Milan v Inter Post-Match Comments [Oct 7 2012]

Milan v Inter Post-Match Comments

Welcome back San Siro Milan, how we’ve missed you.

Christian Abbiati showed that much like this Milan team, when you most believe in him, he’s going to come back with a horrible error.  In the third minute, he misjudged another cross to the far post. Walter Samuel’s header saw the Rossoneri behind 1-0. At this point Inter began to protect their lead, and Milan were put in the obvious position of having to score a goal. The stakes were set early, and Allegri knew what he had to work with, but in the end, the performance from the team lacked any sort of cohesion or urgency.

intermilanderbyoctober12 01 Milan v Inter Post Match Comments

Milan v Inter first-half positioning

Let me clarify that screaming at the referee for missed calls, general incompetence or lack of consistency does not count as urgency. That’s desperation, and that is what this squad is at this moment in time – desperate.

Once his influence waned up top, Allegri opted to move Emanuelson to LB, his first appearance at LB in a competitive match since the January fixture against Inter. Another sign of the desperate times was the formerly annual (now ever match) ritual of sending Mario Yepes forward and lobbing balls from the left side in vain. Nevermind that the Inter defense are aerially sound, or that they were packed deep and centrally, Milan kept knocking on the door in the same way for most of the match to no avail.

Milan attacked up the left side, like they have for the past season or so. During the latter part of last season, and continuing into this season, the more dependent Milan are on their left flank, the more predictable their play becomes, and the easier it is to defend. The results support this, as Milan’s three wins this year have come when they’ve distributed their attacking directions more equally as opposed to overloading the left flank.

Screen Shot 2012 10 07 at 5.28.05 PM Milan v Inter Post Match Comments

Attack Directions – Milan left, Inter right

Once they reached the left side of the pitch, often via a long ball from Montolivo, Milan tried to drive at the Inter defense, however due to their deep-set positioning, Milan were unsuccessful. Milan pushed the visitors back into their own half for most of the match, and they were content to sit back and absorb this pressure.

Screen Shot 2012 10 07 at 5.33.16 PM Milan v Inter Post Match Comments

Areas of action.

They were forced to settle for shots outside the box (one of which was wrongly disallowed), and also looked to break on the rare occasions Inter ventured out of their own half. Those counter-counter attacks by Milan were some of their most dangerous plays, yet it seems by and large Allegri hasn’t coached this team into a counterattacking side, which they should be. The quality to play possession football deep in the oppositions half is well and good as far as aesthetic possibilities go (since they need the ball to do something spectacular with it – champagne football indeed) however, in practice, the current Milan tactical setup have seen them struggle to break down “provincial” sides, especially those content to absorb pressure and counter into Milan’s open spaces.

Ultimately, the third minute goal allowed Inter to sit back and play on the counter, and Milan’s already desperate situation was made all the more desperate. In fact, Inter sat so far back, Milan had their best passing performance (only statistically – there was a clear lack of urgency, direction or ingenuity in reality) of the season. This is understandable, considering the low scoring nature of the past few derbies. Inter came out with a plan to “attack with quality” and only with quality, as Antonio Cassano provided a wide outlet, but by and large was contained by Daniele Bonera. With a release valve capable of playing a killer ball, Inter were often given enough time to break out of their defensive positions and rush forward, a quality most exemplified by Javier Zanetti who we’ve come to expect nothing less of.

Were the refereeing decisions poor? Certainly. That being said, however valid the disallowing of a legitimate goal and the waving away of a penalty were, Milan should have been able to overcome the situation nonetheless. Bojan fell with a wide open shot in the box. Pazzini narrowly missed several chances. The clinical edge wasn’t with the Rossoneri today, and their 90% passing meant little consolation. They outshot inter 20-7, however when it cam ego shots on target they only had two more shots (5) on target than the men in blue and black.

The international break should provide some respite for Allegri, who will most likely return to the firing line. A 1-0 defeat is harsh to fire a manager on, and I don’t believe this to be happening, but this certainly is another wagon to join the circle around Allegri, and it doesn’t seem like it will be much longer so long as Milan struggle to get on the scoresheet like they did yesterday.

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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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