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Tactical Review of AC Milan's Fateful 4-2 Derby Loss to Inter

Ibrahimovic shines but de Vrij is a black hole. Here's the review of Milan's 4-2 derby loss:

FC Internazionale v AC Milan - Serie A Photo by Pablo Morano/MB Media/Getty Images

AC Milan lost 4-2 to Inter Milan in one of the most memorable derbies in recent years as the Rossoneri threw away a two goal lead. Here's our review of the game:

Ibrahimovic Shows Dominance

Despite the loss, Zlatan Ibrahimovic put in a monstrous performance bossing Inter’s defence throughout the first half and continuing to overcome Godin and Skriniar in the second half. The striker brilliantly set up Rebic for the opening goal and was able to stay composed to score the second goal a few minutes later. His aerial threat almost paid dividends at the end of the game as he headed the ball onto the post - if he scored he would’ve tied the game 3-3. His influence on the squad in undeniable and Milan played some of their best football in the past 10 years during the first half.

Rebic Continues Resurgence

Ante Rebic managed to score a pretty easy opening goal after being set up to virtually tap into an open goal. The midfielder has been a force on the attacking phase of the game and was incredible throughout the first half but phased out after half time. He struggled to follow the game plan when Milan shifted to a defensive approach in the second half thus Milan’s left side got bombarded easily given his lack of defensive quality and his poor defensive positioning. The first two Inter goals originated from their right wing where Hernandez and Rebic did not close down the play effectively.

Loss of Determination

The biggest difference that arose from the half time was the change in attitudes toward the game and a shift in the mentality. Milan returned with a negative attitude as Stefano Pioli clearly told the team to sit back while Inter entered the game looking to find a goal by any means. The first two goals were completely lucky and out of the blue but they arose as Inter fought to win back every second ball and pushed hard to force Milan back whilst the Rossoneri slowed down and dropped the intensive attitude that helped them boss the first half. This was particularly evident on the first goal that Brozovic hammered in with a volley as no one closed him down, Calhanoglu should have been layered in front of the defence or at least pressuring Brozovic while Kessie and Bennacer should have pushed out faster.

Romagnoli’s Achilles Heel

Alessio Romagnoli honestly pocketed Romelu Lukaku throughout the game. Lukaku only managed to hold up the ball and play down a pass once in the first half but was otherwise dominated by the Milan captain despite the result. What did become evident is that the Italy international often has visible vulnerability when he is caught flat footed. This was the case on the corner where he lost his man and we conceded as a result. Moreover, Romagnoli should have done better when defending Sanchez run for the second goal. Both times he was caugth watching the ball and losing his man. He is undoubtedly a top defender but he needs to ensure there are fewer lapses at key moments.

Milan Lost to de Vrij not Inter

This might sound weird but Milan played a much better game overall than Inter and did not deserve to lose. One player stood out for Inter who changed the game and that was de Vrij. Lukaku may win the optics as he was outspoken after the game and he posed for some nice photos but only one Inter player made the real difference. De Vrij kept Inter in the game in the first half as without him Milan could easily be up 5-0 and he covered for Godin’s terrible display for 90 minutes. Moreover, de Vrij unlocked the key goal for Inter that allowed them to settle the game down and run out the clock. He deserves the plaudits for changing the course of a derby but most of Inter’s squad was largely average.