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Tactical Review of Milan's Uninspired Derby Performance and 1-0 Loss

Milan played without heart in the derby, here is a reaction to the key moments in the game.

FC Internazionale v AC Milan - Serie A Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

To begin with, a quick apology for the delay with the article as I wanted to re-watch the game with a level head before writing this piece. Secondly a massive shout out to the Milan Club London for delivering a fantastic atmosphere to watch the derby. The fans were amazing and the chants were electrifying, truly an ode to the red and black shirt.

Posted by Milan Club London on Sunday, October 21, 2018

Now, onto the review:

Romagnoli Cannot Keep Bailing the Defence

Alessio Romagnoli has been polarizing this season. We must consider that it has been a tumultuous off season leading up to us now with the departure of Leonardo Bonucci, arrival of Mattia Caldara, change of ownership and receiving the captaincy. Overall Romagnoli has been the rock in the defence and has delivered with great last ditch tackles including a few in the derby. However the lack of focus is terrible and is showing gaps in our backline. For Icardi’s offside goal, Romagnoli allowed the ball through his legs and for Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi’s winning goal Romagnoli did little to prevent Matias Vecino’s cross. Although I believe he is the best performing defender, he has made some mistakes that are now accounting for points.

Donnarumma Is Flopping When It Counts

Everytime Gianluigi Donnarumma seems to be improving and rediscovering his form he makes a ridiculous mistake and it seems we are back to square one. His indecision is baffling, Vecino’s cross was not spectacular nor was Icardi’s header. Donnarumma had two options; run out and grab/punch the ball or sit back and save the shot. He did neither and ended up slipping in confusion. This is yet another key moment where Donnarumma seemingly lacks the basic composure to handle big games. Donnarumma is undoubtedly a fantastic keeper but the mistakes he keeps making are hurting the team and pushing the fans to lose confidence in him.

Musacchio Compromising The Backline

Mateo Musacchio and Donnarumma have mirrored each other in respect to their performances in the recent games in the sense that Musacchio tends to have a solid 75 minutes of play but then loses concentration and makes poor decisions especially regarding positioning and tackling. In his defence, the replays clearly show Icardi’s movement was unbelievably good and puzzled Musacchio into the ground however the AC Milan backline should not have been caught out of position in the 92nd minute. For the Inter goal, Romagnoli was out in a left back role, Rodriguez was late tracking back, Musacchio was alone in the box and Ignazio Abate was tracking back to the far post. We were caught out because the defence lost it’s shape, perhaps if both Romagnoli and Musacchio were in the box there would have been more pressure on Icardi.

Wasting Cutrone & Poor Tactics

Once again Gennaro Gattuso’s substitutions confused me and are disconcerting. The oddity came in the 73rd minute when Patrick Cutrone entered the pitch for Hakan Calhanoglu which seemed like a good attack minded move from Gattuso perhaps in search of a late winner similar to the AS Roma game. The shock came when it seemed that Cutrone was inserted as a Left Wing or Left Midfielder (LW/LM) leading to an unfortunate cross by the youngster and a lot of awkward movement for the target man who was clearly feeling out of place. The logic of wasting a supersub in an unfamiliar position was simply strange as Cutrone could not impact the game as he usually would is the modified 4-4-2 that Milan adopt when both Higuain and Cutrone are on the pitch.

Gattuso Is Struggling

This is a difficult statement to say but it is true. Gattuso’s brand of football is struggling to show and his plans are not consistently working for Milan. We discussed this previously after the Napoli and Dudelange games where it was evident that Milan struggled under high pressure teams. Furthermore Gattuso’s system is too reliant on Suso as the creative playmaker, in games where Suso is shut out, we struggle. The biggest disappintment in derby was perhaps the anonymity of Giacomo Bonaventura and Franck Kessie, who practically disappeared and lacked the attacking edge that they were enforcing just a few weeks ago. Currently I feel Gattuso is short of ideas partly because his go-to player of the bench is the thoroughly underwhelming Tiémoué Bakayoko who seems to have trouble stringing a few passes together and the squad is in dire need for inspiration.

But as always, Forza Milan!


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