Inter vs AC Milan was the match of the weekend. The Milan derby attracted all the interest and on the Penisula. Only Genoa’s point in Turin got some attention beside the derby della Madonnina.
The promise was great! Both giants from Milano were going thru a positive patch with the rossoneri winning three games on the trot, scoring 10 goal on the way, and the neroazzurri already forgot when the last defeat occurred. Or even a draw for that matter.
The general idea in the Italian media was that AC Milan is actually playing better at the moment but Inter has a stronger squad. Particularly in depth.
Spirits were high on the red side of the Naviglio boosted by recent victories and the numbers of goals scored in the process. Hardly there have been better circumstances when they were expecting the city duel. Higuain is scoring, the midfield is dominating games and Donnarumma isn’t making glaring mistakes. And the defense? Or better defensive phase? Well, the ball keeps on hitting the net but as long as the attackers score more, nobody cares.
On the blue side of the city the morale is high for much longer. Even if the play isn’t particularly eye-catching the results are coming good. And that’s enough. Enough to have good atmosphere in the camp and growing confidence which is one of the corner stones for success.
So, everything was ready for a hard fought battle till the last drop of blood. In the end if actually was as Inter scored the match-winning goal right at the death, deep into stoppage time. However, don’t get blinded by the way the victory came.
Inter controlled the proceedings during the whole Milan derby, setting the tempo and not allowing Milan’s most dangerous players a kick. Literally! Higuain, without doubt Milan best player, didn’t get a single useful ball the whole game. Isolated upfront didn’t stand a chance against one of Europe’s best central defensive couple; De Vrij and Škriniar.
The duo reminds me of a pair of detectives in the old movies. The Dutch is well mannered, elegant, sophisticated and good ball player. Even if behaved, getting past him is a miracle.
The other is a force of nature. Tough tackling, no-nonsense, old school defender that hits you first, than out-muscles you and than takes the ball. If you even any desire left to go for it after the treatment! And both are practically unbeatable in the air! The good cop – bad cop approach works well for now and the consequence is 6 goals conceded in 9 matches. And a few of those came with Miranda in place of one or the other.
AC Milan shortocmings
For all on Milan’s scoring ability demonstrated the last few games only real intervention Handanovič had to make is to palm away a wayward Rodriguez cross in the second half. Suso and Calhanoglu were blocked by Inter’s side defenders and Bonaventura seemed short of inspiration and space to wave his magic.
Spaletti did his homework and annulled all of Milan’s danger. The worrying thing for Gattuso is that it seemed as if Inter didn’t even had to sweat too much!
Beside win against Roma, Milan looks out of conviction and lacking concentration in confrontations with direct opponents for high places. In other words, personality! Gattuso has plenty of it and has to find a way to transfer it to his players. And soon!
This season’s only constant for Milan is to concede and duly maintained the tradition also in this match.
92nd minute, everybody is just waiting for the referee to blow the final whistle. Or at least Milan is! Bad systematic positioning and player marking forced Romagnoli out of position to follow Vecino on the side-line. The Uruguayan whips in a cross which finds Icardi on the far post for a simple finish into an empty net.
The Inter captain and ruthless finisher, didn’t believe his eyes when the ball, after 30 meters, met his head and nobody was there at least to try to scare him off!
And the rest of Milan’s defence? Good question! My guess is that they were already in the dressing room celebrating first clean sheet of the season. Or at least headed there!
It’s being continuously repeated that AC Milan needs to work on it’s defensive phase otherwise it’s going to cost them dearly. Last night it did. And surely will again.
Inter vs Milan ended in deserved hosts victory that will be additional morale-booster for the midweek trip to Barcelona. Another stern test for the cops in Inter’s defence. Even without criminal Messi.
Juventus not perfect, yet
The bianconeri gave away first points this season. Even if this draw ended their perfect season start it’s actually a good thing in my opinion. Good for them not everybody else.
After taking the lead thru Ronaldo and holding Genoa where they wanted in the first half, Juventus already departed for Manchester. Similarly to AC Milan’s defence which left the field a few minutes before the game ended. Just that Juventus left the game at the break. The goal Genoa scored was the evidence of total loss of the very minimum concentration needed to play a Serie A match.
Credit to Genoa for exploiting what was offered but if Juve would play the game at least in the 2nd gear, the rossoblu would pack their bags without a single shot fired.
This season scoring sensation, Piatek, showed glimpses of his talents. In the first half you’d hardly notice he was on the field but in the second he came to life, albeit with help from Juve. Tested Szczesny with a shot from outside of the box and won a header in the heart of Juve’s defence that could provide much more. Little you say? Perhaps, but in those two situations he displayed his technique, timing and awareness. In a side that could provide more quality service he’ll do justice to Lewandowski’s heir tag.
As for the Juventus players it’s hard to judge since they played on autopilot for the majority of the game. However, Fabio Capello’s words might have some foundation. Which words? Well, a long time ago he said that Bonucci can’t defend! He’s a great passer but he can’t defend and many Italian fans lately agree with the statement. Also Juve fans.
This result will serve Juve as a mild warning that even if you’re a level or two above your opponent you have to stay focused until the final blow. And surely they will.
And the rest
For the rest no particular surprises. Napoli won in Udine, Lazion won in Parma and Roma lost at home to relegation-threatening SPAL. Surprise? Not this year! Roma already lost 3 games this campaign. And 2 of these loses came at home against Chievo and now SPAL. To me it looks more like a trend than a surprise.
Next weekend two fixtures stand out from the pack; Milan vs Sampdoria and Napoli vs Roma. Two wounded giants seeking for redemption in bad places.
Roma 0 – 2 SPAL
Juventus 1 – 1 Genoa
Udinese 0 – 3 Napoli
Frosinone 3 – 3 Empoli
Chievo 1 – 5 Atalanta
Bologna 2 – 2 Torino
Parma 0 – 2 Lazio
Fiorentina 1 – 1 Cagliari
Inter 1 – 0 Milan
Sampdoria 0 – 0 Sassuolo