Milan had a good opportunity to put even more pressure on Inter ahead of their clash with Lazio tomorrow, taking on Spezia away from home this evening. However, instead of collecting another three points, the Rossoneri were completely outplayed by the home side and eventually lost the game by two goals to nil.
Stefano Pioli’s men were deservedly beaten as nothing, absolutely nothing, worked for them this evening while Spezia seemed to be in the form of their life. If you look at the two squads, it’s clear that Vincenzo Italiano won the managerial battle by far, neutralising Milan in every way imaginable.
Ismael Bennacer was back in the starting XI after a long absence, hoping to find the passes in-between the opponents. Milan would have needed that this evening, more than in any other game this season in fact, as Spezia’s high press was impossible to play out of for Pioli’s men.
It didn’t help, either, that the Rossoneri players failed to use their individual skill to unlock the game and create some chances that way. We all know that Theo Hernandez, Hakan Calhanoglu and Rafael Leao are good at beating the opponents, but they all failed to do so this evening which was very surprising.
After a scoreless half, it was clear that Milan really needed to do something with Spezia dominating the game in every moment. However, Pioli didn’t make any changes and the first two minutes of the second half were chaotic indeed. Watching on, it was very frustrating to see the Rossoneri this evening.
Spezia deservedly took the lead after 56 minutes and extended it ten minutes later, putting the game to bed quite early. Mario Mandzukic was brought on, in addition to Fikayo Tomori and Souliho Meite, with Milan clearly switching to another style of play. Or at least so you would have thought.
Instead of testing their chances by playing it long, with both Mandzukic and Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the pitch, they continued to play the ball around in the defence for no good. Sure, they were forced to play many long balls throughout the game, but with that duo up front you absolutely need to do it more often. And that is especially when you can’t penetrate the defence with the normal build-up style.
Having said that, the attackers didn’t win many duels this evening and it was frankly an absolute sh*tshow from Pioli’s men who didn’t even have a single shot on target. In 90 minutes, against 17th-placed (ahead of the game) Spezia, not a single shot on target (!), which is absolutely mind-blowing.
Milan will take on Red Star Belgrade mid-week in the Europa League and then the Derby Della Madonnina awaits. No matter the outcome of Inter’s game tomorrow, the derby will be absolutely crucial and in many ways perhaps deciding in the Scudetto race. The momentum gained from a derby win is just invaluable. Pioli, without a doubt, has a lot to work on.
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