AC Milan picked up an unexpected but crucial three points in one of the best team performances in years to dent Lazio's title hopes in a 3-0 win at the Olimpico. The victory dealt Lazio their first home loss of the season. Here's our review of the game:
Defensive Synergy and Awareness
Kjaer and Romagnoli at the heart of defence brings some composure to the back line and the organisation has been impeccable. Although, I have been very critical of Andrea Conti in the past, but that one move where he played Lazzari offside cutting back into the line at the last moment was divine. His best moment in a red and black shirt, he has shown growth and more understanding on the defensive phase which is key if he is to have a future here. Overall, the defence kept Lazio quiet throughout despite the absence of Immobile and Caicedo. That block of Kjaer-Romagnoli-Kessie-Bennacer is immense.
Theo Hernandez Sparking Up Again
It has been quite clear that Theo has been under-performing since the resumption of football as he has looked slow and lost. Overall, he has looked lethargic especially against AS Roma and SPAL. He turned this around against Lazio with some blistering runs through the middle and some clever play with Rebic and Calhanoglu. He could have easily scored two goals in this game but his finishing let him down, the important aspect was his ability to find space and exploit it with his speed. Defensively, he did not have much work but seemed to hold up well enough. The next three weeks will be a major test as we face ultra attacking sides (Juventus) who hit on the coutner (Napoli and Parma).
Saelemaekers Giving Milanisti Something To Think About
The Belgian winger was redeemed last week and Milanisti were puzzled. Since then, he has played two significant shifts with 73 minutes against SPAL off the bench and his first start and 90 minutes against Lazio. The young winger saved a point against SPAL when he forced an own goal after a strong low cross into the box pushed Vicari to hit the ball into his own goal. The Lazio game saw him cut loose an exploit his speed to the team’s benefit. He out in decent crosses when not under pressure, the first was nicely tapped in by Ibrahimovic but ruled offside. Another cross, won a penalty after it struck Radu’s arm. He has now directly contributed to two goals in the past two games. This coupled with his intense work rate is giving Milan a good option on the right wing.
Rebic’s Streak Continues
It was a shock that Milan’s top scorer was being benched against one of the toughest opposition but Stefano Pioli seems to have a good reason. The swap of Ibrahimovic to Rebic changed Milan’s tactics from high crosses to low balls through the centre in the second half. Rebic has been clinical and is getting much better at finding gaps in the box. He moved very well in the box and Bonaventura did exceptionally well to deliver the pinpoint pass through a crowded box to find him. Rebic added a dimension of dribbling and a more direct threat on goal, he almost set up Theo to score with a smooth one-two but the defender missed his shot. That's 10 goals in all competitions for the Croatian.
Bennacer Growing In Influence
As much as I would like to talk about Kessie again, I believe Bennacer too deserves some credit. His passing and distribution has been close to flawless as he effectively moves the ball and keeps the game flowing. The anchoring of Kessie has freed up the Algeria international allowing him to make deep runs down the wings and through the middle offering a new dimension to the team’s play that Lazio were not prepared for. On the defensive end, the chemistry between Kessie and Bennacer is fantastic and the duo are strong, fast and fearless thus they have bossed the midfield in past weeks.