When Milan supporters took a glance at the slew of matches their Rossoneri were to finish the first half of the 2018-19 Serie A season with, the general feeling was a positive one despite the injuries that have plagued Gennaro Gattuso’s squad. Yet, as a result of a slim roster, both in talent and able bodies, and the lingering tendencies to produce consistent results worthy of a 1xbet code, it has been made clear that the Champions League hopefuls cannot be counted out to drop the ball with their friendly schedule to close out the year.
After the Italian giants bowed out of the Europa League last Thursday at the hands of Olympiacos, there was a certain curiosity surrounding Milan and their plans to respond against Bologna at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara. Last night’s reply, however, was anything but the answer supporters were looking in the scoreless draw, a microcosm of Milan’s season to date; sporadic in form, diminishing attacking ideas and the steep toll taken from injuries.
Parallels can be drawn between the loss to Olympiacos and draw with Bologna, and in many ways, were mirror-images of one another. Unimaginative and uninspiring, yet still deploying an adequate amount of talent to get the job done, Gattuso’s approach versus the league’s 18th positioned side left plenty to be desired and was far too pedestrian for what talent was on the pitch.
Captain Alessio Romagnoli returned to his rightful spot in the back anchoring the defence after Ignazio Abate served honorably as an emergency centre-back – and turned in an encouraging shift off an injury. But that is where the positives end.
Dominating possession (72 per cent-28 per cent) and doubling Pippo Inzaghi’s side in shots (18-9) obviously does not paint the full picture, like statistics fail to do in many cases.
Through the midfield of Franck Kessie and Tiémoué Bakayoko lies a lack of a real creative presence, not that it should vital to break down, but clearly effected Milan from playing with an effective attacking mindset. Even wide men Hakan Calhanoglu and Suso failed to muster up anything of note as the side’s two expected creative plugs. Patrick Cutrone and Gonzalo Higuain, who hasn’t found the back of the net in nearly two months, were left to fend for themselves as proper service failed to arrive. Bologna’s game-plan clearly catered to conceding the bulk of possession and absorbing pressure, which enabled the Rossoblu to stay compact and rule out a magical moment from Milan’s lone creative spark in Suso.
You can point to the creativity deficit, lacking end product or Gattuso unveiling limitations in his attacking approach as the cause for the disappointing result. In the end, it boils down to the fact that Milan aren’t showing the same ferocity and ambition required of a team vying for a top four finish that we saw in large amounts last season when Gattuso first took over; that falls on the manager.
Even with injuries stacking the odds against them to qualify for the Champions League as a result of misfortune, the mentality must remain the same for Milan, especially when presented the opportunity to separate from the likes of Lazio and Roma who, by way of their own erratic form, are opening the door to take firm control of fourth.
But as mundane and middle-of-the-road as Milan have been through 16 matches, they still find themselves two points clear of Lazio for the final UCL spot, and only five from rivals Inter who sit third. Be that as it may, at some point, Milan cannot bank on their competition’s own shortcomings to keep them in the thick of things. But instead, use abysmal performances, and the critical points regularly being left on the pitch, as motivation to regroup before luck runs out.