Sunday September 10 2017
Wk3: Testing Times

Milan failed their first test with Lazio, but there were negatives and positives for Juventus, Napoli and Inter too, writes Susy Campanale.

We are now three rounds into the season and only three teams maintain their 100 per cent record: Inter, Juventus and Napoli. All the sides have faced some sort of test that would’ve tripped them up in the past and given a response, whether negative or positive.

I wrote before the break for international duty that Milan had not truly been tested yet. That changed at the Olimpico and boy did they fail that exam. Ciro Immobile bagged a hat-trick and set up Luis Alberto for a 4-1 victory, all done without Lazio’s biggest talent, Felipe Anderson. The Aquile keep on flying below the radar and swooping when you least expect it, deservedly beating Juventus for the Italian Super Cup and now Milan. Don’t rule them out of the race for a top four finish.

Simone Inzaghi has created a team and so far you cannot say Vincenzo Montella has done the same – but then, most wouldn’t expect him to. Rossoneri supporters, so starved of reasons to brag for years, went overboard with the summer of spending. After one defeat, many are already calling for Montella’s head. Some realism is required here, as one match does not make for a disaster, nor a triumph.

Montella implied his next move is to adopt a three-man defence, which better suits Leonardo Bonucci’s skill-set. This just means more delays before we see the ‘real’ Milan and therefore more complaints calling him a flop. Prepare for a rough ride.

This is precisely the sort of thing Inter used to do, assuming a great deal of money and 11 new players every year would automatically guarantee a Champions League spot, then throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Instead, this season the Nerazzurri have built smart, adding to the defence where they were lacking and keeping hold of key figures like Ivan Perisic and Mauro Icardi. I thought Milan Skriniar was overpriced, but in today’s market he is proving to be an excellent signing and a massive improvement from Jeison Murillo.

You cannot say Luciano Spalletti’s men haven’t been tested, getting the better of Fiorentina, Roma and a well-organised Spal side who had been unbeaten thus far. Juventus are on a 100 per cent record, but have they faced a genuine trial of their capabilities? Not really. The results have been very impressive, but the performances, not so much. If Inter are reliant on Icardi, then what are Juve with Paulo Dybala? The massive squad rotation against Chievo on Saturday only served to highlight how large the gap is between the first choices and their understudies. There’s Barcelona coming up in the Champions League on Tuesday and Max Allegri is going to have to step up several gears.

Napoli haven’t taken on a tough opponent yet, but their problem was always grinding out results against smaller sides and it looks like they’ve finally got that sorted out. Maurizio Sarri famously has slow starts to a season, so picking up where he left off with 10 consecutive competitive victories – including a club record eight in Serie A – suggests the Partenopei really are to be taken seriously as Scudetto contenders.

You need good fortune to get results in Italy and so far it has abandoned Benevento. Le Streghe might wonder if they are cursed or just hopelessly naïve, wasting numerous chances yet again only to concede a last-gasp goal against Torino. Atalanta found their luck, fighting back to defeat Sassuolo, while Fiorentina ran riot at the Bentegodi. Maybe we finally know why Antonio Cassano bailed on Hellas Verona.

Udinese also got off the mark thanks also to Andrea Bertolacci’s studs-up red card offence. VAR continues to play a role in this campaign and we can only hope the teething problems are worked out soon, because it cannot take five minutes to spot whether a foul was inside the penalty area or if a knee-high tackle warranted a red card.

We are in 2017 and modern life creeps in to the sport. Cagliari made a mockery of Roma’s stadium saga by building the Sardegna Arena in 157 days. The Rome council has been an embarrassment this weekend too, as flash floods ground the city to a halt, yet weather warnings urging people not to travel unless there was an emergency apparently didn’t apply to a football match. Confused messages, different committees giving conflicting reports on what to do with Lazio-Milan and public safety shoved aside when it came to saving the fixture list – the Capital really is a chaotic place to work in.

Have your say...
decent article Susy....while Juve haven't been tested all that much, their comeback from 2-0 down against Genoa to win 4-2 definitely deserves to be mentioned...
on the 14th September, 2017 at 12:50am

None of the ones you mention even plays for the National while ALL ours do.

Are you seriously thinking your youth is better then Milans at the moment?

We had 18(!!) players called up last international, EXCLUDING romangoli.

Dude, stop talking.
on the 12th September, 2017 at 7:40pm
I highly doubt Montella had a say in any of the players that joined. He's not that dumb to have asked for a squad of average random players.
on the 12th September, 2017 at 6:32pm
@viktor Terrible Inter??!! Than with ur logic what should have been called Disastrous Milan!! In this whole decade Inter has always been superior & on top of Milan except for a couple of seasons. Having unnecessarily so many youth academy players in the squad who are mediocre and hoping to play as kaka is laughable (remember Mastour) Inter believes in bringing up only world class youth players like we have now in our squad (Pinamonti, VanHeusden, Karamoh,Gnoukouri, Skirniar)see the difference?
on the 12th September, 2017 at 5:43pm
Forgot to add Suso in my lineup! Sinful.
on the 12th September, 2017 at 3:09pm
All that money spent and Montolivo still makes the team but even worse you have Borini that could not start at Sunderland starting for Milan. When he made changes it was best player Suso and leading goal scorer Curtone that go off. The kid will now be thinking if he does not score he'd be sacrificed denting his confidence and why is Silva not playing? New project or not you do not concede so many chances against Cagliari and Lazio if you have a good coach. Montella reminds me of Deschamps
on the 12th September, 2017 at 2:47pm
@Dami yours were the biggest overreacting comments on Ventura. Maldinis heir is right as he can see Montella is incompetent and not waiting until it's too late to start criticising. Marquee purchase is best in a 3 man defence but he is put in aback 4. It was clear when a limited side like Cagliari created many chance against this side that the tactics were wrong. Fast fwd to 2nd 1/2 against Lazio and still the same side and tactics were continued. Immobile was made to look a world beater.
on the 12th September, 2017 at 2:40pm
@Interello Stop bragging about your terrible inter who's been terrible for years just like our Milan. Lets just go over what you said, Milan always have youngster from our academy. Well currently we have some pretty damn impressive youngster, DOnnarumma, Romangoli, Conti, Locatelli, Cutrone, Calabria, (3 of them going to be starters most likely for wc18) We had some record the other weak with 18(!) players called up to INTERNATIONALS, how many did you have...
on the 12th September, 2017 at 6:53am

Next time read he's entire post, he brought up milan as a reference point to an overpayed quad
on the 12th September, 2017 at 6:50am

Lol, could have got for 160 and average signings....

You have absolutely no idea on what your talking about do you.

Go away.
on the 12th September, 2017 at 6:48am
Provided everyone's fit for the next Serie A match I'd like to see 352:
Musacchio, Bonucci, Romagnoli;
Conti, Kessi, Biglia, Bonaventura, Rodriguez;
Kalinic, Silva/Cutrone
on the 12th September, 2017 at 4:00am
@Anonymous whoah there nutty prof whoah!!! Your comparing your points against the #1 team on the planet right now which is REAL MADRID!!!!! WHICH may I add Juve lost to an impeccable team may I say so.Yer point is completely irrelevent.
on the 12th September, 2017 at 12:14am
Milan spent 230 million or so... but Kessie and Andre Silva have the potential to be sold for 80+ million each in this inflated market if Milan find they need money and Donna is worth another 80 million so don't worry about their finances, do worry about their lack of IDENTITY!!! Whereas Inter's tradition is in its name, INTERNATIONAL, Milan had pride in youth and homegrown greats, I can see no Maldini, Baresi, Costacurta, Albertini, Gattuso, Pirlo, Inzaghi... except DONNA who wants to leave!!!
on the 11th September, 2017 at 11:25pm
Sarri was the best choice. I was disappointed he was hired over Montella/Eusebio when Benitez left. Definitely wrong in hindsight.
on the 11th September, 2017 at 11:22pm
I agree With MHeir's criticisms, they are all quite fair. Getting torn up by Immobile like that was embarrassing. Milan failed to land a LW after letting Niang go, so say goodbye to 433. 352 is likely the way forward. Montella's post match words were weak.

If Milan is to compete with Inter and Roma we will need to shape up quick. Bonucci must answer his critics and begin to lead on the pitch. I believe we can recover from this and go on to push for the top 4 once everyone is fit.
on the 11th September, 2017 at 11:19pm
my team played well {napoli}. but ccredit must be given to bologna they were well organised.
on the 11th September, 2017 at 9:57pm
of the squad. The squad at Montella's disposal should be enough to qualify for the a top 4. However if he continues with the tactical failings we saw on Sunday then this squad will go nowhere. This really all comes down to the manager. A top manager can win with any squad. Montella better turn this around or else he should go.
on the 11th September, 2017 at 9:35pm
@ Alex Gu and Anonymous I agree with your comments about the transfers but I am not going to criticise the owner who spent over 200m and I'm prepared to give Fassone and Mirabelli the benefit of the doubt. Ultimately they delivered the transfers that Montella wanted. The biggest weakness in the squad is probably the lack of natural cover for Kessie which Kucka could've provided. Montella must have approved the the sale of Kucka. The window is shut and it falls on the manager to get the best out
on the 11th September, 2017 at 9:33pm
@damiYou Without stepping on the field, Milan was granted top4 solely based on the mercato. On paper they are strong, the papers flare up because a defense like milans should not allow 4 goals in 12 mins. I think this should be more about how much of a dark house Lazio is and has been for last 1-2 years. Rather than how much time Milan still needs. The positive, Milan paper squad is simply too good to be a failure like in past years. Coaching will make the difference.
on the 11th September, 2017 at 8:27pm
We lose one game and here comes the negativity. Classic calcio overreacting just like with the NT. If this loss causes Montella to finally bin the 433 for 352 or 3421 then I will take it. With 3atb we can reach T4 no doubt. We're 3 games into the Serie A season lets not lose our heads already.
on the 11th September, 2017 at 6:37pm
Months in planning LOL! Keep telling yourself that. You wasted 230+ million on players that should've cost you a total of 150m. You didn't plan anything, it took nearly a year to sell the club to some shady businessman that has no money and had to raise funds from multiple shady sources, then you wasted all that money on a bunch of random average players. Your club will default by next summer.
on the 11th September, 2017 at 4:46pm
@some anon
As the only Italian able to go deep in CL and the most represented club in national competitions despite losing our best players on a yearly basis, I'm sticking to my statement.

Inter once had nothing after 2010 and now Icardi, Milan chaos all off the field and still have no true leaders on it after getting Bonucci, Sarri at best the hipster's choice and Roma are Roma. Forget the league where none of the pretenders last the marathon, they better do something in Europe for once.
on the 11th September, 2017 at 3:47pm
@viktor, read next time, Inter2010 was responding to a Milan fan criticizing Inter.
on the 11th September, 2017 at 3:11pm
@Anonymous. Not a single Milan director, coach, player or real fan thought or said Milan would be fighting for the title. You're just creating sayings to back up your baseless argument. No strategy? Milan bought full backs (needed), centre backs (much needed), central midfielders (desperately needed) and forwards - badly needed. Most of the transfers were months in planning. Kalinic cost milan only a few more millions that Andre Gray...stop with your tripe.
on the 11th September, 2017 at 3:10pm
@Inter2010 Focous on your own game. Why are you even talking about Milan when that was clearly not the topic.
on the 11th September, 2017 at 1:34pm
@Alex Gu

Cute... hating as soon as you get a chance. Stop this nonsense milan have done great so far.. in every aspect.
on the 11th September, 2017 at 1:31pm
Everybody said Milan bought well or they'll challenge for the Scudetto and win the EL, but it was clear from the first moment their transfer campaigned lacked any sort of strategy. Even Schevchenko said so. They just bought like 13 random players, many of them unnecessary and overpriced, like Kalinic for example. He's the definition of an overpriced unneeded player.
on the 11th September, 2017 at 1:26pm
'Spal were extremely unlucky'? more chances created, more shots, more possession, this fella must have watched different game. I would prefer to give credit to SPAL, they might be promoted team, but they play at the level of Sampdoria and Torino. Hey they did manage to hold Lazio at Olimpico, did a lot better than Milan's 230 Million squad
on the 11th September, 2017 at 12:33pm
@Interello. Quite a lot of groans suggests otherwise. The Inter midfield at no stage looked in control. I definitely didn't see the dalbert vs Lazzari 'duel' as a good battle, especially as one skinned the other multiple times, barring a couple of last ditch slide tackles to save yet another cross being put into the box. But he wasn't helped by perisic and gagliardini either. The midfield was slow and laboured and lost possession way too easily.
on the 11th September, 2017 at 12:22pm
@Critter. 3 goals scored per game and only 2 goals conceded. When you take into account players coming back from international duty, 3 goals vs a well organised donadoni side is more than what most would've expected. Napoli looked wonderful vs Nice in the qualifiers. For me, they're the only side who've basically kicked the campaign off with the same brand. Whether the squad is deep enough to win trophies, I'm not sure.
on the 11th September, 2017 at 12:18pm

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