Pazzini does an ‘Inzaghi’, but uninspired Milan still leave a lot to be desired

Aditya Bajaj analyses the Rossoneri's victory over Bologna and explains as to why there is a still lot left to be desired in the performance dished out by Allegri's men...

For the first one, he did fall quite easily to win and score the penalty. For the second one, he made the most of a ghastly slip up by the Rossoblu goalkeeper while his third was an audacious back heel deflection of a wayward Nocerino pass, which by no means was a stunner.

Pazzini’s hat-trick against Bologna on Saturday reminded one and all of former Milan hitman and legend Pippo Inzaghi going by the nature of the goals scored by the striker who made the most of being in the right place at the right time all throughout the match. But that’s where the similarities end, because while Inzaghi’s goals for Milan most of the time, if not all, epitomized a great performance by the whole team deserving nothing less than a victory, Pazzo’s was an embodiment of the opposite.

Be not deceived by the impressive score line in favour of the Rossoneri, as by no means were Milan the better side. An Alessandro Diamanti inspired Bologna certainly were first rate and deserved to atleast take a point from the game, or maybe even all three had their strikers not been so wasteful in front of goal. Milan goalkeeper, Christian Abbiati, would have done well to have his vocal cords massaged after the match, as he must have surely lost his voice having had to shout at his careless defenders every time Diamanti opened up space to leave the goalkeeper at the mercy of the opposing strikers.

The defense was in shambles, led by the not so effective veteran Daniele Bonera who let Robert Acquafresca run past him on multiple occasions only for the Bologna forward to make a complete mess of his lively runs directly into the box. Why is Mister Allegri shying away from lining up Christian Zapata at the heart of his defense is still a mystery given that he was signed almost a month ago, so unlike in the case of late signings Bojan and Nigel De Jong, he cannot use the excuse of having little time to understand his player. Zapata is no stranger to Italian football having plied his trade and made a name for himself at Udinese a couple of seasons ago.

Mattia De Sciglio’s performance as a right back, was amongst the very few bright spots for Milan and with Ignazio Abate out with an injury, the 19-year old will look to make the most of this opportunity and he showed flashes of brilliance with some amazingly timed tackles, amidst a few nervous moments which is totally understandable given his inexperience at this level. But for how long can a club as big as Milan bear with the average performances of Luca Antonini is puzzling to say the least. Yes, they could not fill the void during the summer, but the Italian should be considered for nothing more than a role from the bench.

         Mattia De Sciglio's performance was one of the better ones for Milan

Urby Emmanuelson is being wasted on the bench, given that there are better options than him in midfield, but considering that the 26-year old Dutchman started out his career as a left back for Ajax, its high time Allegri plays him in that position and the start of the season is the best time to try him out as most of the teams will be rusty and the opening few fixtures this season are considerably easier and favourable to the team. He is naturally left-footed, has played in that position before and is really pacey that would make Milan dangerous from both flanks, once Abate returns from injury given that the Italian is amongst the fastest right backs in Italy. Also, honestly, anyone who can play with his left foot and do a little bit of defending is an upgrade from Antonini who never qualified as a player of Milan’s class. Philippe Mexes’ return will naturally lend more steel and experience to the defense and the team will look more assured at the back if Francesco Acerbi can capitalize on his good performance against Bologna and do justice to the no. 13 jersey he has inherited from the great Alessandro Nesta.

In midfield, the lack of creativity was far more evident than ever before as the midfielders failed to inspire the team following Riccardo Montolivo injury early in the match. Nigel De Jong was called in much before than expected in the first half, making an unexpected debut, which meant that Milan played the remaining one hour or so with three defensive midfielders in Antonio Nocerino, Massimo Ambrosini and the former Manchester City midfielder himself. The Netherlands international is an interesting and smart addition to the squad as not only does he add that extra punch of steel like fellow Dutchman and former Milan stalwart Mark Van Bommel, but his presence will also allow Montilivo to play in a more advanced role on the left side of the midfield to lend more creativity to the side with Antonio Nocerino making dog like runs like he did last season, from the right hand side.

More upfront, Kevin Prince Boateng was more than impressive in his role as a trequartista and looked like the only player on the field to pose a threat of any kind to the Bolognese defense. His bullet like shots on goal from distance continued to be a nuisance to the Rossoblu keeper Agliardi and it was his lofted ball to Pazzini that led to the opening penalty and goal. The Ghanaian no doubt remains the Rossoneri’s most lethal weapon in attack and unlike last season will hope to remain fit throughout this term, as the departure of Ibrahimovic renders him more important to the team.

        Kevin Prince Boateng tormented the Bologna defense throughout

Stephen El-Shaarawy still has a lot of work to do but with Robinho out for a month, he cannot afford  to lose this opportunity to cement a place in the side as with new signing Bojan waiting in the wings, another uninspired performance will surely force Allegri to try him as the supporting striker.

However, no one can take away from Pazzini the hat-trick he scored as he silenced his detractors by pulling in a very impressive performance thanks to his poaching abilities and in Pato’s absence he will have to continue in the same fashion that once made him one of the most feared strikers in the peninsula while at Sampdoria. It’s a little unfortunate however, that the international break will hamper the momentum a little bit but the treble of goals will do a world of good to his confidence which was badly destroyed last season at Inter as he continues to prove that Milan did not give up Cassano and a 7 million cheque to Inter for nothing.

As for the club, the victory comes as a welcome relief having been continuously criticized following their upset against Sampdoria last Sunday, and the two week hiatus will help them recuperate important first team players like Philippe Mexes, Ignazio Abate, Robinho and Pato. All in all, even though not impressive by the club’s high standards, Milan were an improvement from the group that played against Sampdoria and rest assured the team is only getting better when the cavalry returns fully fit and charged up for what’s supposed to be a breakout season for the club as they begin a new era in their history.

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