Inter 1-0 AC Milan: Five things we learned – miscalculated gamble with two positives

Inter 1-0 AC Milan: Five things we learned – miscalculated gamble with two positives

Updated: 1 month, 21 days, 5 hours, 50 minutes, 52 seconds ago

Following a disastrous month of January, AC Milan faced city rivals Inter in the Derby della Madonnina hoping to get back to winning ways and back into the top four too.

Piolo made a lot of changes with the biggest one being the formation switch to a 3-5-2, which seemed rather unusual before a big game like the derby, but considering the previous results something had to be done.

Unfortunately for the coach, the first half was pretty much a disaster with Inter opening the scoring before half-time through Lautaro Martinez’s header. The second half was a bit better for Milan, but they again struggled to create big chances and eventually registered a fourth straight defeat.

The bright side, if there is any, was that this time around the defence did actually look more solid compared to the recent run of games, but the toothless attack led to Milan not picking up any points from the game. Here are five things we learned…

1. From villain to (almost) hero

Ciprian Tatarusanu has been under a lot of criticism as of late and probably rightfully so as he has not really been able to step up and help his team in this difficult moment, instead making the defensive unit more nervous.

That being said his defenders haven’t exactly made life easy for him either and it was no different against Inter as shot after shot came in, though this time the Romanian looked really sharp.

Tătăruşanu made some crucial saves against the likes of Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku to really keep Milan in the game, and the goal he did concede came from a corner where nobody picked up the Argentine striker.

2. Disastrous defending continues

The only reason the score was just 1-0 was due to some vital saves from Tătăruşanu and certainly not because of the defence being solid. The three centre-backs were always going to make things a bit tougher because of the sheer numerical factor, but Inter still found spaces and chances easy to come by.

Realistically, the defending was better than the previous games, yet it was still not on the needed level as both Kalulu and Kjaer just don’t seem to be up for the challenge in this particular moment.

If Pioli were to switch to a 3-5-2 permanently he would need three dependable defenders so it will be interesting to see how he approaches the situation.

3. A miscalculated gamble

As we said, Pioli decide to switch formations for the Inter clash, and ignoring the fact that may be a bad idea to begin with we need to mention that he clearly did not get his line-up right either.

Playing Origi and Giroud up top was ridiculous since the Frenchman is desperately needing a rest and one cannot imagine him being useful in a counter-attacking approach, while Origi has shown very few positives signs since arriving.

One goal for the Belgian against Sassuolo while his side were losing by a huge margin does not make him a game-changer, whilst leaving the actual game-changer on the bench at the start in Rafael Leao is almost unforgiveable.

In the middle he choose to deploy Tonali, Krunic and Messias and in fairness Pioli didn’t have Bennacer to fall back on, but Messias has been struggling in his regular position so to try and deploy him as a mezzala – a position he is yet to play for Milan – against a top side means it is no surprise the Brazilian was subbed off at half-time.

Bringing players off the bench didn’t help either, although Saelemaekers seemed decent playing as a right wing-back and Malick Thiaw also impressed in the final 20 minutes of the contest. It felt like a terrible executed plan.

4. Thiaw knocking on the door

Thiaw came on in the second half and looked very solid against Lautaro and Lukaku in the little minutes he had on the pitch. Hopefully that means he has shown enough for Pioli to start him given that pretty much all of his centre-backs are in a disastrous form.

Turning to Thiaw now seems like a no-brainer at this point since the youngster has always been solid when given the opportunity as he’s shown good strength, pace and defensive awareness.

5. Toothless in attack

Whilst Milan managed to concede just once this time around, they offered close to nothing going forward as a consequence, amassing a shameful zero shots on target.

Pioli’s rotations did not change anything and leaving last year’s MVP in Leao out of the line-up probably didn’t help, but the lack of creativity and sharpness in this team is frightening and with no winter reinforcements it seems that Pioli and the management will be hoping for a miracle run of form again to get a top four finish.

In any case, there has to be changes in that department in the summer transfer window – hopefully with a set formation by then – though as the weeks go by the task of qualifying for the Champions League gets tough and anything else would be a failure. Milan risk going back to square one and erasing all the good work in the past two and a half years.

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