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Tactical Review of Milan's Dry 1-1 Draw Away at Parma

Milan threw away a fragile lead against Parma and missed another chance to cement the UCL spot. Here’s a review of the 1-1 draw:

Parma Calcio v AC Milan - Serie A Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

AC Milan threw away a fragile lead against Parma and missed another chance to cement the Champions League spot. Here's a review of the 1-1 draw:

Suso and Calhanoglu Still Falling Short

Suso managed to pick up an assist after 5+ months in the league however it was a little lucky as Suso didn’t seem to be crossing to Samu Castillejo and similarly Castillejo’s header seemed reactive and not planned hence the goal seemed insanely lucky overall. Krzysztof Piatek, who should be the recipient of the service, seems strangled at Milan. He is so far detached from the game it is sad to watch. He has a genuine chance to win the Capocannoniere but is being thoroughly let down by his wingers. Hakan Calhanoglu seemed as mistake-prone as ever while Suso is too predictable. Fabio Borini’s inclusion into the attack was horrendous as he did not seem to know what to do with the ball when he managed to control it.

Castillejo Capitalises Again

He may have had little to no idea of the incoming cross but his body reacted well enough to redirect a sharp header past Sepe to break the deadlock at the Ennio Tardini. Castillejo has racked up 4 goals and 4 assists over the course of the season and has put in some intriguing performances, begging the question of why does Gennaro Gattuso not start Castillejo in place of Borini when rotation is needed? Castillejo can be a key player off the bench but he needs more game time to better adapt to Serie A as he still seems lost or he can ‘statpad’ a little more to get a good price in the summer.

Mental Fragility Showing

Since the derby loss that ended a 10-game unbeaten streak in all competitions, Milan have struggled to perform and to put games away, similar to the conundrum at the start of the season. In the last six games, Milan have lost to Inter Milan, Sampdoria and Juventus and only beat Lazio because of a penalty. In the same period Milan have thrown away leads and drawn with Udinese and Parma. Milan have had an awful stretch of games and the players have not shown a response and neither has Gattuso in his tactics. Let’s hope for a positive reaction in the Coppa game against Lazio with Paqueta back.

Fear to Pass Vertically?

There are so few instances where the Milan midfield looks confident to pass forward and determined to support the attack but the horizontal play is unbelievably frustrating. Against Parma, Milan’s midfield looked puzzled all game and were struggling to keep up with the pace of the home side. Patrick Cutrone scored an offside goal that was launched by a brilliant through-ball by Franck Kessie for Piatek that broke two of Parma’s lines. Even though the entire play was ruled out it demonstrated a proactive approach to exploit the space available and we need to see more than that as Milan looked short of ideas to attack in the final 15 minutes.

Gattuso’s Gaps Showing

Once again, following a solid run of form, Gattuso has found a way to get the Milanisti to question him managerial prowess. His tactical flexibility has been abysmal since the derby and his flaws have been exposed when he lost Kessie and Paqueta. As usual, his substitutions are always baffling and he has not learnt from past mistakes. In particular, it was hard to watch Borini make a silly tackle whilst at RB to cost us two points however it is the exact same mistake as Castillejo conceding a penalty against Inter while at LB. The decision to play wingers out of position has burnt Milan more than once this season and Gattuso continues to scramble to inspire the attack. Gattuso needs a clear attacking plan and needs to get Piatek firing again if Milan hope to hold on to the 4th place.


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