Many have anticipated last night’s game as the first tough test for Milan. In fact, it was one hell of a test. Milan played badly against a homogeneous Lazio team. They have endured a tough 4-1 loss at the Stadio Olimpico.

Line-up:

(GK) – G. Donnarumma: 6/10 (MOTM)
The goalkeeper was heavily tested last night. He nearly got close to saving Immobile’s first goal from the penalty spot. He wasn’t at fault for any of Lazio’s games, even if he shouted his lungs out commanding his area. Gigio went on and made important saves, regardless of the score. Leadership building in progress.

(RB) – D. Calabria: 4/10 (FOTM)
The youngster was named in the starting line-up to cover for lightly injured Conti. He proved very combative and tenacious when called upon in the previous seasons, but not tonight. He was turned inside out by Immobile, as Calabria was exploited all night since he would get caught out of position. The young fullback lacked defending awareness and his usual aggression. A night to forget for him.

(CB) – L. Bonucci: 4.5/10
The newly appointed Captain had a bad game, the first we saw from him in a while. Failed to mark Immobile on his volleyed goal, he led the line but needs to lead by example in the coming fixtures, as yelling and shouting didn’t help much organizing the team. (Bonucci got a lower rating than Musacchio because we all know Bonucci’s level, and how Immobile made him look like Bonera is unacceptable)

(CB) – M. Musacchio: 5/10
The Argentine played fairly well but with the exception of some nervy moments. He avoided giving away a penalty, the new signing was very aggressive. He started well but his performance started to decline as team’s performance did also.

(LB) – R. Rodriguez: 5.5/10
The Swiss wing-back started well down the left flank but failed to combine with Borini or Montolivo as no dangerous attacks or crosses came from their side. Defensively, he was fairly solid but can do way better as soon as they gain a bit of chemistry at the back.

(CDM) – L. Biglia: 6/10
The former Lazio captain made his comeback at the Stadio Olimpico, while he seemed unfazed by the boos of the Lazio fans. Calm on the ball, Lucas didn’t stand out. Biglia lost some balls in the second half but still offered great support in the middle of the field.

(Left CM) – R. Montolivo: 5/10
The former captain wasn’t great, he wasn’t the worst player. He was pretty basic, passed horizontally and backward. He did get a goal, but still, it wasn’t enough to spark a comeback.

(Right CM) – F. Kessie (4.5/10)
Kessie was very impressive in all the games in a Milan shirt, nobody expected him to underperform in such an important test. He was slow in reaction, on the ball, the Ivorian was sloppy. He did also commit the foul inside the box that resulted in Lazio’s first goal from the penalty spot.

(RW) – Suso (5/10)
Suso was impressive in the first games for Milan also, scoring and assisting while turning his markers inside out. Meanwhile, against Lazio, Suso didn’t spark the game, in fact, he was invisible for the whole first half. In the second half, he got more involved but after Milan was trailing 3-0. To be fair, he was very well marked.

(LW) – F. Borini (4.5/10)
The former Roma and Liverpool attacker showed nothing but work rate. No Dribbling skills or vision to create chances. He just ran without any real purpose or efficiency. All the criticism are pointed at him, but the as a whole didn’t perform any better.

(ST) – P. Cutrone (5/10)
The U21 Italian Wonderkid, before Lazio, couldn’t stop scoring. Cutrone was chasing down every loose through ball, pressing the center backs. He showed great work rate but was isolated for large part of the game. Couldn’t influence the game, since at times he was double marked by the opposition’s center backs.

Substitutions:

G. Bonaventura: (5/10)
He came on instead of Suso, as he returned from injury. He tried to influence the game from the right-hand side of the field but didn’t have enough time to do so. Don’t look too much into his rating.

N. Kalinic: (5.5/10)
The Croatian international showed impressive physicality on the rare occasions he was involved. He was isolated like Cutrone, but what’s intriguing as the game went on Milan could’ve used the two strikers in the box.

H. Calhanoglu (5.5/10)
Hakan was very active when he came on. Montella mentioned that he should sacrifice himself for the team like Borini does, and he did. He tackled, Crossed, and even had a few shots, which one of them resulted as the only goal for Milan scored on the rebound by Montolivo. He created a spark when called upon.

Summary

The ratings are harsh. On a losing team, the ratings should be below average to the players that were at fault or extremely off-game. But in this match, it’s like it took Milan to concede 3 goals to start reacting. Bonucci and Kessie particularly disappointed all the Milan fans. As it showed and mentioned above, Lazio was homogeneous, one unit and one team, fighting for the same goal of beating AC Milan. Their coach, Simone Inzaghi, said: “Now everyone knows Lazio”.
Hate to agree with him but it’s true. Before anyone starts jumping out of their seats and start creating comparison tables on Milan spent 200m+ and still got beaten, take into consideration the following points:

  • Suso and Donnarumma were the only players that were present and played 20+ games last year. (Excluding Calabria) Which is 2 out of 11 players.
  • We started with 8 (out of 11) new players, where I consider Montolivo a new player since he was barely contributing the past 2 seasons at Milan.
  • The Backline was all over the place, and it showed lack of communication. Even Midfield too. Just bear in mind that Musacchio, Rodriguez, and Calhanoglu arrived in Italy 2 months ago, so the language barrier is a valid point.
  • Blaming the coach for his selection decisions won’t help, as he sees everyone in training and gets extended reports, he knows what’s at stake. Blaming him for Cutrone>Kalinic/A.Silva, well I say: check Cutrone’s scoring record lately, plus he’s physically fit.
  • Blaming him for Montolivo>Calhanoglu, Hakan needs to adapt to the Italian league and to play in a certain way, even learn to break down 3-5-2 formations since he’s asked to break down defenses with killer passes.
  • Blaming him for Borini>Bonaventura, Jack just came back from injury, meanwhile, Borini had two weeks to prepare for Lazio’s match plus we cannot risk a key player when we’re about to play series of games.
  • But I will give Calabria>Abate. The latter would’ve been more solid defensively, plus his crossing abilities wasn’t needed. the style of play employed early on was launching long balls over the top to the wingers, the full-backs rarely came forward to offer an option to cross. So Abate, with his experience, and his better understanding with Bonucci and especially Suso down the right would’ve been more helpful since they played together last season. But again, the coach is the coach, he knows best. In Montella we trust.

Player Ratings: Lazio vs Milan 4-1

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