BLOG ITALIA
Monday November 4 2019
Lazio have what Milan need

The elements that allowed Lazio to conquer San Siro after 30 years are also what Milan lack the most, notes Marcello Cossali-Francis.

Yes, they lost and yes, everything seemed to go wrong in the final 15 minutes, but there are signs that this Milan side is capable of good things. The results might not be any better than under Marco Giampaolo, but the performances are most definitely an improvement.

So far this season, Milan have really struggled in the attacking third to create opportunities, let alone score goals. With just 11 in their opening 11 league fixtures and Krzysztof Piatek unable to find that form of last year, being blunt up top has been a frequent accusation, but the Rossoneri did at least create problems for Lazio.

Samu Castillejo was full of energy down the right-hand side before his injury and Hakan Calhanoglu was far more effective in the Number 10 role in the second-half. Theo Hernandez is turning out to be a great signing for Milan, bombing down the left flank at a serious rate of knots, and if he can perfect his final ball, Piatek is bound to get some decent service at last.

Another encouraging sign was the performance of Ismael Bennacer in midfield. He is not the biggest of players physically, but he transitions the ball from midfield to attack nicely and doesn’t take an unnecessary amount of touches either. Benching the Africa Cup of Nations Player of the Tournament was one of the reasons why Milan sacked Marco Giampaolo and it’s easy to see why the club thought picking the Algeria international was a no-brainer.

The obvious problem with Milan remains that lack of a genuine goal-scorer who can turn a half-chance into a decisive finish. Basically, they need their own Ciro Immobile.

He only needed one decent ball from Manuel Lazzari to make his mark on the game, with a lovely glancing header, continuing his brilliant start to the season. Immobile now has 100 goals for Lazio in 147 appearances for the club and his tally of 13 in the league this season is one more than Milan have managed in total. That statistic alone speaks volumes.

Countless times in the game, Milan found themselves in good positions in the final third, but often Piatek’s movement was limited and, in a complete contrast to Immobile, he doesn’t look like he holds that confidence. Milan rely on Piatek for his movement, especially in the box, and there frankly isn’t enough of it.

On top of that, the service to the former Genoa striker is uninspired. So as well as an Immobile, Milan really need a Luis Alberto figure too. The Spaniard’s neat pass created the opportunity that Immobile fired on to the crossbar, then his no-look assist sent Joaquin Correa clear for the winner. He is now up to eight assists in 11 Serie A games, creating another eight big chances as well as making 32 key passes. Lazio light up when Luis Alberto is on form and especially after he moved into the more advanced role he had last season, which only happened at San Siro because of Felipe Caicedo’s shoulder injury.

Simone Inzaghi can no longer complain about strength in depth, because he secured victory once Immobile and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic had left the pitch. On the other hand, Milan lost their way after the substitutions, as Rafael Leao and Ante Rebic struggled to make an impact, in turn leading Piatek to disappear from the game too.

Reassuring talk of there being time to catch up to the Champions League places is all well and good, but with games coming up against Napoli and Juventus, something needs to change very quickly at Milan. The seven times European Cup winners are level with Udinese in 11th place, already eight adrift of the trio in fourth, which now includes Lazio. Might this finally be the season that the Aquile fly into the top tournament after coming so close in recent years?

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Have your say...
How can you make a statement like that when Gaspareni, Inzaghi, not to mention Ancelotti and Conte are all managers doing well at their jobs? What you guys need is a really good manager, of which there are italians to be had, and a better squad. Having a foreign manager won't really change much
on the 4th November, 2019 at 9:17am
keep going keep shuffling up. ben-nacer & theo are clicking up when the others will gain the same intensity and speed like them Milan will be some team to watch. one wonderful thing about ben-nacer is its amazing that a same player who tussle to win the ball and then after gaining it serving it like an attacking midfielder!!!!!!!
on the 4th November, 2019 at 7:47am
As long as a player like Calabria for example (he performs catastrophic whenever I watch him....) is part of our starting eleven or enters the field later later, we will NEVER EVER reach our goals. His quality simply isn`t good enough by far for seria A in Italy.
on the 4th November, 2019 at 6:39am
Can't disagree with a Varsavia, but Pioli has to be given time. I'd say the same for Giampolo but he is not gone. time to build and develop and stop re-building. If we are always starting again we will never get anywhere in the long term
on the 4th November, 2019 at 5:14am
Can't disagree with a Varsavia, but Pioli has to be given time. I'd say the same for Giampolo but he is not gone. time to build and develop and stop re-building. If we are always starting again we will never get anywhere in the long term
on the 4th November, 2019 at 5:14am
It's just a shame that both of them are hopeless in Europe.

Lazio can barely compete in the EL, and Milan are still delusional that they "belong" in the CL. But they've been garbage in Europe for a long time too.

Until Serie A's problems in Europe are solved, the league itself won't have much relevance.
on the 4th November, 2019 at 4:35am
@ a Varsavia

Italian coaches have been the most in-demand coaches for quite some time.
on the 4th November, 2019 at 4:29am
wear 1-11. That is silly but it points to a simple fact: Milan does not know what their starting line up is. I can still name the starting line ups for some of the greatest teams in history. That is why they were some of the greatest teams in history. Until we know who we are, until we know who is taking the corner, we will keep finding problems and we will never find solutions.
on the 4th November, 2019 at 4:22am
A few other observations.
a) Lazio had players like Radu and Lulic who had 11 and 8 years at the club respectably. Milan have no such players because of our huge player turnover.
b) MIlan have no fixed set piece taker: different players take corners, free kicks and even penalties. How can a side ever have any certainty when it doesn't even know these basic roles?
c) (This is a silly one but I think is telling) Donnarumma wears 99, Duarte wears 43, Krunić 33 and Paquetá 39 and very few players
on the 4th November, 2019 at 4:20am
sense when you consider Milan now only have one CF: Piatek. Rather than selling our only other CF (and fan favourite and the heart and soul of the team) we could have sold any one of our floaty-bitty-technical players with the obvious choice being Çalhanoğlu (we could at least get back to enjoying him scoring free kicks elsewhere). Meanwhile we don't need Suso AND Castillejo AND Rebić so we could've saved ourselves 5m on a totally pointless signing and saved Rebić's from becoming another victim
on the 4th November, 2019 at 4:12am
who basically canceled each other out. Krunic, Paqueta and Calhanoglu are basically variations on the same theme. They are all technical, slow players who like to float a bit. It's good to have one of those. Not three. In contrast Kessie provides physical strength and Leao provide pace. So why don't we play players who compliment each other's characteristics rather than mirror them? This lack of logic permeates the whole squad. Not to mention the C word but the sale of Cutrone makes even less
on the 4th November, 2019 at 4:07am
these last season. And that is the crux of Milan's problem for the past 8 years. Every time we solve one problem, be it signing Bonucci or the Atalanta contingent or the plethora of strikers we have signed or numerous sort-of-No 10s, we create another problem. And that is because we have never had a properly targeted transfer market. Each season we add 4 to 5 or 10 new players rather than targeting the one or two areas that needed strengthening. The starting line up for Milan had three players
on the 4th November, 2019 at 3:58am
and are now problems. One solution we did find this season was Leao but he (for some reason) has been frozen out in favour of the untouchable and borderline unwatchable Calhanoglu (who I will once again note has forgotten how to score free kicks since he arrived at Milan and would welcome anyone to provide an explanation for that). Looking at the team we apparently need a new CB, new RB, new RCM, new LCM, new RW, new LW and new CF. Lots and lots of problems when we had find solutions to many of
on the 4th November, 2019 at 3:54am
decent job. On the other side of the pitch Rodriguez, Paqueta and Calhanoglu had formed a decent partnership down the left albeit lacking pace. The weakest link was Calhanoglu and he seems to be the last one to keep his place. Rodriguez went backwards (and is a shadow of the player he was in Germany) and has been replaced with the better Theo. Paqueta now plays at RCM (for some reason) and is a shadow of the player he was when he arrived. Indeed him and Piatek had been two solutions in January
on the 4th November, 2019 at 3:51am
poor on the first goal and I don't see how Musacchio has forgotten how to defend. Calabria had a good season last season and now seems to have gone backwards. Indeed Calabria, Kessie and Suso had formed a decent partnership down the right. Now Kessie's been moved to LCM (for some reason) or the bench. Suso has gone from providing the second most assists in Serie A to being booed even when he scores winning free kicks. We obviously lost Bakayoko but in fairness Bennacer seems to be doing a
on the 4th November, 2019 at 3:48am
A defeat to Lazio can happen. And it wasn't a bad performance. But when I look at this Milan team I just see problems. I see problems that weren't problems previously and I see new problems. And I don't see many solutions. Last season Gattuso had solved some problems. The defence conceded 36 goals so was the 4th best defence in Serie A. Therefore the CB pairing of Musacchio and Romagnoli seemed to be working. This season it stopped working and now we have to solve a problem at CB. Duarte was
on the 4th November, 2019 at 3:43am
Does anybody think choke-artist Ciro Immobile would score in this Milan? Cutrone did not score enough last season. Bacca did not score enough. Piatek does not score. Andre Silva didn't score. Higuain didn't score. The problem is not the personnel.
on the 4th November, 2019 at 2:44am
I'm afraid quality of Italian coaches is the song of the past. Aspiring team like Milan should hire foreign coach.
on the 4th November, 2019 at 1:29am

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