is barely a team at all.  While Hellas ran themselves into the ground, it often time appeared Milan didn't care about the result, a strong statement but one that needs to be uttered.

This was a harsh review, and while many will certianly point the fingers at the Coach, surely for not starting players he didn't have.  Not pressing the "defend" button on the sideline, and failing to block crosses and mark Luca Toni.  On the other hand am disappointed in this team and these players who seem incapable of the simplest footballing fundamentals.  We can recover from this, we will recover from this, all is not lost.  But the two fellas who can fix it with the right investment need to be accountable and they have a few days left to do it.