Four days after beating Empoli, Milan faced Lazio in the first leg of the Coppa Italia Semi-finals. The game finished goalless with all to be decided in the reverse fixture at the San Siro.
1. Time for Castillejo?
Samu started in the 3-0 win against Empoli last Friday, making a brilliant performance, being directly involved in all three goals, scoring and assisting one as well as being part of the build-up for the first goal. This time around Gattuso started the game with Suso on the right flank. The Spaniard continued with his poor performances as he failed to make an impact on the game.
Castillejo, on the other hand, has made some excellent movements when being on the field, adding pace on the wing and showing great desire, something we did not see from Suso today. Maybe it is time for the coach to make some changes to the starting eleven and give Samu a chance.
2. Romagnoli on the right path
In what was a very defensive game, the Rossoneri needed to maintain concentration for the full 90 minutes. Although the entire defence did great, the captain was the best on the field yet again. Alessio showed great composure throughout the game, preventing the Lazio attack from clear chances even if they were attacking more than their opponents.
Romagnoli did a few crucial tackles and did not let Immobile show what he is capable of. Milan fans should be happy as their captain is improving with every game becoming a world class centre back.
3. Calabria making Gattuso’s life hard
Although Conti has recently recovered from his injury, he has managed three assists in the few minutes he has played, though he would certainly not be in the starting line-up straight away. Calabria showed today that he possesses excellent defensive abilities, using his pace to make forward runs as well, with good ball control and dribbling to back it off.
As some fans see it, Davide is a better player in defence while Conti is better in the attacking part, which might be correct. However, both are showing great promise, and it will be hard for Gattuso to make his choice. Fortunately, the season is long and what better than having quality depth to count on when needed.
4. Paqueta with the dirty work
Apart from his dribbling and skills in attack, Paqueta has a lot to give in the defensive plan as well. In a game, where Lazio was putting constant pressure on Milan, the Brazilian had to help his teammates at the back.
Dealing with Milinkovic-Savic, Paqueta showed he could get the ball back for his team, making the Serbian look silly at times, adding to that great tactical awareness, he showed exactly how good he is in all parts of the game. Leonardo should be proud with his new signing as the Brazilian has adapted quickly to the team and made an instant impact, hinting that he has potential to be great.
5. Handling pressure
Most Milan fans will remember how the team dealt with situations, in which the opposite side was putting pressure on them. Since Gattuso was appointed as the manager, Milan started getting decent results when facing teams from the top six, excluding Juventus, who are dominant in Italy. Moreover, an aspect that has improved in the last three or so months, is the way Milan control the game when the opponents are attacking.
The Rossoneri are looking more and more composed, with a good back line, that does not give up the ball time after time. The team seems comfortable when they defend and as of now, it’s one of the best defences in Europe’s top five leagues.
Gattuso has certainly improved a lot defensively and is progressing even further so we can only be happy with the way the team is going and give them some support as they have come a long way in the last year.