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Monday February 23 2015
Bonaventura provides breathing room

Giacomo Bonaventura’s strike and Giampaolo Pazzini’s penalty gave Filippo Inzaghi a little bit of breathing room, writes Sam Lewis.

With rumours flying around about his future, Filippo Inzaghi must have been relieved to be able to simply do his job as Milan lined up against Cesena looking to pick up their second win of 2015. He must have been even more relieved when Bonaventura’s low finish rattled past Nicola Leali to give the Rossoneri a lead. The full-time whistle following Pazzini’s penalty probably had the former striker walking on air.

“We’re happy, but we’ve done nothing yet,” a determined Inzaghi told Press following the game.

He’s right – a win against 19th placed Cesena, a club just six points above the newly bankrupt Parma, won’t be the victory that keeps him in a job. It is a start though, and with upcoming games against 16th placed Chievo, 15th placed Verona and 18th placed Cagliari making three out of the next four match-ups, the Diavolo have the chance to build some momentum. A spring stretch that includes the Milan derby, both high flying Genoan sides, Roma and Napoli is on the horizon and the Milan that has showed up so far in 2015 would almost certainly fail to meet even the least optimistic fan’s expectations.

A return to a three man midfield benefited the Rossoneri, who also managed to get a cohesive performance from captain Riccardo Montolivo and Nigel de Jong, who put in another impressive showing that should remind Adriano Galliani that the Dutchman should be given a new contract as quickly as possible.

In front of the Montolivo-Andrea Poli-De Jong triumvirate, Bonaventura was decisive as the trequartista behind Jeremy Menez and Mattia Destro. Milan have often struggled linking midfield and attack spanning back to Massimiliano Allegri’s tenure and the Kevin Prince Boateng experiment, and the former Atalanta man was effective in that regard. Bonaventura, an intelligent and forward thinking midfielder who is able to accurately distribute the ball from an advanced position, gives Milan a promising dynamic.

The addition of a goal from the midfielder - his fourth of the season - displays the versatility that has become invaluable to Filippo Inzaghi, a Coach who despite the tactical shifts has always found space for the Italian. As his role continues to develop, so will the beneficiaries –Destro, a player reliant on service, will no doubt be on the receiving end of the chances created by the 25-year-old.

Destro is still finding his feet at Milan, after receiving through balls from Francesco Totti, Miralem Pjanic and Kevin Strootman it’s not difficult to imagine the comparatively threadbare creativity at San Siro having an impact on the striker’s production.

Inzaghi’s words about Destro rang a touch hollow - “probably needs a little time to get into our tactical system” – a striker in the former Siena man’s style requires little tactical development, but would perhaps benefit from having a less headstrong partner up front than the oft-selfish Menez. The Frenchman choosing to pursue personal glories over finding teammates has been a criticism that has followed the former Roma winger around his entire career, and he was once again guilty on Sunday.

Regardless of the kinks that are still on display, a long overdue victory gives Milan - and their embattled Coach - a bit of respite. For now, at least.

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Have your say...
@Maldini's Heir

Def not the player that will bring milan to the top but for now he'll do.

I do think hes selfish and I would like to see if a better coach could make him more of a team player, lets all agree hes pace is insane, when he takes a few sprints it kind of reminds me of kakas old burst, and for the love of god, I AM NOT saying he is anywhere near kaka but the boy can run, he get proper tripped, most of any player every game.

I want more from Destro already tho.
on the 25th February, 2015 at 3:50am
I'm somewhere between Viktor and All Sports Are Fixed. I still cannot decide whether I like Menez. I was obviously underwhelmed by his purchase but he has done well this season. It's good to have a player whose penalties count! My feeling (and it's just a feeling not based on any evidence) is that he's the right player for where Milan currently are - a mid-table team. I don't think he'll be the player to return Milan to the top. Happy to be proved wrong
on the 24th February, 2015 at 11:10pm
@All Sports Are Fixed

You're a milan fan but wanna remove the third best goal scorer in the league? TONS of players have no heart, if they score they should play. period.
on the 24th February, 2015 at 8:57pm
Honda I think is a very over rated player. Cerci should be on the pitch in place of him. Menez is ok but very inconsistent and lacks heart. As I a Milan fan I prefer the 4-4-2 formation always or Capello's old 9-1 or 1-9 formation. Looking at Milan's attack, the midfield is always to far back and out of position when their forwards are to far up. The squad is not on the same page.
on the 24th February, 2015 at 1:41pm
@All Sports Are Fixed

Erhmm.. and he should play a head of menez, or lead scorer? Cerci is not in shape, if he gets in shape it would be a different story, absurdly enough we have tons of fairly good midfielder and picking our 3-4 is hard.
on the 24th February, 2015 at 12:15am
@eric star fury

Lets agree that menez 13 or 12 goals also might have had some with milans very very weak but still performance..
on the 24th February, 2015 at 12:13am
@ eric star fury Spot on. Liverppol have made one change to their back 3 in the last 7 games and have kept 6 clean sheets in the last 10. Can Milan now do the same?

@ Al Sports Are Fixed Allow us to enjoy one victory. Cerci didn't start because Inzaghi has too many options on the bench. Who exactly should Cerci have started ahead of? The leading goalscorer Menez? Our player of the season and the player who was decisive Bonaventura? Drop one of our 3 midfielders? Don't play with CF?
on the 23rd February, 2015 at 11:22pm
Milan just won a game against a bad team and barely! Leaving Cerci on the bench makes no sense and Inzaghi is in fantasy land.
on the 23rd February, 2015 at 2:06pm
Great to see a clean sheet. Bonera showed again that if he plays at right back he's ok. Realistically this Milan should be looking for a minimum of 7 points from the games against Chievo, Verona and Cagliari. Either way I cannot see Inazghi being there next season. Whether the people really responsible are still there is anyone's guess. Looks like our white knight from Thailand has been turned down.
on the 23rd February, 2015 at 11:25am
For those who complain about rotation this is yet another example bocchetti and rami as a cb pairing won't last past the summer that even if they start the next game. As for the game against cessena milan were still poor they just had individual quality to win which has been the problem all season. as for bonaventura he for me has been milan best player this season just purely down to his reliability.
on the 23rd February, 2015 at 10:36am

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