5 things we learned from Milan 2-0 Fiorentina

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GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images
GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images

Milan actually won a game on Sunday night against a team higher in the standings. Like, scored more goals than the opposition, and won a game.

I know right, unheard of! Anyway, Carlos Bacca opened the scoring with a beautifully taken chance in the first half, and then Kevin-Prince Boateng welcomed himself back to San Siro with a calmly taken goal.

It was an uncharacteristically organised performance from the side and a welcome win to put us three points behind Roma in fifth place.

So, with that said, just what did we learn from a decisive night and a much needed victory?

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1. Looking the part

As already mentioned, it was a good showing from the side and one in which the team never looked extremely threatened and always maintained a sense of control.

Part of that is down to the exploits of Alex and Alessio Romagnoli, who once again put in a wonderful shift between them to safeguard the Milan goal. They have performed together well almost every time they have been partnered, and I see no reason to break them up.

In general, the team worked really hard. There was tracking back, the tackling was good, the back four and midfield held a nice line and the forwards ate up space fairly well.

It wasn’t perfect. There was times when we were pushed back and the outlet passes were just hoofs upfield, but all in all it was a game the team and coach Mihajlovic can be proud of.


GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images

2. Silencing the doubters

Special mentions must go to Riccardo Montolivo (happy birthday to the captain, also) and Keisuke Honda, who were good all night in my opinion.

It was a performance from Montolivo that demonstrates what he can be good at. He sat deep, anticipated well, broke up play and transformed the Rossoneri into attack with some very good long passes.

Crucial for his confidence, we need to see more of the same from the captain. I for one was surprised to see him start over Kucka, but on reflection it was the right choice.

In addition to this, Honda was very good on the right side. He always gets into action areas of the pitch; be it in the final third or tracking back to help Ignazio Abate.

Again, the team needs a Honda like this on a consistent basis. Milan benefit from it hugely.


GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images

3. Welcome home

A better script could not have been written for Kevin-Prince Boateng.

His return to the club has certainly divided opinion. Some say it shows a lack of ambition, others say it is a low risk deal that can only help the team. One thing is for sure: since he has come back he has shown willingness to work hard in a Rossoneri shirt.

KPB is a very dynamic player, i.e. there always seems to be something happening when he is around the ball. We all remember Tiziano Crudeli screaming “BOA BOA TENG TENG TENG” when he single-handedly brought Milan back from a 3-0 deficit at Lecce in 2011.

Yesterday’s goal was very important. Hopefully a sign of change for Boa, and a sign also that Milan was right to take a chance and bring him back to the club. More of the same please Prince.


@acmilan.com
@acmilan.com

4. More praise

A player who doesn’t really see the forefront of praise is Luca Antonelli.

He has ended up in the team of the week after another solid display last night. He runs the left side so well and does so on a consistent basis. His defensive ability is fantastic and his positional awareness allows Milan to be more adventurous on that side through Bonaventura.

Without question he is the best full-back we have, and should have that starting spot nailed down for some time to come.

Furthermore, Andrea Bertolacci had a good game. He and Monto covered a lot of ground in the middle of the pitch and Berto played some crucial passes too to keep the offensive game moving.

And another clean sheet for our teen sensation Gianluigi Donnarumma leaves an altogether sweet taste in the mouth.


Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

5. Moving on

Like I have done after a lot of wins, I will again drill home the importance of putting in this kind of performance on a more consistent basis.

We did not blow Fiorentina away by any means. In fact, the game was fairly even but for two moments of quality, and that is what matters.

The Milan of old found ways to win when not bossing matches. That was exactly what last night was. On our night we have the quality to beat most teams in the division, and La Viola are one of the better sides without doubt.

So much more organised than the first game of the season, the team must now kick on and beat Empoli for the second time this season to keep up the pressure on the top five. With the faltering form of Roma et al, Milan absolutely aren’t out of anything but the Scudetto yet.


@acmilan.com
@acmilan.com

So, that’s what I took from a fantastic and enjoyable match.

Two great goals, solid at the back and everybody running their hearts out: exactly how it should be.

Now, we move on, and see if the team can put together those elusive two straight good games ahead of the Derby against Inter (which I will be attending).

Onwards and upwards!

Article by Oliver Fisher

55 COMMENTS

  1. Hm.. always a goo feeling when we win, more so, we put out a soli performol”ance. Oh, i miss the Milan of old.

  2. Once again Oliver Fisher with a good article. I’m beggining to be a fan of this author. Always honest in your opinions.

    Me aswell was very surprised by Montolivos performes, can he return? hopefully, we need him to now that galliani refuses to put money in to a CM

      • Nice article, you have captured the success of yesterday’s game. Loved the pressure on the ball, compact team most of the time, the quick counter attack and putting pressure on the opposition d line. Now, need to establish this every week, that will not mean wins all the time but a true system of play!
        Forza Milan….Carmine Romano

      • Not of the huge thanks for the article and keep this blow alive but also we all envy you for able to attend the Derby match in San Siro!!!!!

  3. Yeah i’m agree with this and i confess that i like most of O. Fisher’s articles too. The only thing i want is that the next article hopefully can come out sooner after the match, so we can have a little comparison on our point of view about the match at the comment page. Anyway i felt that Montolivo and Honda were playing good, and when Kucka came in, he can improve even more and created assist. I think on the next match the same line up and sub should be happen again.

    • I try my best to get them out quickly. The game finished at around 11pm CET last night and I published around 3pm CET today. A quicker turnaround in terms of the planning and construction of these pieces is not possible sadly.

      I agree with all your points though!

  4. Its funny, when we win, Sheva is no where to be found. Proving my original statement about him almost 2 years ago. Internet troll at its finest. Anyways, solid performance from Milan, hope for more of the same. My question to everyone here really is, would you rather be left out of Europe again knowing that Galliani will leave? Or get into Europe and keep him around? Personally, we may as well make Europe because even if we don’t, he will stay.

  5. actually I didn’t lyk monti ballooning da ball so often in da first half and Honda can played the right back role for abate. if Honda could just ve pace and be attacking often I wouldn’t mind him staying. but until we can win our next five matches I will not get carried away. it has happened so often

  6. I think this performance in particular emphasizes that the players are with Miha. The talks about him being sacked were ridiculous, and the only time I think a coach should be fired mid season is if he loses the locker room. But he obviously has the locker room behind him and the players have been proving it. They ran their tails off for both the coach and the fans and you can see they’re fighting for him. I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen the team run so much in recent seasons. The tactics employed yesterday were excellent and executed perfectly.

  7. Exactly all my thoughts! Hope we stick with this starting XI as they start to build chemistry and was the best we have so far. I heard miha will convert to 4-3-1-2 once menez back which I disagree. Dont change your winning team! Forza miha Forza Milan

  8. Sounds ridiculous but milan are actually only team(along with juve & genoa) that kept a clean sheet this weekend. But juve & genoa also had a one man advantage.

  9. Thanks very much for all the comments so far guys, good to hear a range of views!

    Just to get the debate going, what are your thoughts on Miha aiming to go back to 4-3-1-2? Surely all the system changes can’t be good for the team in the long run?

    • I’m not sure I agree with that decision but it could prove fruitful. I’m guessing the starting XI would look something like this:

      Gigi

      Abate Alex Romagnoli Antonelli

      Honda/Kucka Monto/Berto Bonaventura

      Menez/Boa

      Bacca Balotelli/Niang

    • It shows flexibility, but in my opinion, i dont care what formation we play in, even if i’m a bit of a nostalgic and a fan of 4-3-1-2. But he should change to it if he think it suits our play better and it will improve our playing style and more positive results. So far with the 4-4-2 we have played some good football occasionally, and we have been unlucky not to win against Hellas, Bologna and Roma.
      Anyways, my point being, the formation doesnt matter as long as we win!
      But maybe it will work better now than it did at the start, the players and the team are getting together more and more…only time will tell.

    • Honestly maybe it can be good for us.Miha has hes own insights about the team and lot of our players can be converted to that formation.4-4-2 was great lately but if they choose 4-2-3-1 they would need to use this transfer window to shape a team for that formation. And i talking about one deep lying playmaker and one good CAM.

      • Cam? Boa will do. Deep lying playmaker? I hope monty returns or we can try bertolacci, I don’t know, maybe we need one. A defensive midfield partner? Well, Dejong is still here don’t forget…

        • Do you think really for us to reach UCL spots Monty and Berto can be our solution for deep lying role.Maybe if they really pick up their form and for now they didn’t done that,Monty is solid but Bertolacci is awful.We need also CAM preferably left-footed. For 4-2-3-1 you need a lot of CAM that is why Boa is not enough.

          • Well i said preferably… It’s better if he plays on the right when he is left footed because lefties(i will just call them like that) are dangerous on right side of the pitch and they have better angle of shoot and it is easier for them to dribble. Some good lefties examples: Bale,Robben,Di Maria,James R. and not to say Messi but he did started hes carrier on right. Same thing goes for right-footed ones on left side. But really i would settle for one like Gotze or Reus even they are right-footed. 🙂

    • Surely a team at the top level should be able to change formations if and when needed without even thinking about it?
      Games change direction several times during the 90 minutes and players have to be able to adapt either by substitutions or formation
      I remember playing games which wouldn’t be going the way we’d of hoped and once the manager gave the signal we would change from lets say 4-4-2 to 4-3-3 or 4-3-1-2 without any problems because we worked on doing that every time we trained and everyone knew exactly what there meant to do, I’m not saying it worked every time but we did get results more often than not

      All in all I don’t think it would have any impact on the long term as its a must in the modern game to be able to change

      Good article by the way

    • IT WILL WORK
      SO LONG AS WE SEE OUR CHAMPION DANIELE BONERA RETURN TO US THIS MERCATO

      WITH HIS EXPERIENCE AND LEADERSHIP MILAN WILL GO GREAT PLACES
      FORZA BONERA! FORZA BONERA!!
      RESIGN BONERA
      RENAME CLUB TO AC BONERA
      BONERA TO REPLACE BERLUSCONI
      BONERA FOR FIFA PRESIDENTE!!

      FORZA BONERA PI SEMPRE

    • 4-4-2 and 4-3-1-2 are not much revolutional change actually, so it doesn’t matter in terms of game play from my opinion. However if we use 4312 it should be an attacking play with a lot of short passes and less long ball or cross ball. If Menez plays as attacking mid, so Honda probably at the bench. Kucka plays on the right, Berto / Monto is crucial for control the mid as a cm as Jack on the left. In my mind it can work, our attack could be entertaining with Bacca , Boa / Niang, and Menez doing their trick pass and quick run.

  10. Good article Oliver! I totally agree with all your points.

    I said it before and I’ll say it again, I truly believe Miha is a good coach and the right one for us in our current situation. When is the last time we saw the team this united? The squad is at peace with itself and everyone is happy to be under Miha’s banner. All we need is some extra confidence to ensure consistency and allow Miha’s tactics to fully sink in the players’ heads.

    As for the Mercato, a few additions to the midfield and defense could prove useful! For now, I think our players have the quality to compete for the top 3 positions on the table.

  11. Please the main formation that milan will archived what they want is to back the former formation that is 4-4-2 they can use bacca and menez at the top

  12. Comment: I was unable to watch the match but from the comment so far, i guess what has been missing in the team was in full display last night. the team lacks leadership on the field and monto was able to so that last night. more of dis leadership quality from monto will propel d team to greater height. forza milan

  13. Man BOA brought tears in my eyes when he scored. He’s a huge part of our glory days and saved our asses on countless occasions. he always worked very hard for red and black. i still remember against lecce even when he scored his second goal he didn’t celebrate and ran to the middle to go on and score another one. Thats the mentality we need in this team to Never Give Up.

    • The GLORY DAYS? When did you start watching Milan? LOL. If Boa was a big part of the Glory days in your eyes you must have just started watching. 5 years ago were definitely not glory days by any means. Mid 90s to 2007 were glory days.

      • Come-on cut the man some slack, he loved the Senators and saw them win the Scudetto in 2010 and runners up in 2011, that is glory compared to the very recent past. Boa was part of this team. And the team that was built from 2001 got us the UCL glory in 2003 and 2007. They were wonderful in 2005 and 2006 even though they lost to a lucky Liverpool side and the Ronaldinho inspired Barca side respectively.

        In the 90’s Milan won 90 and 94 and those were early 90’s not mid, though the team got to the final in 93 and 95. Even that team had its bogey teams Ajax and Marseille. Our team didn’t just lose to these teams in the final but lost the both teams in the group phases as well. Marseille beat us 4-1 on aggregate the in 91.

        We all love Milan, don’t run a brother down or ridicule him I know nothing of the Milan of Pre-Berlusconi, except what I have read up or stories told me by my Dad and Uncle.

        He maybe young but still a Milan fan.

        We are all connected.

        Forza Milan

        • We won the Scudetto in 2011, not 2010. Those years was far from glory. Winning the Scudetto is not glory considering Milan standers. This is AC Milan, We used to target CL, not the Scudetto. Why be champions of Italy, when you can be champions of Europe. Milan and Italy had nothing to offer that year in CL. And in the years after that. Boa had 1-2 good season for us.

  14. Oliver Fisher I love ur articues too an am a true Milan fan, the problem I have in your story is that u said all the players played well but I don’t agreed because Niang is the worsted player yesterday he didn’t help the team yesterday for ones, am so annoying watching how he’s playing yesterday. I don’t want him in our next match. he should also leave too

  15. I slightly disagree
    I rather see Kucka instead of Honda, better defender and passer, forenTina controlled the middle as most other teams that played against Milan and this is not acceptable, Milan have to play Balo with Bacca and Niang, with solid 3 midfielders. Bacca rarely gets the balls he wants, so we need Balo to do so not to play as a defender and gets frustrated if he is not receiving passes

  16. I’d put Abate on the market and sell him asap while we would still get good money for him, I think he’s responsible for a lot of attacks coming to nothing because of his inability to cross balls or even get it past the first man which is driving me crazy especially in modern football where full backs must be equally as good at attacking as they are defending and when you have a full back with his speed its sole destroying to see him waste so many balls

    Personally id like to see us use the 4-3-1-2 formation but only when Menez, Ballo and Bacca are all fit at the same time, I think Menez was so greedy last year because he just didn’t trust the other forwards to get the job done and stick the ball in the net so instead tried to do it all himself but with Bacca firing on all cylinders and with a bit of luck Mario has finally come to realize his potential and stop acting like a child I think Menez could be the answer to providing much needed assists to a potentially lethal pairing of Ballo and Bacca

    • Agree with you in all aspects mate.
      Love the 4-3-1-2 formation its so beautiful to watch when you have the right players on the pitch.
      And Menez as a trequartista can be incredible. he has the same drags and runs forward that kaka has, takes the ball and dribble in to open spaces and drag defenders away from the strikers, and then strikers have open space to work in, bacca can utilize this to the fullest. this can work with him

  17. For me Miha has done a great job, he may loose points and throw weird line ups sometimes but he gave milan something to play, it works sometimes and sometimes doesn’t, but I think the real problem is some of the players, or they’re too young and unexperienced or they’re too old, slow and not good overall, Galliani needs to see this, with a good transfer market this team will be on Europa league and maybe even fight for CL, but I think EL its more than enough just now, forza milan as always, I hope we continue with good results

  18. Forza Mlan.
    With Bertolacci healthy, the squad does much better. What is the record between Berto in and Berto out? And BTW, Antonelli is our MVP of the campaign. He is a rock.

    • Haha im laughing at them who dont like him for no reason.

      In all games we have had berto on the field we have won 8 matches. 2 draw and 1 loss.

      we do alot better with im on the field. people dont see all the dirtywork he does. and that win us matches.

  19. Good article Oliver.

    I have been a Milan supporter since 1994 and have seen quite a lot of good times so where we have been for the last 5 seasons represents a dark patch.

    However, I believe the absence of finances and a workable plan (or as is more often used, a project) have contributed to our troubles.

    Given time and funding (to upgrade the team), Miha can do well.

    What’s your take on El Sha?

  20. We need playmaker like dyballa. Young talented and energic also skillfuL, I just remember when we gave up on his transfer, and let him go to juventus. OMG..that’s one of bad decisions after tevez

  21. This is my view.

    Donnaruma: really a good keeper. Looks like Manuel Neure of Bayern. He became a sweeper. 10/10
    Abate: even if I hate to admit it, he did well. But he was still terrible. I remembered the terrible cross he supplied even when he wasn’t under pressure. Abate lacks mental attributes.
    Alex: did well combined excellently with romagnoli.
    Romagnoli: he really did well in neutralizing Kalinic. He needs a solid partner in the summer. Galliani should get him Thiago silva and give him the armband.
    Antonelli: was exceptional in attack but poor at defending.
    Montolivo: also hate to admit it, but he did well but lacks the leadership given to him.
    Bertolacci: really and extremely poor. Poor first touch, poor people passes.
    Honda: good on the ball and helps in tracking back by relieving poor abate of some duties.
    Bonaventura: great pass to bacca for the goal. Combined well with Antonelli.
    Niang: he really needs to take a break and start sitting on the bench. His final touch is bad. He likes behaving as if he’s strong but any small body contact against opponents, he staggers and looses the ball. Since Balotelli is back, he should be benched.
    Bacca: the MOTM. nothing else.

  22. I am of the opinion that we use 4-2-3-1. The line should be Dona-Abate, Alex, Romagnoli, antonelli- montolivo/kucka, beto- Menez/niang, Honda/Boa, bonaventura/El shara- Bacca/Balo

  23. milan should forget fellaini, because of is price tag, milan should buy Taarabt and get Christian Tello on loan, and a reliable CB, PS why is galliani stalling on ridding milan of deadweight players?

  24. The thing that irks me, is seeing Abate, Honda, Poli and captain Montislowvo on the pitch, monty is neither a defensive midfielder or an attacking midfielder, so can somebody tell me is monty job in milan?

  25. Good article from a good Milanisti all has being said but I’d like to chip in some points.
    1. No matter what magic Galliani pulls off in this transfer, he should be the first to leave the club at the summer mercato.
    2 Whatever was said to Monty that brought out such performance should be pon on replay.
    3. If its possible, they should replay this match for them before their next match so they can be psyched up to tsar their opposition apart.
    Forza Rossoneri.

  26. BREAKING: some reports suggest L. Adriano deal with chinese club is off, even his entourage admitted there are some issues

    • I saw it… Im very conflicted about it as we could use the money, and then again, I never had anything against Adriano, but the attack is the departement in which we have least concerns, with or without Adriano.
      Apparently its an issue between the club and Adriano and not with Milan, which is a good anecdote to have in mind. Its not 100 % yet that its off but its looking like it…

  27. SELL HIM OFF.. 15m go spend it on Witsel now n pay the rest later on ffs cerci is off n elsharaawy El ghazi in nocerino I’ll pay for the bus ticket. EL ghazi n Witsel.

  28. 5 players that should never have played in Milan:
    Mexes, Zapata, Poli, Niang, …
    2 good players that aren´t worthy anymore: Boateng and Balotelli
    If we don´t trade these guys Juventus will thank us for the next 2 or 3 years.

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