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Tactical Review of Milan’s Drab 0-0 Draw with Lazio in Rome

Milan held Lazio to a 0-0 draw at the Olimpico despite playing on the back foot for the entirety of the game. The defence held up and ensured that everything is still to play foir in a few weeks time at the San Siro. Here’s the review of the game:

SS Lazio v AC Milan - Coppa Italia Photo by Marco Rosi/Getty Images

AC Milan held Lazio to a 0-0 draw at the Olimpico despite playing on the back foot for the entirety of the game. The defence held up and ensured that everything is still to play foir in a few weeks time at the San Siro. Here’s the review of the game:

We Struggled without Kessie

The game was relatively balanced until Kessie left the field. He pulled up with an knee injury as a result of a collision that introduced Hakan Calhanoglu into the game. Kessie managed to keep Milinkovic-Savic pretty quiet for the first half an hour of the game but the Serb grew thereafter and made scary runs forward without anyone to keep him in check. Kessie physicality and his endurance when pressuring the opponent are key to Milan’s success and the lack of these left Milan wide open defensively and led us to struggle for most of the game. 0-0 was a good result for us but we are very lucky to have achieved this.

Milan Played Carelessly and Made Mistakes

Milan have played some endearing football in 2019, however, this game seemed to be a collapse of all the positives. Gennaro Gattuso even criticised the quality of the play in his post-game comments. A major factor was the high press of Lazio and the intensity of the defensive drives that did not allow Milan time to settle down or really control the game. Tiémoué Bakayoko and Lucas Paqueta made numerous sloppy passes which fractured the play and didn’t allow for any output in attack as well as the midfield getting overrun. Moreover the poor passing stood out as everyone was trying long passes to Krzysztof Piatek when he lacked support thus the strategy failed.

Calabria with a Wholesome Show

Gattuso is truly blessed in the RB spot. Both Davide Calabria and Andrea Conti are putting in incredible shifts game after game. Calabria was easily the most exciting player from Milan’s perspective as he defended masterfully and attacked dangerously filling in for the lack of creative output from the wingers. Over the course of the game he put in a fewer good crosses especially in the 88’ minute where Piatek almost scored following Fabio Borini recycling Calabria’s cross. Overall he controlled the right side of the pitch well supporting Mateo Musacchio well from the attacks of Lulic and Milinkovic-Savic as well as trying to create space and momentum for Suso.

Suso is Worrying

What happened to Suso since October. He has been anonymous especially in big games where he is needed to create. This was a great opportunity for him to grab the focus of the game and create opportunities for Milan to score but he came up with nothing. Calhanaoglu was on the bench, Borini was playing on the left wing and Suso could barely deliver a cross into the box leading us to rely on Calabria as the main creator. This is worrying and we cannot keep excusing his poor form for his past performances. Milan need creators now, Milan needs goals and assists now, Suso has not delivered for a while and something needs to change in his attitude or his role.

Milan Made Some Gutsy Challenges

Paqueta robbing Correa of the ball in the middle of the box raised eyebrows everywhere fearing the call for a penalty, but he pulled it off. Alessio Romagnoli made some incredible last ditch tackles and despite being booked did not back down from any challenges nor did he go in halfheartedly for the ball. Musacchio put his body on the line to block plays and shots on goal to maintain that clean sheet. Bakayoko is picking the pockets of all players attacking Milan and marshaling all the balls out of danger. The defensive side of Milan’s game is phenomenal and the players and coach deserve kudos for this. We were outplayed at the Olimpico but we still did not concede and despite the numerous opportunities Lazio had, Gigio barely made any saves due to the effectiveness and work rate of the defence.

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