On Saturday Milan take on what I can only call my least favorite team in Serie A, yes I dislike Roma more than Inter. At least with Inter there is a semblance of respect for a true rival, with Roma there is nothing but disdain. If you have been around long enough you may know why, but for those new to the blog the dislike runs relatively deep and while I don’t want to get to far into it now, there is nothing about that Club past or present that I enjoy.
My dislike of Roma really doesn’t matter because at the end of the day it is Milan who has everything to do come game time regardless of the opponent. This Saturday will be no different and while the team is riding a wave of confidence from dispatching Napoli, Roma will present a different challenge. We have talked at length about this idea of living and dying by Jeremy Menez and the reality is as he goes so does Milan. The problem is Menez is one of the reasons I disliked Roma and I am not sure what to make of him and his gravitational pull on this team when he is on the pitch.
It is abundantly clear that Filippo Inzaghi trusts him, he is our leading scorer, and I get that but in my opinion he simply is not improving the team as a whole. His persistence to drift left has made Milan nearly one dimensional in attack without Ignazio Abate’s runs on the right flank. If you look at any heat map the left side dependcy is painfully obvious and most of the work is coming from Menez. Robbing touches from everyone else and forcing the team into a one pronged attack instead of the three headed monster we saw earlier in the season. This leaves Milan exposed and vulnerable and teams have already solved this to Milan’s detriment, if Roma can’t "pick this lock" then Milan has a chance. Despite my dislike this Roma team is a better than that.
I suspect Pippo sticks to what has been working in this mini injury crisis:
Lopez; Bonera, Mexes, Rami, Armero; Poli, NDJ, Monty; Honda, Menez, Bonaventura
The French connection at the back does in fact scare me to death week in and week out and the fact that Milan are nearly starting as many Frenchman as they are Italians makes me wonder as well. Pablo Armero has been as advertised, quick, good getting forward and absolute enigma on defense. He is like a child who developed early so is faster and stronger but just doesn’t have the tactical nous, problem is he seems a bit to far gone to learn. The midfield looked solid last week, just enough busy work and creativity to keep the team flowing to Menez who delivered, the question this week becomes will he again. It is evident Menez and SES can’t play together but his absorption of Honda was a shocker to me. Giacomo Bonaventura offers a bit more in terms of balance and if Milan had two of him this team would be that much better. I do believe Honda has the skillset but sometimes he just looks lazy.
Can Milan keep riding the wave? Join us Saturday to find out.