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Tactical Review of Milan's Unnerving Draw at Lazio: Bottling Another Lead

Milan tossed away a win in the last minute of additional time but still performed better than expected. Here’s a look at the talking points from the game.

SS Lazio v AC Milan - Serie A Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

AC Milan made the best of a bad situation in Rome against Lazio. Many Rossoneri fans including myself were disappointed in the end result however we forget the dire circumstances we faced at the beginning of the game. This is a look at the game:

Take the Shot! Indecision in front of goal.

Milan have been creating few but key chances in tough games such as the one against Lazio. The key failure of the squad is the indecisiveness in the final third. During the Lazio game Hakan Calhanoglu had a golden chance after Franck Kessie squared the ball to him but he failed to pull the trigger. Soon later, Fabio Borini attempted a long range shot that actually tested the keeper and won us a corner. Milan need to take their chances when they have the opportunity to do so as we are sure to have games that will be settled by the one goal. Kessie was brave enough to take a shot and the rebound got us the lead for about 20 minutes.

Bakayoko is Putting in Good Shifts

Tiémoué Bakayoko had another positive performance and is truly filling in Lucas Biglia’s shoes well. Despite his rough start to the season and the immense criticism he has faced, his is picking up the pace and developing with each passing game. He still needs to work on his composure, forward passing and his decision making but he is doing a marvelous job marshaling the midfield and recovering the ball. If Bakayoko puts in more convincing performances prior to the January window it could allow Milan to gamble and not pursue a CM/CDM in the market. Moreover it was nice to see Bakayoko’s displeasure in a draw on Twitter as it demonstrated his hunger to win.

Donnarumma is Growing

Gigio made some critical saves against Lazio, especially the Wallace header. It was harsh to concede in the 94th minute, especially due to a poor clearance from Cristian Zapata. Donnarumma has significantly improved his passing and is looking more composed on the ball. The best part of watching Gigio is his quick reflexes and his confidence in one-on-one situations. During the Lazio game the defense put in a good shift but Gigio covered for the squad whenever there were gaps in our back line. Let’s hope the situation stays like this and he can begin racking up some clean sheets.

Kessie Came Through Again

Franck Kessie is easily the most underrated player on the current Milan squad who barely receives praise for his contributions and came through in Rome. Milan looked stagnant in the period just before the goal but Kessie took a chance and despite the goal getting chalked up as an own goal, he took a chance and it paid off. Kessie has been delivering consistent performances this season and has already scored twice and forced an own goal leading to some critical points against AS Roma, Atalanta and Lazio. Kessie had a solid game helping the team to transition on the counter attack, he seems to be working on his dribbling and distribution.

Why were there no substitutions?

The biggest question mark on the Lazio game is why Gattuso did not make any changes? Especially when the assistant referee declared that there would be five additional minutes of stoppage time and Lazio begun playing with an intense sense of urgency. Gattuso had the likes of Diego Laxalt, Samu Castillejo, Andrea Bertolacci or even Jose Mauri on the bench and could have introduced them to waste time and interrupt Lazio’s play. Although there has been a lot of criticism on this point, I believe Gattuso’s motivation lay in keeping the chemistry and understanding on that was already on the pitch. He has not always made the right substitutions but maybe he should’ve tried one in this situation to take the pressure off.

Overall, I believe we should be content with a difficult game and need to focus on racking up as many points from the coming four rounds. As always, Forza Milan!