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Tactical Review of Milan's Limp Performance In Their 2-1 Loss To Roma

Roma easily swept aside a limp Milan side at the Olimpico as two mistakes cost us the game.

AS Roma v AC Milan - Italian Serie A Photo by Danilo Di Giovanni/Soccrates/Getty Images

Milan made too many errors to deliver a coherent performance and paid the price. Here's a review of the game:

Milan Vulnerable From Set Pieces

Milan conceded from yet another set piece this season and the culprits were the same as before. Andrea Conti and Franck Kessie were collectively responsible for Edin Dzeko being left alone with swathes of space to easily head home for the opener. Kessie was crowded out of his man marking duties cleverly by the Roma attackers but nevertheless lost his man. Conti was responsible for losing his man and allowing Mancini to head the ball over to Dzeko providing the assist. Milan have conceded goals from corners and free kicks too often this season to make a serious case to challenge for European spots. This needs to be solved by potentially switching from man marking to zonal marking.

Dismal Right Backs

Stefano Pioli shocked Milan fans when he selected the poor Conti to start the game over Calabria following his terrible display against Lecce. The former Atalanta right back has been out with consecutive injuries and is only beginning to get some playing time but he has been awful. He cannot defend to save his life nor does he have any feel for the game or confidence. His body language was poor during the AS Roma game and was rightly subbed off. Calabria replaced him and performed much better even grabbed an assist to put Milan back into the game however the young academy product committed a fatal error when he misplaced a pass that led to Zaniolo’s goal and Milan’s loss. A terrible day when both right backs feature and fail.

Hernandez Really Showing Up

Theo has been incredible since joining Milan. He was the sole outfield player who was impressive against Roma. He has been a huge improvement at left back and has now even scored twice for Milan. His advanced runs are piercing and his speed is an explosive asset for Milan on the counter attack. Most importantly, Theo showed a fighting spirit that the rest of the team seemed to lack. Theo and Bennacer were the only players who looked lively in search of equalisers but did not receive the support required from the rest of the squad. Theo is an important player at the moment and his form will be critical going forward.

Where is the Fighting Spirit?

In my opinion, the biggest failure I have seen this season with the current squad is the lack of a fighting spirit. The grinta that Gattuso brought two years ago seems all but gone. Gattuso’s play was messy but the players had heart and fought till the end. Milan has added more talent in the past two windows than in the past couple of years combined yet the determination to win is missing and this was clear against Roma. Giampaolo and Pioli are visibly struggling to fire up the squad but there is a question of Romagnoli’s leadership. Can Romagnoli lead the troops? Can he inspire them? Can he deliver results and a turnaround?

Sloppy Play and Mistakes

Milan’s fixture against Roma once again demonstrated the vulnerability of the team against high pressing opponents as well as opponents who overload the middle of the pitch. Milan struggled to string passes together and showed that the team lacks the composure to perform without additional time to make decisions. Both goals conceded came from mistakes while Milan’s attack was always compromised by terrible crosses, intercepted through balls, sloppy passes and poor touches. Leao seemed to over-complicate his play and didn’t make any positive contributions while Suso was invisible. Calhanoglu had a heavy touch all game and kept misjudging passes. Overall, the team lacked chemistry and the poor coordination was clear.