I’ve honestly lost track of how many times I’ve written about a ‘hapless’ Milan or a Milan that is ‘disfunctional’ and ‘lacks creativity’. In fact, you all probably think I’m just copy and pasting previous match reports and just changing the team names.
There’s just something about this Milan side. Something that has existed since the 2012/13 season, this Milan side seems mentally weak. Is this Milan side better than Sarri’s side? Absolutely not. Milan are still a work in progress while Napoli look to finally be clicking in Serie A under their new manager. But the talent gap is not a difference of four goals, no way. This Milan side seemed defeated before they’d even walked on the pitch. It felt this way against Inter Milan, it’ll feel like this against every big side in Italy throughout the season.
While Milan looked like nothing short of a Sunday league side, I have to give credit to Maurizio Sarri and Napoli. Unlike Milan, Napoli had a clear game plan, soak up Milan’s rather futile pressure and counter attack with a teasing trio of Insigne, Higuain and Callejon.
Surprise surprise, Napoli’s first goal came from a Milan mistake, Colombian centreback Zapata tried to play out of the back but his pass was intercepted in midfield,a pass to Lorenzo Insigne, whom would produce a jaw dropping performance, led to Napoli summer signing Allan making a run unmarked and finishing past Diego Lopez. In 104 games for Udinese the Brazilian only scored once, in six games for Napoli he’s already scored three. Rossoneri heads dropped and the entire atmosphere inside the San Siro seemed to disappear into thin air, the insecurities had already crept in and only thirteen minutes had been played.
Milan would look uninspiring for the rest of the first half, and didn’t even manage to register a shot on target in the first 45 minutes, while Napoli were happy enough to sit back and counter attack, with Gonzalo Higuain having his long range shot saved by Diego Lopez.
In the second half, after a presumable bollocking from Siniša Mihajlović, Milan were pegged back almost immediately. Lorenzo Insigne play a one-two with Gonzalo Higuain on the edge of the box and the mini maestro curled an effort into the far corner. It was only the 47th minute but Milan were already waving their metaphorical white flag. In fact, this game would become almost like a game for the side from Naples, a game in which they could embarrass a foe who had been embarrassing them for decades.
I think the definition of a desperate substitution is bringing on Alessio Cerci for Andrea Bertolacci, which happened in the 57th minute as Milan shifted to a 4-4-2, as it became clear Milan would not be able to breakdown Napoli centrally. Bonaventura, whom I was personally excited to see play as a trequartista in a 4-3-1-2, shifted out wide to the left. Bonaventura disappointed but he can hardly be blamed as the midfield behind him was behind dominated and was hardly finding him in productive situations.
The match would officially become an embarrassment in the 66th minute, as Lorenzo Insigne, who seems to have come back as some kind of cyborg after his injury last year. The Italian international produced his mesmerising performance with Antonio Conte in the stands, and made it 3-0 with a beautiful free kick that Diego Lopez was simply unable to keep out. There was an element of sadness surrounding Diego Lopez today. One can only question how many times the Spanish shot stopper can be let down by his defence before he demands a change, or a transfer. It’s obvious the former Real Madrid ‘keeper is nothing short of excellent, but he is rarely given a platform to showcase it.
The shambolic and embarrassing route was completed in the 76th minute, and how fitting it was the most embarrassing of goals, an own goal by Rodrigo Ely, who slid the ball into his own net after a Faozi Ghoulam cross. Rossoneri fans had reached their limits and San Siro seemed like it was undergoing a fire drill.
There will be questions, but no answers will be provided. The wheel of blame will be spun round once again in Milan tonight, but it will not land on anyway. It will be passed around between Galliani, Berlusconi, Mr Bee, Siniša Mihajlović and perhaps even Mario Balotelli’s name will be tossed around. Somewhere, someone will be surprised Milan lost tonight, but you shouldn’t. It’ll be a long season for the red side of Milan, there needs to be a culture change at the club. Oh well, maybe in 2016/17.
Man of the match: Lorenzo Insigne.
Surely there was no doubt in Antonio Conte’s mind who should be the focal point of Italy’s attack in the upcoming international fixtures. It finally looks to be the year of Insigne, alone at the top of Italian talent moutain sits Marco Verratti, but Insigne will soon be joining him. Five goals and three assists in seven Serie A appearances, whisper it quietly, but there’s no reason Insigne can’t spearhead a Napoli title challenge if he continues this form.