It isn't just the sideline demeanor that got me thinking about the striking similarities between Leonardo and Filippo Inzaghi, but a look at the results and the tactics it seems history has repeated. Like Ebeneezer Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas Past and Future, Inzaghi must learn and change or be doomed to the same fate of the man who stood not only before him but very much like him.
The first similarity came to a few weeks back and while many will argue the False Nine versus Leo's traditional 4-3-3 are very different on a fundamental basis, the way the team plays is eerily similar. Now the differences are so few, we will get them out of the way early, Leo had a fourteen goal striker in Marco Borriello, Filippo Inzaghi has no such thing. However, both Coaches are persistent in the 4-3-3 despite better alternatives and both are determined to play everything through the left side of the pitch.
Oddly enough, both Coaches seem to have pinned the tale on their favorite donkey, for Inzaghi it is Jeremey Menez. The enigmatic Frenchman makes magic as often as he goes missing and his choices on the ball create a frustration that is often hard to bear. Leo's donkey? None other then the greatest of footballing jack-asses, Ronaldinho. He to prone to poor choices, both on and off the pitch, but also the driving the force behind that vintage AC Milan. Leading the team in goals in all competitions and assists. While many claim he carried the team, those who watched saw the flaws that he exposed and how opponents exploited. I can see it now, if Milan do in fact finish top three, they will champion the Frenchman as a the driving force instead of looking critically at the over reliance and hindrancethese players cause. A team does not play with players like these, a team plays for players like these. A team does not evolve with players like these, they merely exist and while Menez will never reached the lofty heights achieved by a younger and thinner Ronaldinho the point is a single player does not make a squad.
At the halfway point, Leo had achieved 27 points on his way to a third place finish. Conceding 39 goals in total, at the midway point Inzaghi has achieved 25 points and his position is not yet determined. Conceding 18 goals putting this squad on pace to concede 36. Why is this number significant? In Milan's invincible they conceded only 23 goals, in Allegri's scudetto season it was 24. Conceding more than 30 goals in a season makes it nearly impossible to win a Scudetto and the value, or lack thereof, on defense is a problem.
Having played under Leo, and in fact being unhappy, Inzaghi should have learned from the mistakes. He has not progressed or even fostered a team tactically. He has ridden goals from Honda and when he stopped he jettisoned him in favor of Menez, when he stops will it be SES? Cerci? It remains to be seen but the formation and the personnel are not growing and evolving. Like Leo before him when presented with a tactical problem he chooses to throw attackers at it. Leo's second time around Serie A, his loss count doubled, Pippo can't afford that kind of down turn yet he has not made any steps to right the ship.
The tie, the tactics, the sideline swagger are all to familiar and unless Inzaghi recognizes this the unemployment papers at the end of the season will be the same as well.