Sunday September 22 2019
Conte machine crushes Milan

After four rounds, Inter already look like a well-oiled Antonio Conte machine, writes Kaustubh Pandey, but Milan are just going through the motions.

The Derby della Madonnina came early in a season with two new Coaches, but Inter are already leaving Milan in their dust.

The Nerazzurri had a clear plan in mind from the very first minute. They gave the impression of certainty in everything they did. As Milan looked to keep possession and build from the back every single time, Inter launched an aggressive press on them. And it became obvious from the first 10 minutes that Marco Giampaolo had fielded some players who were too static for what is supposed to be a dynamic system on and off the ball.

Nicolò Barella and Stefano Sensi, who had excellent games, pressed along with the front two. They were right at Lucas Biglia’s back whenever he had the ball, and while Stefano Sensi did more of a job on the Argentine, Barella often shuttled wide to close down Ricardo Rodriguez when he got possession.

Hakan Calhanoglu and Suso too were being dealt with very physically. Barella was snapping at everything that looked to pass through midfield and Suso was either kept away from the ball or outmuscled by Marcelo Brozovic and Kwadwo Asamoah.

As Milan struggled to build from the back every single time, they too often pressed with the front three of Rafael Leao, Krzysztof Piatek and Suso. They virtually played with a 4-3-3 instead of a 4-3-1-2, as Leao looked really bright whenever he got on the ball and unleashed a burst pace on the Nerazzurri backline.

Inter kept a very high line to restrict Milan from playing out from the back, forcing Piatek, Suso and Leao to almost play on the halfway line. Whenever Leao got on a Gigio Donnarumma long ball, Diego Godin was always on his back trying to keep him down. But the Milan summer signing showed a good turn of pace to get away from the Uruguayan and provide some sparks in the first half.

Inter looked like a proper unit. They forced Milan into playing backpasses and closed down midfield passing lanes that could’ve helped Giampaolo’s cause. Conte’s men did everything in near-perfect cohesion. The backline and the wing-backs moved about like a well-oiled engine and the midfield pressed in wonderful fashion in the first half.

Having said that, Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez often seemed to be on different wavelengths. The regulatory, Conte-esque short passes from the wing-back to the front two often broke down due to that. But when they worked out, Milan had problems.

The lack of balance in midfield was again seen whenever Inter came forward. While Biglia didn’t have too bad a game, he was sometimes too static and immobile. Franck Kessie had to cover up a lot at the back, but was forced into playing few forward passes. This lack of balance saw Donnarumma save his side twice, but the young Italian was sometimes too hesitant to take the direct route and always preferred to keep the ball on the ground. Especially on a day when Leao was looking good, long balls towards him could have been an option.

Having come close in the first half, Inter broke the deadlock in the 49th minute. It was a normal set-piece routine which saw the free-kick being taken short to Brozovic. The Croatian was not closed down properly by a single Milan player despite being in acres of space to take a punt at goal. Taking a deflection, the shot went in.

From then on, it was a proper Conte game and the 1-0 scoreline played into his hands.

Inter backed away from pressing too much after the first goal and came deeper, allowing Milan to come forward. As much as a normal Giampaolo side would relish the prospect of being handed possession, the Rossoneri looked short of ideas and resorted to sideways passes.

There seemed to be little penetration for Milan until Theo Hernandez came on for Ricardo Rodriguez (who seemed too slow and was defensively poor) and Lucas Paqueta replaced Calhanoglu.

As expected, Conte decided to stretch the Milan backline with the introduction of Matteo Politano in the last 15 minutes. Inter converted to a 3-4-3 shape, with Barella oscillating between the left side and No 10. It was from the left that Barella floated in a cross for Lukaku’s looping header to end the game.

Ante Rebic too came on, but it became another familiar lesson for Milan. The substitutes had made more impact on the game than the starting XI combined and Giampaolo really needs to get his selection right against Fiorentina.

Milan had only a single shot on target and the lack of balance is making it easy to play through them at the moment. There is no cohesion and there is a need for more dynamic players like Ismael Bennacer, Paqueta, Theo Hernandez, Rebic and Leao to start.

For Inter, they already look like a side that can win the Scudetto. Diego Godin had an impressive game. He did look short of pace sometimes, but he was immense when playing deeper. His presence alongside Milan Skriniar and Stefan de Vrij has made Inter the best defensive side in the league. There seems to be a sense of collectiveness about this team already.

It has only been four games and Conte has made Inter look like a machine. Quite the opposite is the case for Giampaolo, as the grinding of the gears when Milan try to build moves is positively painful.

Have your say...
/Jack somoeone has to leftout and someone has to be taken endear; so i choose bigilia to settle down in the deep. Rw Rebic for pure attacking intent on the right or centre instead of piatek St Piatek Lw Leao or Krunic. Now you can swiftly change the tile one at time but give them time to settle before anything. Giampaolo have two choices : MAKE THINGS AS BEFORE or MAKE IT YOURS SAMPDORIA. Feel. Free.
on the 24th September, 2019 at 9:03am
Let's help giampaolo to draw the book crystal clear. He' is thinking this team best suited for 433. So he driving them roughly to it and it aint working cause there was gattuso bekayako and a certain way. Now he has new signings ready to adapt anyway. Suso will create debate; leave him for while then give him chance to prove the point wrong. Milan have the chance to start afresh with 4 new starters! GK Reina RB Calabria Rcb caldara/duarte Lcb Romagnoli Lb Theo Rcm Ben Nacer Dm Bigilia Lcm Krunic
on the 24th September, 2019 at 8:48am
@AC Milan Fan I don’t think Giampaolo has the guts to play Leao and Rebic together but if he did I would be on board with that partnership. I still prefer pre-Milan Conti to Calabria and hope he gets a run of games to get back on track. I also hope Caldara can come back in and take Musacchio’s place. We have the makings for a good team, Giampaolo just needs to be brave enough to implement it.
on the 24th September, 2019 at 2:06am
Giampaolo didn’t dare play the new signings against Udinese and Inter, now he has nothing to lose he has to play them
on the 23rd September, 2019 at 8:25pm
@Forza AC, I've been over Suso and Calhanoglu for the better part of a year. A agree about Kessie, he doesn't belong in the box. Similar it Mil_Int I think our formation should be:

In the attack Kessie and Bennacer should be hanging back to play deep balls/rotate the ball and let the FBs overlap, with Jack moving in centrally to the top of the box with Paqueta.
on the 23rd September, 2019 at 4:53pm
See what happens when Inter finally get a real coach and get rid of the Argentine peacock.....they start the season with four consecutive wins!
on the 23rd September, 2019 at 1:44pm
Giampaolo gifted this game to Inter by continuing to make baffling choices for his starting 11. Drop Suso, Biglia, Hakan and RR. Replace with Paqueta, Bennacer, Jack/Krunic and Theo. Leao looked fantastic whenever he was able to express himself, quite possibly the only bright spot to the game for us Milanista.
on the 23rd September, 2019 at 1:16pm
@Mil_Int: 100% agree. Particularly on playing Bennacer over Biglia and Paqueta behind the strikers. I would play Leao over Paitek but leave Kessie in instead of Krunic in your formation.
on the 23rd September, 2019 at 12:10pm
Now that Juventus DNA is being built into inter, thanks to an ex Juventus legend, so yeah, I do see them as real challengers for the title, in fact I think they may do it, Juventus are very poor, limping through games at present, and unless it gels quickly could be out of sight, Conte wont lose many games, he learned from Juventus, how to win at all costs.
on the 23rd September, 2019 at 12:03pm
The coach does not know his strongest 11, so tactics are poorly implemented. Suso looks out of place behind the strickers and i'm beginning to wonder what his natural position is. The answer to Milan's woes is contained in the article (There is no cohesion and there is a need for more dynamic players like Ismael Bennacer, Theo Hernandez, Rebic and Leao to start). Use players that can press forward and put the opposition under pressure. Kessie's decision making in the final 3rd is terrible...
on the 23rd September, 2019 at 6:41am
Suso is keeping Milan back. His “talent” only shows up a few times a season and that infrequency is not enough to justify keeping him. Same with Biglia. Get them out!! Milan would look so much better if they lined up like this:

Conti Mussachio Romanogli Hernandez
Krunic Bennacer Bonaventura
Piatek Rebic

Why buy new players if we’re not going to use them? Giampaolo better have the answer to that question or he is out!!
on the 23rd September, 2019 at 1:50am
Great game, great performance, great result for inter. Totally outplayed milan. Agreed that milan is in serious trouble, Giampaolo is gone, but inter couldn't have played much better yet everyone is still writing them off haha we are only going to get better once the team completely gels together too. Exciting times for us interista. Disappointing in CL but Slavia will get more points based on the way they played and Dortmund and Barca are both beatable, look at their league results
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 11:23pm
Sad to see such a huge club stumbling from season to season with little direction

You have to laugh at people who say Italy needs Milan in Europe to save Serie A! They don't belong anywhere near the two European comps and would be far worse than the likes of Napoli and Roma

It was easier than I expected for Inter, and Conte knows how to get a reaction at a new club. They are in serious trouble in the CL, though. However Barca and BD are hardly at their peak either

As for Milan, who knows?
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 10:06pm
What's happening at Milan is very strange.There are 3 players in the squad that have played trequartista before but we abandoned that whole system and transfer market strategy coz our winger can't play that position.It makes no sense.The absence of Jack,Benacer,Krunic is also very worrying. I like Suso but dropping him will be key to our improvement. That, along with starting the new signings. Biglia,Rodriguez,Hakan should never start again.
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 8:30pm
Milan were unbelievably bad, couldn’t create chances and only rely on individual skill. Usually excited for derby win but this time felt like just another win against minor teams. Could’ve been 4-0 or 5-0 if not for the goalpost. Hard to see milan in top 6 w/o drastic changes.
Sensi shined again, but Brozo is the motm. Great passing range, with lucky goal as bonus. Best regista in the league.
Godin is a beast, not inferior to chiellini and younger, quickly forms the best trio CBs in europe.
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 6:48pm
Napoli and Juventus are galaxies ahead of Inter. Milan is the Wolverhampton of Europe - at best.
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 3:48pm
Warning signs are rapidly turning in to hard evidence that Gianpoulo is out of his depth. He will be gone by end of Oct. Biglia and chala were bad last year and are bad today. Milans midfield only funtioned last year with Paquata and Baka but it wasnt enough in the end and then baka left Which is why Bennacer/krunic signing made good sense so why wont he play them or 2 Brazilian Paquata. The changes are obvious if he doesnt make em he will be gone.
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 2:26pm
Milan are in shambles, but it makes me laugh when they say Inter is a Scudetto worthy team. They will finish so many points behind Juventus and Napoli and that's the best case scenario.
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 1:36pm
Amministrazione Milan AC

Vi fate schifo !!
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 10:54am
With inter out of the UCL they may just make a decent play at the Scudetto but they haven't played anyone challenging yet. I still think Napoli are way better.
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 10:40am
We made our path through alright. but that's not an ideal derby either. milan seemed to struck in the road middle through. they brought giampaolo not to run gattusso's half destroyed machine but
to start a new with the help of new signings. but the coach seems to running an empty space shuttle. start engine immediate man with the help of ben nacer from first whistle. not in algorithm borini kessie bigilia kessie ben nacer. real crisis man. take empathy from ever growing neighbour. Forza INTER
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 10:29am

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