Lazio 3, Milan 0: From Bad to Worse

Have you ever watched a movie where things were going badly for the star, and then, just when you didn't think it could get any worse it did? That movie is Milan's 2021. We started this calendar year in first place, and after this match, we are in fifth place. There are a lot of factors that may have influenced our poor form of late, but ultimately, the ball was in our hands. First place was ours to lose, and we lost it spectacularly. Even after Juventus and Roma dropped points to help us, we could not take advantage of the opportunity. Things just went from bad to worse.

Kinda like that

The match kicked off with a bang, with Calhanoglu forcing Reina into a save in less than a minute. Unfortunately, Lazio countered and Correa scored a goal less than two minutes in. 1-0 Lazio. Sometimes conceding a goal like that is like a slap in the face, but sometimes, it's like getting punched so hard you can't breathe or do anything. For Milan, this goal was the latter. They were incredibly slow to react.

For Lazio, it just set the pace... a relentless pace, where they would take the ball from our lethargic midfield and race down the sides to face Gigio Donnarumma, who was often left helpless and alone. Despite Milan having 60% possession and taking more shots than Lazio, yet with the same number of shots on target, Milan ended on the wrong side of a 3-0 scoreline.

He can't stop everything, he needs all 11 players

We caught one break in the 43rd when Lazzari scored and Orsato was going to let it stand. However, a VAR review showed he was offside, so it was called back. After the half, though, we were not so lucky. Calhanoglu was fouled and Orsato allowed Lazio to play the advantage, a play which resulted in another Correa goal. Orsato was going to let the goal stand, but the VAR refs told him to check the replay because they thought Calhanoglu was fouled. The replay that we saw showed that, too, but Orsato stuck with his original call anyway. 2-0 Lazio.

After a fingertip save from Gigio and a yellow card for Milinkovic-Savic for impeding the keeper, Pioli brought on Leao and Brahim Diaz for Mandzukic and Saelemaekers, then Dalot and Tonali for Calabria and Bennacer. His final sub was a little surprising, considering that Tomori supposedly had an injury the other day, but he pulled Kjaer off in the 73rd to bring on Romagnoli for the first time in months. Tomori repaid that faith with a header in the 73rd that Reina saved, but he was definitely not 100% tonight.

Milan's defense, present and past

Pioli's subs did make an impact, Milan did have a few chances, but Immobile still scored the third goal in the 87th minute. 3-0 Lazio. Kessie's header in the 89th hit the crossbar, and that was the closest that Milan got to scoring in this one. Things just went from bad to worse. We started this match in second place and ended it in fifth. Granted, that is a testament to how tight the competition is for top four this season, as well, but we were top of the table for the first half of the season.

Some of it is down to mentality, which falls on Pioli's big shoulders. Except some of it has to do with the fact that we played the most matches this season, after having almost no break in the summer, and having had a horrific amount of injuries. Maintaining the mentality throughout that time seems to have impacted the mentality now. Then there is the Super League fiasco, of which Elliott and/or Gazidis are foolishly clinging to, despite Maldini's protests. Any one of these things could impact the mentality, let alone all of them.

No matter how hard they tried, that ball would not go in

Still, you have to question whether or not Pioli will stay on next year after a match like this. Our midfield was completely overrun from the first minute, and he made exactly zero changes tactically to change that. Lazio relentlessly managed to take the ball from us and attack on the counter again and again and he just watched in disbelief. While you could also argue that he doesn't have a lot to work with to make changes, it is starting to feel more like the wave of good fortune that he has been riding with his initial choices is crashing, and he is struggling to keep his tactics above water. 

At the same time, this was a young team that has over performed for more than a year now. It could well be that how they are playing now is how is how they should have been playing all along. But as a fan, it is hard to watch them play so well for so long, and then have a slump like they are now. We started this calendar year at the top, then slipped into second place, and now have crashed down to fifth. Things have just gone from bad to worse.

This post inspired by the music of NIN's "Hurt"

Our next match is
Serie A Week 34
Milan vs. Benevento
Saturday, May 1 • 20:45 CEST (2:45pm EDT)

Lazio 3, Milan 0: From Bad to Worse Lazio 3, Milan 0: From Bad to Worse Reviewed by Elaine on 5:21 PM Rating: 5
Powered by Blogger.