Milan v Cagliari Post-Match Comments [Sep 26 2012]

Milan – 4-3-3: Abbiati, Abate, Bonera, Mexes, De Sciglio, Traoré, De Jong, Montolivo, Emanuelson, El Shaarawy, Pazzini.

Cagliari – 4-3-3: Agazzi, Perico, Rossettini, Astori, Pisano, Dessena, Conti, Nainggolan, Thiago Ribeiro, Ibarbo, Pinilla.

Mauro Tassotti got his chance on the bench and didn’t disappoint. Pazzini played as a target man, and dropped back towards midfield, leaving El Shaarawy and Emanuelson free to roam.


MilanvCagliari1 Milan v Cagliari Post Match CommentsMilan v Cagliari – Milan Movement Zones

The Good –

El Shaarawy – The Pharaoh came into his own today with a mature display. Composed when he needed it most, his performance today was of a different class than the rest of his season. His first goal was the result of Cagliari’s defensive line not stepping together, and the LB held him on sides. Nonetheless, he continued his run, and deserved the finish.

The Result – Finally. Knew Inter wouldn’t break the curse without Milan’s intervention.

The Formation Shift – Tassotti made use of his ability to make changes and shifted the formation with Constant’s introduction to the recently used 4-2-3-1 variant. It worked well, and provided more balance against the 4-3-3, giving Milan a man advantage in the center of the park, which allowed them to keep positional advantage over their counterparts when they tried to counter.

The Bad –

Play Labored in the Second Half – The urgency was gone for most of the second half, and the difference from the first half was noticeable. This may be in part due to the fact they knew they didn’t have to score, merely hold their advantage, however, at 1-0 and considering recent results – more urgency may have been needed. Nonetheless, it was enough.

The Environment – The Curva Sud got back to singing. But before they did – the fans were very upset. As noted by Anthony Lopopolo who attended the match, there were jeers throughout the match, in particular directed at Montolivo, who was making his first start after recovering from injury. I’m not saying they weren’t deserved (not entirely deserved that is) however, between the sparse attendance and the hostile atmosphere, the San Siro was set to explode, however, the pharaoh saw this didn’t happen. Had Cagliari scored first, we might have heard even more jeers. Galliani thanked the Curva after the match, but the rest of the fans didn’t seem as supportive as them.

The Team Approach – Is there one? I didn’t see much of it. Players seem to playing for themselves, and there is no clear leader on the squad. Not Ambrosini, because he can no longer lead by example.

Nianggolan – Absolutely a beast today. Dominated the middle of the park, and was able to control Traore + Montolivo in the first half. Can be a very dangerous player if he’s on a quality squad.

Creative Influx – Tassotti’s substitutions were meant more to change formation than change strategy, Robinho was the closest to a creative substitution, and he merely unbalanced the squad defensively, as he put in much less work than Emanuelson did before his departure. He did show bursts of offensive creativity which Emanuelson was unable to provide.

Final Thoughts –

Positionally, Pazzini dropped back level around Traore, who was lost, and laid the ball off to the midfield/wide forwards. His movement created El Shaarawy’s second goal, and the more he pulled forward, the more space the was for El Shaarawy to cut in from the left wing.

Screen Shot 2012 09 26 at 6.26.03 PM Milan v Cagliari Post Match Comments

Milan left, Cagliari right – Formation

Balanced Attacking directions from Milan, which is an improvement in this formation.

Screen Shot 2012 09 26 at 6.23.38 PM Milan v Cagliari Post Match Comments

Milan left, Cagliari right – Thirds used

Milan had balanced action zones, whereas Cagliari found themselves in their defensive third more than they were able to push forward. They had 50% possession but were forced deeper into their own half to retain it.

Screen Shot 2012 09 26 at 6.10.06 PM1 Milan v Cagliari Post Match Comments

Milan Left, Cagliari Right – Action Zones.


Diagrams courtesy of WhoScored.Com and


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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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