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Empoli 1, Milan 1: Quagmire



This was a game that Milan should have won. And they were winning, in spite of Borini, until conceding yet another goal in the second half. That makes seven of all eight goals conceded this season conceded in the second half. To say that Milan are stuck mentally is quite the understatement. In fact, the whole team seem to be stuck in a quagmire.

Even the hero's heroics were credited elsewhere

Despite an opening 45 minutes that included five shots on target for Milan, the most in a first half this season, slowing legs and errors saw Milan drop points once again. And this time in a game that was a must win. The harsh reality is that Empoli’s wage bill is €16m, while Milan’s wage bill is a whopping €140m. Those numbers might be important to our hedge fund owners, who are numbers people.

The first half saw chances for both sides. The fact that Milan had ten shots on goal, five in each half, sounds great. Until you realize they took 24 shots. Empoli were not wasteful at all – three shots, three on target. Four on target, if you count Capezzi’s own goal. That’s right, in the 10th minute Laxalt sent a cross into the Empoli defense, which was erroneously cleared straight to Biglia. And as if that assist from Empoli wasn’t enough, Capezzi deflected it into his own net to make it 1-0 Milan. Poor Biglia, even his heroics are taken from him. Still, Milan deserved the lead going into the half as they were far more dangerous.

Biglia's effort was awarded to Capezzi

The second half was where Milan got bogged down again. Whereas in prior games, we saw only 20-30 minutes of a lapse in mentality, the entire second half was just a slowing of mind, body, and effectiveness for Milan. So painful to watch. And the culminating moment happened in the 69th when Romagnoli made an error in trying to clear the ball and then had to make a rash tackle to make up for it. Well it also could have been Biglia’s poor tackle immediately thereafter, the referee had choices to award the penalty. But he did award it, and Caputo converted it to make the final score 1-1.

Cutrone was subbed on in the 73rd for the impotent Borini. Borini’s special skill, falling to the ground every time he is touched, was useful in getting Empoli back to back yellow cards in the 53rd and 54th minutes. But we needed goals more than we needed them cautioned. Gattuso subbed quickly, with all subs being made within five minutes, which is also about the time Cutrone was noticeably limping. But he stayed on, he had to. This is the painful part of only having two real strikers. Higuain may or may not be fit for Sunday, Cutrone’s prospects don’t look bright, and we face another game of Borini running and falling. Or Biglia becoming a hero with an assist and deflection from the opposition.

Both Romagnoli and Terracciano will be remembered for this game, but for opposite reasons

As we discussed on the podcast earlier this week, things off the pitch are looking up. Gazidis has signed on and will become official December first, and Gandini official terminated his contract with Roma yesterday, with plans to return to Milan. However, on the pitch, Gattuso seems more confused than ever about what is actually happening, and while he may have the hearts of the players, he does not seem to have their minds any longer. Until that changes, Milan will continue to stagnate in the quagmire.


This post inspired by the music of The Bolshoi’s “Barrowlands”


Our next match is
Serie A Week 7
Sassuolo vs. Milan
Sunday, September 30 • 20:30 CEST (2:30pm EDT)