It started with own goal and ended with a brace from Keisuke Honda. Last season the critics were out and ready, but it would appear it was more the tactics and formation that were keeping this star from shining. Filippo Inzaghi's 4-3-3 has given Honda new life and a two goals today and six on the season kept this game easy against an often difficult opponent.
Inzaghi started with the 4-3-3, with a leading line of Stephan El Sharaawy, Fernando Torres, and Honda. The key to today's 4-3-3 was the fluidity in attack but more importantly the discipline in defense with both SES and Honda dropping in and central to create a 4-3-2-1 and make it very difficult for the CB pairing of Marquez to distribute the ball with any semblance of consistency. Milan did struggle with keeping the always dangerous and evergreen Luca Toni in check but it was Abbiati who kept him off the score sheet on not one but two clear cut chances.
Milan rarely looked in jeopardy in this match and truth be told that is one of the first times I can say that in the last 10 months for this squad. While Verona was uncharacteristically sloppy and lacked discipline in defense, Milan control the ball and the midfield and kept their CB's clean of any real effort. I always say the mark of a good team is a CB who never has to defend and the work of Sulley Muntari and Michael Essien was excellent on this day. They both kept things elegantly simple and broke up plays moved the ball forward. When they did they often found the feet of Fernando Torres who busted his hump for the cause and created acres of space for SES and Honda. While a striker should score, when they don't they have to work for the team and Torres showed that willingness today.
While three points is the real yield, progress is the silver lining. Each game under Inzaghi has shown a new wrinkle, a new understanding and a new ability. Be it Torres with his back to goal, SES in raking passes or Abate and DeSciglio continuing to dominate the flanks the team is improving game in and game out. Now they prepare for the Viola with momentum and confidence to continue to press forward.