Why We Still Fight: Atalanta vs AC Milan

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Why We Still Fight: Atalanta vs AC Milan Empty Why We Still Fight: Atalanta vs AC Milan

Post by M99 Sun 03 Apr 2016, 10:55

http://www.milanadictos.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/atalanta_acmilan020416_rprensa.jpg
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Post by Kaladin Sun 03 Apr 2016, 14:37

MDS RM lol
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Post by dostoevsky Sun 03 Apr 2016, 15:20

I know Prince can be a chaotic player but it's pretty sad that De Sciglio's playing right wing ahead of him. Laughing
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Post by Kaladin Sun 03 Apr 2016, 15:43

You know a coach isn't gonna last when he starts playing fullbacks further up (Seedorf: Abate RW, Pippo: Antonelli: LCM)
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Post by dostoevsky Sun 03 Apr 2016, 15:48

Brings back memories of Premier League Legend Ranieri playing 4 fullbacks at a time at Inter Proud
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Post by Kaladin Sun 03 Apr 2016, 16:00

Not even mad, great goal from Pinilla
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Post by •MilanDevil• Sun 03 Apr 2016, 17:07

The project is a success! We have made the transition from a successful team to a painfully average one. Proud

Second highest player salaries in the league, Laughing

New season, same old Milan.
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Post by Casciavit Sun 03 Apr 2016, 19:02

Seems like I didn't miss anything by sleeping in hmm
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Post by dostoevsky Fri 08 Apr 2016, 14:56

I avoided watching my recording of this game for a few days out of disappointment and bitterness, but I'm glad that I eventually watched the game in completion.

Too many times this season, we've fielded a perfectly capable side and been unable to secure a result, yet here I feel that Mihajlovic must shoulder a fair portion of the blame. We struggled greatly against Atalanta in our first game. It was probably Romagnoli's worst performance of the season, while we were unable to control the middle due to Atalanta's physicality and were unable to control their flying wingers. What I wanted to see was a response to the last game, a determination to improve and fix the issues that plagued us in our last clash, as we had done against Fiorentina and Napoli.

Instead, for over an hour I saw a side that was short of ideas and energy. The decision to field De Sciglio at RM was one of Sinisa's worst of the season. He was clearly uncomfortable playing so high up the pitch and it drastically compromised our game. Aside from mustering one of the worst strikes on goal of all time after being played in down the right, MDS did nothing of note. He didn't help recycle possession, he didn't link well with Abate on the overlap and he didn't have the capacity to take on men himself. In addition, the lack of a threat down our right hand side gave Drame the license to come forward as necesssary, letting Gomez drift into the centre at will.

We looked disjointed and despite taking the lead from the spot we never looked in control. There was no link between midfield and attack as we lined up and we became too stretched across the park. We were sucked into an end to end game that suited Atalanta and exposed our backline. We tried to play straight to Bacca and Adriano but they lacked support and couldn't hold it up to bring others into play. With no structure in play to win the ball back quickly or to at least force the ball carrier to play it back or sideways, it was child's play for Atalanta to seek out Gomez and Diamanti to turn into the centre and run directly at us.

Gomez in particular was a continual thorn in our side, despite the fact that we'd fielded two natural right backs. Abate seemed to have instructions to follow him inside, often ending up standing inside Zapata, which he did capably for the most part, though he was fortunate to make up for an early positional mistake with a last ditch block in the opening ten minutes. De Sciglio was often coming inside to help on the break in the opening half an hour but was for the most part ineffective defensively as well.

The goals were deserved, if not for great play, but for determination on Atalanta's part. Pinilla's overhead kick was spectacular and superbly placed, but it wouldn't have been possible had Zapata stayed with his man rather than ball watching after the initial clearance. Pinilla showed great technique, but had Zapata been putting physical pressure on him he'd have been unable to pull it off.

The second goal was another case of poor concentration, but this time on a team level. Bertolacci's ball into the centre was easily picked out in the centre, allowing Atalanta to charge to the top of the box. Pinilla peeled wide, escaping Zapata's attention and Abate came inside to deal with Gomez, yet we scrambled the ball away and started to reset, only for De Sciglio to throw it away again trying to pass back across traffic into the forwards. With Abate having returned to the flank and Zapata still keeping an eye on Pinilla out wide, there was a gaping hole in the middle. Montolivo and Bertolacci were caught in the quick transition by De Roon's quick movement back to the top of the box, forcing Romagnoli to come out and leave Gomez free to receive and finish.

If the above paragraph seems convoluted, it can be simply summed up instead in a single word: chaos. Atalanta's forwards and midfielders were constantly on the move, looking to get in behind, looking to take advantage of a lapse in concentration. We dealt with Atalanta's pressure for long stages, through a combination of determination and desperation, but like all season, we eventually just switched off. Having regained the ball from a counter, we gave it up immediately before we'd reset our structures and found ourselves a man down in the box. It was a collective failure, the result of one side passing the minutes by hoping for inspiration against one side that was sticking doggedly to a game plan.

The first hour of this game was unacceptable. It was an unacceptable approach from Sinisa and it was an unacceptable display from those he trusted. To his credit however, he rectified the situation and in the last half an hour we actually looked like a side capable of taking the game to the opposition and playing attractive football. The introduction of Balotelli and Menez for Adriano and De Sciglio respectively completely altered the match. Granted, by this stage, Atalanta had a lead that they could protect and had little reason to continue to surge forward, however this was as much a response to our improved performance on the ball as their own defensive instincts.

Balotelli has been a frustrating figure on the pitch since his return from injury. On occasions, such as against Napoli, he has looked fired up and has used his time on the pitch to run around, demand the ball and fight to hold the ball, whilst other times he looks listless and barely moves. He was involved from the off against Atalanta however and gave his most complete performance yet this season. He refused to be pushed off the ball by the Atalanta backline and won fouls in dangerous areas repeatedly. Aside from a couple of minutes in which he bizarrely seemed to lose interest, he moved from flank to flank, rotating well with Bacca and dropping deep when necessary, using the ball well and creating two excellent opportunities for Menez and Bacca with incisive passes into the box. His set piece delivery was superb, not simply a powerful effort on goal which Sportiello palmed away but also in targeting the right areas in the box which nearly led to an equaliser on several occasions. This was the Balotelli we want to see, someone who not only performed on the ball but who twice charged down Masiello to win the ball back and keep Atalanta pinned in their own half, who didn't go down to ground easily and who never once got into trouble with the referee.

It was a performance that was made possible by the excellent work of Menez. He changed the game by coming deep to collect the ball, giving Montolivo a willing partner on the ball when we built from the back and ironically allowing Bertolacci to become more involved as Jack moved to the right, giving Bertolacci the run of the left flank that he enjoys. Whereas last year, Menez would drop deep only to leave the opposition backline unoccupied, here he was able to patrol midfield with Bacca occupying the centre, swapping positions with Balotelli as the second man in the box as play developed. Where before we had been predictable, suddenly we had a circulation of movement, with all of Balotelli, Menez, Bonaventura, Bertolacci and Antonelli comfortable at surging forward to make runs in behind and to take people on with the ball. Poli's introduction for a tiring Bertolacci yielded little more than an embarassing slip up but he maintained the necessary energy levels to unsettle Atalanta, who were reduced to threatening only from our own mistakes on the ball when passing at the back on occasion. We might not have found an equaliser, but we at least restored a bit of pride in the second half and allowed Balotelli and Menez to demonstrate their worth to the squad. There is a genuine argument to be made for playing a trident attack in future if both prove that they can bring such energy and focus from the start and not simply from the bench, particularly Mario.

It remains a calamitous result, and one that could easily have been avoided had we not gone into the game with a broken line-up, but there's still fight left in this side. Next time though, we must come out firing from the start, not after the damage has been done.
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