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Milan 1, Sassuolo 1: Define Clinical



Have you ever seen the prank where people put plastic wrap over the toilet but under the toilet seat? It keeps everything out of the toilet and can be very messy for the unwitting person, or so I’m told. That was like Sassuolo's net in this match, and Consigli was the plastic wrap keeping the ball out of it. With 22 shots and eight on target, we should have absolutely taken more from this match. And while we had some great shots and Consigli had some even better saves to stop them, we could have done better. Perhaps Gattuso should define clinical.

So many missed opportunities

To say that Consigli faced an onslaught of shots from Milan would be an understatement. It started in the first minute and just kept going. Well it was interrupted briefly when Romagnoli pulled up and had to be subbed off in the third minute. Ouch, that injury hurts a lot. Not only for this match but for potential matches in the future. However Musacchio did a great job deputizing, especially after playing so little this season. Despite his injury breaking up the frantic pace at which Milan started, Consigli faced great shots from Kessie, Calhanoglu, Suso, Bonaventura, Cutrone, and even Bonucci. My commentators said at the 35 minute mark that he had already tallied seven saves by that point. That is more than double the average most keepers save in an entire game.

So was it Consigli that kept us off the scoreboard so many times? Or was it Milan players not being clinical? Arguably, Consigli had one of the games of his career. And some of our best shots on goal that should have gone in were miraculously saved by him. But the game is always played with a keeper, and even against the best of keepers an attacker needs to be able to score. Even the biggest keepers can only cover a fraction of the net, the rest is wide open for the taking, one just has to be clinical in their shooting, even under pressure. And while Sassuolo defended like their Serie A lives depended on it (because they kind of did,) Milan can and should have been more clinical.

It was like a defensive ballet... with shirt pulling

To be fair, we kept Berardi off the scoresheet. Not that he was a hundred percent, though. One of the more comical moments for me was in the 51st. Berardi went down and was acting injured and looking for the call and not getting it and staying down and still not getting the call… Gigio and Bonucci went over and just stood him up and sent him on his way. Which was ironic because Bonucci took an elbow to the face from Peluso in the first half and didn’t get the call, and it was not reviewable because it was just outside the box. (translation: Peluso should have been sent off, but there was no call.) But he will always be more of a man than Berardi anyway.

Gattuso was limited on his subs, but trying to be attack-minded. So in the 55th he pulled Abate off and brought Silva on. That switched us to a three man back line. He had one sub left, and it looked like he was waiting to see if it worked. It forced Bonucci to switch sides, too, and one of the three hadn’t played most of the season. He apparently thought it was working, despite Sassuolo getting more possession and taking more chances and Milan’s defense looking increasingly fragile. So he put all of his eggs in one basket and brought on Kalinic for a 3-3-4 formation, something they’d never played in a game before. And it worked… for Sassuolo. In the 75th Politano scored on Milan at the San Siro against a defense that looked more like the three stooges than a three man backline. 1-0 Sassuolo.

Finally.

Gattuso said afterwards that it was a gamble that they had to take to try to get Champions League, but instead, they basically threw away our Champions League chances. Inter and Roma had both dropped points ahead of the match, giving us a golden opportunity. But with the mad scientist defense, we threw that opportunity out the door. It almost cost us all three points, too, but for some Kalinic heroics. Despite a number of his usual wild, off target shots, he managed to get one past Consigli in the 86th, assisted ironically by Musacchio. 1-1 all. Bonucci also got the dreaded yellow card, so will miss the Napoli match for card accumulation. Which was really stupid, because it wasn’t even for a foul, it was for his mouth. That is 100% preventable.

Fallen from grace

Sassuolo defended really well. And they were clinical, scoring a goal with only eight shots, three on target. They only had 23% possession, too, and they nearly took all three points from us. I know Gattuso likes to make the team run and work really hard, but perhaps, since scoring goals has been a problem for us all season long, he should spend some more time in training on shooting practice and building offensive partnerships and such. He gambled our Champions League hopes away, our chances are slimmer than ever now. Maybe it’s time he addresses the biggest problem we’ve had in this squad: scoring. But for that, he would need to define clinical.


This post inspired by the music of Garbage


Our next match is
Serie A Week 33
Milan vs. Napoli
Sunday, April 15 • 15:00 CEST (9am EDT)