Friday October 5 2018
Slow and steady wins the race

Milan showed character to come back against Olympiacos, leading Matthew Santangelo to believe the Rossoneri are slowly finding their feet.

Gennaro Gattuso and his Milan again entered the season with intentions of qualifying for the Champions League and making an even-deeper run in the Europa League compared to last season, when Arsenal sent them home in the Round of 16. Similarly to last year, the Rossoneri have stumbled out of the gate, labouring to put opponents to bed and turn in a complete 90 minutes. However, during last week’s 4-1 win against Sassuolo, when Gattuso had to cope without his two strikers Gonzalo Higuain and Patrick Cutrone, it forced the rest to step up, sacrifice and finish the match strongly.

In a month loaded with fixtures inside the friendly confines of San Siro, Milan surely must make the most of this set of fixtures and begin positioning themselves amongst their closest rivals in the table for a top-four finish. While many do still consider it to be early in the 2018-19 Serie A campaign, Gattuso knows well enough that his group must show a weekly improvement at this stage of the season and find the form reminiscent to last term, when the gritty Coach took over.

Thursday’s Europa League contest with Olympiacos was yet another test for Milan, not entirely because of the opponents but rather it being a match perhaps used to gauge whether Milan are turning a corner or not.

The Diavolo, unlike at Sassuolo, where they took the lead and added to it, fell behind to the Greek outfit, despite controlling the game. Perhaps this was necessary to humble the Rossoneri and force them into hitting the gas by continuing to push men forward as they trailed at the break. Credit must go to Olympiacos, who did not seem fazed at all by what Milan threw at them and even strung together some decent passing sequences as a means of goal prevention. However, that all changed in the 54th minute, when Gattuso made the required changes by bringing on both Patrick Cutrone and Hakan Calhanoglu.

Gattuso has been criticised for how he’s managed his bench, but the former Italy midfielder realised sooner rather than later that a gaping window presented itself for the two substitutes to have an influence on the outcome.

Cutrone, as opposed to supporting striker Samu Castillejo, provided a real option in the final third to get on the end of crosses, which he did for the equaliser and eventual clincher. Calhanoglu looked more like the playmaker we saw from March onwards; lively on the ball, penetrating the opposing defence with quality balls and service for Higuain to capitalise on for the goal that gave Milan the lead.

Milan held the upper hand and pressed up high throughout the match, but it was the two impact subs who ultimately unlocked the game. It was an encouraging second-half display for the club, who showed they could grab goals quickly and in bunches. But while the result strung together the Diavolo’s first win streak of the season, Gattuso cited a few lingering issues in the background, specifically in midfield and at the back.

Milan still need to sort a few things out defensively in order to rid themselves of the label as the only Serie A side without a clean sheet and be a bit less apprehensive, but the signs are there that Gattuso is slowly beginning to find the right recipe.

Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports and get your first month free. £5.99 thereafter until September with promo code: ITALIA

Have your say...
@better heir

Did you mean Bonucci + 18 Millions (+ 36 Millions) - Higuain/Caldara swap?
on the 11th October, 2018 at 9:42pm
PrimoCalcio is spot on! We're not top 3 although i believe Inter can go into a drought and fall into the 4-7 category. We should just be honest with ourselves and know that we're a 5-7 team with the possibility of 4th instead of 4th with the possibility of 3rd or higher. Times have changed and we're no longer the same Milan and patience is 3-5 years. But club and historical expectations will always haunt these players.
Btw i call even on the Bonucci-Higuain/Caldara swap so far
on the 10th October, 2018 at 5:52pm
Silva wanted to go...let him be. He would not have been top scorer in Serie A anyways. He left for a team much more advanced than ours (playing together longer) and able to supply him better. Higuain is such a world class talent that he can scoring despite just being a newbie and despite the current team really only 1 year old. People fail to realize this squad was only put together one year now. It is still young by age and in terms of years playing together.
on the 10th October, 2018 at 5:48pm
@Maldini's Heir and what was our number 1 priority going into the summer? Finding a consistent source of goals we now have. We dont need a world class side to beat the bottom 10 sides but what we do need to beat them is goals, Higauin has already shown how invaluable he is to our side in the small time he's been here.

@Anon if you think Juve wouldve sold Higauin to us without trading Bonucci that is delusional, the sole reason we got him was because we agreed to take Caldara for Leo.
on the 10th October, 2018 at 3:26pm
@Toby Higuain is on loan for 20m, and you need to pay like 30-40m more to make him permanent. Caldara was the one that got traded for Bonucci. So Juve sold bonucci to Milan for 42m, and bought Caldara for 20m. Then traded Caldara for Bonucci making a 20m profit in the process. So yeah great deal by Juve.
on the 8th October, 2018 at 12:03pm
@ dami It's about priorities. If you haven't got a roof do you a build a basement? I said I'm ok with Higuain (I'm not ok with our lack of pace) but I don't want Milan to add further disruption with Ibrahimovic. This isn't a computer game and it's not how Juve won 7 back to back tittles and counting.
on the 8th October, 2018 at 11:55am
Milan is doing well. Given Inter, Napoli, Lazio and Roma it will be difficult to reach CL this season but the build is there and if the team can be intact for next year then they might be able to challenge. Higuain and Bonucci is a good trade for both. Higuain is probably better suited for a team that is on the rise and Bonucci in Juve is already back at being what he used to be.
Milan is also good for Caldara, after watching him during the Summer he would not have been playing in Juve...
on the 8th October, 2018 at 6:23am
The results are finally coming. Hopefully the coach and the team found that thing, that thing xD
No honestly, Milan lost the spark for years due to many major factors. No team in the world would be in the best shape selling their star players year after year and also go through horrible ownership changes and still perform on top tire level.
Short term solutions would not benefit us.
We need a stability with an experienced coach, new stadium and some extraordinary scout team to find talent etc.
on the 8th October, 2018 at 5:25am
Bonucci wanted out and we needed a striker, we got Higauin, Juve got the CB they needed and we got a young replacement who could become special. I dont see why people are saying Juve won the deal when really it benefitted us both. Theres no way Juve sell us Higuain without Bonucci and whats the point keeping an unhappy player. We have had a great start so far, improving every game and Gattuso has us playing good football. Suso is finally shining now he has someone to create for.

Forza Milan.
on the 7th October, 2018 at 11:13pm
@Maldini's Heir my godness are you ever happy, you would rather we stuck with Silva who was awful for us than sign HIGUAIN, A WORLD CLASS FORWARD. He has transformed our attack and we finally have a killer up front who can finish even a half chance. What winger would 70M get us? I remember you commented about how we shouldve bid for Hazard in a previous thread and that is laughable.

Regards to Caldara Rino is doing well to bed him slowly, the whole deal with Juve was win win for both sides.
on the 7th October, 2018 at 11:10pm
Milan are going nowhere fast.Its a scandal that a once huge side have been in the wilderness for years.Joke coach after joke coach.Mainly unproven ex players.Lets save some money.
on the 7th October, 2018 at 4:25pm
So far juve seem to have the better deal, let see how caldara turns out when he returns from injury. He always played in a back-3 previously, and milanista tend to overhype their players. Ofc for the sake of Italy we’d hope that caldara won’t end up like Rugani.
Anyway besides Milan, Inter and Roma also seem to have turned the corner. I think the race for top 3 will depend on the head to head b/w the big boys.

Still hope someone else other than juve to win the scudetto though.
on the 7th October, 2018 at 1:29pm
@ Anonymous I would've preferred we spent the entire 71m we spent on transfers this summer on the one player that we needed (a pacey left winger) and left the rest of the squad intact. It's not like we also didn't have the current La Liga leading goalscorer. And if we're not prepared to back inexperienced players why do we have an inexperienced manager? Look Higuain was an opportunity we probably couldn't have missed but we can probably stop with him before we bury our best prospect.
on the 7th October, 2018 at 10:34am
I find it terrible when players play for countries because they don't get called up by their national team. I think the only way you should be able to play for a country is if you are either born there or one or both of your parents are that nationality. Players who play friendlies for a country should mean they cant change to another country, this would take away a lot of problems. Players like Vazquez, Costa wouldn't be allowed to do what they have done.
on the 7th October, 2018 at 10:25am
Also why not give Piccini and Caligiuri a chance both play in champions league and regulars for their clubs. There is no way Allen will play for Italy, if he considers this all that will happen is brazil will come in call him up and cap him, this is probably what he is hoping for. I was born in Italy, my father is Italian and my mother is English and a bit Scottish. I love Italy and would only ever play for them if I was a footballer, if Italy didn't call then I would never play for anyone else.
on the 7th October, 2018 at 10:20am
Lets have a blog on mancini s selections. I think its a decent squad. Meret, De sciglio, Conti, Spinnazola, Caldara, Rugani all to come in when fit. Would have liked to see Marchisio, still think he can be useful. Don't understand Politano not been picked. Balo and Belotti shouldn't be there at present, good call here. Giovinco deserves a chance, credit Mancini for this. The under 21 selections in my view much more exciting. Hopefully the performances against Ukraine and Poland will be good.
on the 7th October, 2018 at 10:13am

"Caldara Is valued at no more than 20m to say the best and he reminds me of Cristico"

BAHHAHA him and Romangoli form the center def for Italy for upcoming 10 years, just accept it and troll elsewhere.

Juve made a good deal.. LOL... Even marotta left you for that.
on the 7th October, 2018 at 8:45am
@SandyV...i thought that about biglia last season, but this season game after game he's improved tremendously. He's on the right path to how he used to play for Lazio, unfortunately people use him as a scapegoat but he holds the midfield together.

@maldinisheir..i dont think it was about showing littlw faith in cutrone. Higuain is a world class striker and goals were missing so bad last year. Now cutrone has someone to learn from and we have someone that even on his off game needs 1 chance
on the 7th October, 2018 at 5:21am
Juventus made another wonderful transfer with Milan, exchanging Caldara with Bonucci. Most fans thought Juventus made a shortsighted decision but it’s very wise indeed. I watched a couple of the US tour games and Juventus are too goood for Caldara. Caldara Is valued at no more than 20m to say the best and he reminds me of Cristico
on the 7th October, 2018 at 3:59am
am i the only one that thinks biglia is not that good? for lazio he was great, for milan, he does more bad than good, does anyone agree? Bakayoko definitely does more bad than good... maybe he needs time but
on the 6th October, 2018 at 4:32pm
@primoCalcio, i am completely in tune with you. And this is probably the answer why andre silva didnt work out. But the solution you suggest it only can done by mourinho & conte; two most tactical astitutes.
on the 6th October, 2018 at 10:26am
The 4-4-2 formation is the best for us now or a 4-3-1-2 in the absence of suso.bakayoko should be sent back to chelsea.
on the 6th October, 2018 at 9:46am
That's quite a tight unit. Zapata, Mauri, Montolivo Bertolacci and Borini can just make up the numbers in case of injury. That's not a bad squad. The key is consistency. Cutrone can be chucked on in a 442 if we need a goal and should get 25+ appearances this season starting and off the bench. The last thing we need is a 37 year old Ibra with no pace in an already slow side. Signing him would limit Cutrone's appearance further. The club already showed little faith by signing Higuain.
on the 6th October, 2018 at 3:06am
Milan have been in limbo for years now...and seems will continue to be stuck. If not selection of coaches,then selection of owners,staff, or players.
Now there’s talk of bringing back Ibra...huh idk. Not crazy about it.
on the 6th October, 2018 at 3:05am
For no reason other than stability I'd stick with our relatively established starting 11. Donna, Calabria, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Rodriguez, Biglia , Kessie, Jack, Suso, Hakan and Higuain. It's the first time in a long time I've been able to name Milan's starting 11. After that we have core of players that can make up the regular subs: Caldara (for both CBs), Abate, Laxalt (LB and LW), Bakayoko (all three CM positions), Castillejo (LW and RW and possibly False 9) and Cutrone (across the front 3)
on the 6th October, 2018 at 3:02am
It was a good win for Milan and great to see Cutrone getting on the score sheet again. The squad is not set up for 442 because we only have 2 CFs unfortunately so we'd have no cover. Castillejo is not a CF and it's unfair to judge him being played out of position. Just like Hakan is probably not playing to his potential because he's played out of position. Had we kept Bacca and Silva we could've had a nice combo of strikers but alas the past is the past. The future of this squad is 433.
on the 6th October, 2018 at 2:58am
The problem is your players are terrible. The end.
on the 6th October, 2018 at 1:35am
Considering we have no top class LW and two free-scoring CFs, the 442 might be the way forward for Milan. Or at least a tactical variation from predictable 433.

It looks like Juve, Napoli and Inter will be top 3, so Milan competition for 4th is with Roma, Lazio, Fiorentina.
Gattuso will need to get the best from this squad, plug the goal-leak, and service Higuain properly to do it.

The problem I keep seeing is our shape deteriorates in front of the back 4 and we aren't proactive in defense.
on the 5th October, 2018 at 6:19pm

Post new comment

Your email address is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
If you have your own website, enter its address here.
Maximum 500 characters.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Your responses will be moderated, and sometimes edited, by Football Italia before appearing on the site. Your data may be made public and you accept our Privacy Policy. Please keep your comments clean and try to keep them relevant to the blog above. We reserve the right to reject views that we deem unsuitable for publication.