I figured I would get this up a bit later in the day with the distraction from the last day of the Silly Season. Plus there is nothing with celebrating a win for a little while. While many of us, myself included, prepared for the worst Filiipo Inzaghi's Milan came out swinging with three goals and a resounding victory against an often resolute Lazio team. For the most part Lazio looked to have more growing pains than Milan and Stefano Piolo's couldn't get it together. Sure there were flashes from Antonio Candreva and good spouts of possession, but sometimes a win is a bit skill and a bit of luck and this was one of those days.
The 4-3-3 seemed to work out and the use of a revolving false 9, specifically interchanging between Jeremy Menez and Keisuke Honda, looked solid. We can talk more about the false nine in a Tactics piece this week, but on this day Menez did his job and did relatively well. Honda contributed as well with the goal but his most dangerous phases are when is on the inside of the wide channel. When Abate got forward Honda made good. All and all the attack did it's job and while one could argue they all could have been as busy off the ball as SES, its minor gripe on a decent performance.
The midfield gets credit as well, Nigel De Jong was his usual stalwart self and Sulley Muntari contributed a goal out of the channel. Andrea Poli did his best Mathieu Flamini impression, running and running and running, often times without a single ounce of purpose. Another very minor gripe was that often times these bursts from Muntari and Poli were not covered and it gave Lazio time and space to free Candreva who was dangerous against an out of position Bonera at LB. Zapata did well to cover but the defense at times looked shaky and ready to be exposed. Lopez was solid in behind and while the clean sheet would have been a dream ending it took an own goal by Alex to get Lazio on the scoresheet.
All and all, it was a relief to get the three points both early and authoritatively. Had Milan started the season on a winless streak the pressure and media noise would have been a difficult to deal with. Instead Inzaghi get's first win and a weight off his shoulders. It is also important to note that you can really see the weight lifted from the players as well, there was something there that had been missing for over a year, a tenacity and urgency. It was as those the chip on their shoulder that should always be was massive and they played together and for each other. While many worried about the loss of talent in the likes of Mario Balotelli, if this team can stay as a cohesive unit it will be a much more pleasant season than anticipated. I am not talking top four, but you get the point!