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Milan’s Defense Buckles in First Real Challenge

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Milan’s Defense Buckles in First Real Challenge

The Rossoneri defense was both poor from an individual standpoint as well as a unit.

Let’s be perfectly honest; this result was a shock. Lazio winning wasn’t entirely a shock considering how well they’ve started the season, but what was the surprising part of it all was how Milan crumbled defensively. Milan probably wishes that this game was called off, because defensively they were dreadful.

As I said, it wasn’t impossible for Lazio to win, but to comprehensively beat a Milan side that up until this fixture had only conceded one goal in six competitive fixtures was not only impressive for Simone Inzaghi’s side, but it was very, very concerning for Vincenzo Montella and the Rossoneri.

Everyone knows that when you buy five or more players across a team, it will take time to allow everyone to gel into the side and get comfortable with not only the system, but their teammates and culture of the club and city. Looking at Milan today and there is still a lot of gelling to be done, especially at the back where they looked embarrassingly weak for the majority of this fixture.

First off, let’s look at the fullbacks, who today were Davide Calabria and Ricardo Rodriguez. Starting with the latter and going forward he was a threat early on, showing why many people have rated so highly for many years and he tried to create chances, but defensively he was caught out with pace and balls in behind, much like his fellow fullback on the opposite flank.

Lazio’s forward from Italy Ciro Immobile celebrates after scoring his second goal during the Italian Serie A football match Lazio vs AC Milan on September 10, 2017 at the Olympic stadium in Rome. / AFP PHOTO / Vincenzo PINTO

I’ll take it easy on Calabria, seeing as this was his first appearance in Serie A this season and he was only deputizing for the injured Andrea Conti, but dear me was the poor kid done over today. Going forward he offered very little but he just did not help himself at the back, either failing to track the run of his man or being attracted to the ball, allowing Lazio attackers to run in behind. He put in no challenge whatsoever on Luis Alberto and left Franck Kessie in a spot of trouble when trying to take the ball off of him, he also had his ankles broken by Marco Parolo, who breezed past him for the third and Calabria just gave up trying to track Alberto for the fourth.

Now, let’s look at the heart of this Milan defence in Leonardo Bonucci and Matteo Musacchio. They were a mess today, plain and simple. It takes time for the two to gel, but personally I feel that this defence would be a lot better when Alessio Romagnoli returns to full fitness and the backline becomes a trio, something Bonucci is a lot more comfortable with.

You’ll all see the gifs and memes of Bonucci failing to tackle Lazio players all day and all night, but the simple fact of the matter is he’s gone from playing in perhaps to the most formidable defence in the world to players that have hardly played together. Yes, it was a mess and every Milan fan will agree with that, but these things take time. Calabria and Rodriguez were caught out often, as were Bonucci and Musacchio, but credit to Lazio for giving them these problems in the first place.

That being said, this wasn’t the Bonucci or Musacchio that fans of European football had come to know, they were shadows of their usual selves. The pair didn’t look comfortable and were caught out of position so many times, but when you have a completely new-look backline, what can you expect?

Nevertheless, Milan fans will feel that it can’t get much worse for them defensively and they’re probably right, but they need to wipe this loss away and start from the very basics immediately.



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