AC Milan 1-2 Inter: Five things we learned – failed experiments and familiar disasters | OneFootball

AC Milan 1-2 Inter: Five things we learned – failed experiments and familiar disasters | OneFootball

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·23 April 2024

AC Milan 1-2 Inter: Five things we learned – failed experiments and familiar disasters

Article image:AC Milan 1-2 Inter: Five things we learned – failed experiments and familiar disasters

AC Milan lost their sixth straight derby against Inter on Monday night at San Siro, which meant their city rivals secured the Scudetto in the process.

Milan have made a habit of starting these games badly and they trailed early on when Francesco Acerbi headed in a Benjamin Pavard flick-on from a corner. Marcus Thuram doubled the advantage with a shot from the edge of the box early in the second half.

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Fikayo Tomori’s late finish from close range halved the deficit but in truth Milan got what they deserved after another very questionable performance in a big game. Below are five things we learned…

1. Same old story

It’s definitely easier to highlight what went wrong than what went right, so let’s start with the defence or rather the lack thereof.

Both Inter goals were cheap, as the issues Milan have had from set pieces were highlighted yet again after a corner kick whilst on the second goal the Rossoneri gave too much space and time to Thuram who didn’t fail to take advantage of it.

The only one that didn’t struggle was Theo who defended well and tried to make things happen going forward, but his performance was ultimately poor given that he lost his temper and earned himself a red card towards the end.

What is frustrating is that Milan have conceded plenty of set pieces to Simone Inzaghi’s Inter in the past couple of seasons, and Thuram scored in the derby before by coming on off the left onto his right foot. Lessons were not learned.

2. A failed experiment

It’s been a couple of seasons now where Milan have waited for Leao to find consistency and be a leader of this team, but maybe that’s just not going to happen. It must be said as a precursor that playing him as a centre-forward was strange.

The Portuguese had good moments and managed to get an assist and admittedly he was involved in the most chances, but he failed to convert when given a great opportunity and looked uninterested throughout the game, walking around, waving his hand and not putting the effort to turn things around.

It doesn’t matter how good he is when things are going his way he need to change his mentality and find the solutions himself when things are going south, as is his duty given he is the highest paid player on the time.

The interesting question here is whether a new coach can fix this and make him a top player and if not Milan might have to seriously consider if they are willing to part ways with the winger in the situation of a big offer coming in.

3. Some bright sparks

Noah Okafor exactly what Milan needed after coming off the bench, providing pace and intensity up front which led to some chances for the Rossoneri in the final part of the game.

It is a shame that he doesn’t get more minutes even when Pioli is supposedly rotating his squad and trying to find ways to get back to winning. It might even have been an idea to field him up front over Leao, if he was adamant on not starting Giroud.

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Samuel Chukwueze can feel disappointed not to have started again but he also had a positive game, although nothing flashy as his finish product was lacking.

It’s just bizarre that he continues to have to make do with substitute appearances to prove himself given how consistently well he has played as of late, and he often comes on in unfavourable situations too.

4. A familiar disaster

You can make a very strong argument that Milan have lost the last six derbies on a row because their midfield has been totally overrun. Ismael Bennacer, Yacine Adli, Yunus Musah and Ruben Loftus-Cheek all had disastrous games.

To a certain extend we can feel sorry for Musah who keeps getting played out of position and even though he can play on the right it is clearly not where he shines but Pioli insists on playing him there.

Bennacer and Loftus-Cheek were pretty much ghosts excluding a tackle here and there and they didn’t provide anything on the ball.

Adli was the only one trying as seen by his reaction after being subbed off, but when he was on the ball he, too, struggled with his accuracy. Credit to him for covering a lot of ground and at least trying.

In games like this, it is so important to have one or two players able to grab the occasion and control the tempo, taking the sting out of things and pushing on in the right moments. Milan are so lacking in that department.

5. End of the road

What a way for Pioli’s era to end. The coach has been losing consistently to Inter since last season and he keeps the same game style every single game against the Nerrazzurri which lead to the same result.

In addition to the poor and predictable tactics he also chose his starting XI poorly, similarly to the Roma game as he continues to not play players that have shown very good form as of late, even playing those searching for form out of possession.

There is only second place left to fight for, which means that 2023-24 will go down as a very forgettable season overall, and another regression after the title win of 2021-22, while a chasm has been opened up with Inter who look a lot more solid under Simone Inzaghi.

The only thing left to do is to wait and see who Pioli’s successor will be, because currently it feels like a very slow procession towards an inevitable fate.

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