Reggina v Milan Post-Match Comments [Dec 13 2012]

Few Short Thoughts:

  • Why did Pazzini start? The system is already built to his strengths. The 4-3-3 that Milan uses focuses on crossing above all else. In fact, Milan as a whole have completed and attempted more crossing passes than any other side in the Champions League in the first phase. Pazzini has connected on zero of these balls with his head, which is his best weapon. Pazzini is a confidence striker, which may explain why he was fielded in this match. That being said, the fact that it took a match against an anemic Torino squad (in which he scored as a result of two individual errors on one play) to get this 2-game streak started. The upside is perhaps this will bring in a run of form. The downside is that we have to cater extra time that should have been used on other players (read: Niang) to get Pazzini firing on all cylinders.
  • I watched three players today. In most matches, if you want to really pay attention to a player, he requires much of your time, especially when the player doesn’t have the ball. When I see reports with 22 ratings of every player on the pitch, I wonder how it’s possible to REALLY pay attention to 22 players with the detail that you would want. For a cursory player ratings system in which nothing of real substance is learned – that’s fine. But if you want to get a good idea for how players are actually playing when they don’t have the ball (90% of the time) then you need to be focused on less players and not more.
  • Today I paid attention to Rodney Strasser’s debut, Rodrigo Ely on Reggina, and M’Baye Niang’s 4 minute duck being broken. Strasser impressed me significantly. His passing still requires an extra but of force and purpose, but that can be trained. His instinct for feeling pressure around him is excellent. He turned out of pressure multiple times, using his body well to shield and expose the first defender. A very promising debut from Strasser.
  • Ely had another story, as he probably doesn’t face the sort of defender that Giampolo Pazzini is too often. Ely was the CB who covered as opposed to stepping up, and his partner, Dario Bergamelli was frequently in charge of stepping out to deny Pazzini the ball when he dropped deep. Ely’s positioning after his partner stepped often left a lot to be desired, he was out of position on Niang’s goal (granted it was on the counter but his positioning was very poor), and he could have done better on Yepes goal, as he was one of two Reggina players who simply didn’t jump high enough to win the ball.
  • Finally, M’Baye Niang caught my eye. Not for his movement (which was Balotelli-esque in it’s sudden bursts of effort and apathy) which was alright, but requires work, but because of his confidence. Niang tried turns, whirls, nutmegs, and everything that you would expect a player used to getting his way with players his age would. Furthering this point, he needs to learn to direct his energy in a better manner, but considering that Niang hasn’t even played a full half of minutes (he’s at 43 minutes or so) he’s put one of his three shots in the back of the net. The finish on his goal was cool, slotted near-side and showed the touch of a much more mature player as he effortlessly directed Emanuelson’s through ball past an onrushing Facchin.

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About Pete Acquaviva

Pete writes about Milan on this blog. Occasionally other things. You would know which of them it is if you've gotten this far.

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