The second game actually started in almost the same way as a match against MU. Seems like Piolli was happy with team’s aproach in the United’s game. They got their reinforcements too: Theo was back along with Calhanoglu, probably two of the most creative players in Milan’s squad. This fact enabled Milan to play a bit more attacking and possesion based game against Napoli. However, their game was based by the same principles like against MU: higher press while Napoli was building out from the back, a bit deeper block when Napoli was in control of the ball near the halfway line and defensive halfspaces overcrowding on the low block which forced Napoli either to play on the wings or circulate the ball in their midfield. Despite a few Napoli chances, this approach seemed to work. Altough it needs to be said that Napoli didn’t have much problems playing against Milan’s high block press. However, the mid-to-low block was definitely giving Gattuso’s men a headache.
Probably the most interesting thing about Milan’s attacking play was Tonali’s role. He was constantly dropping between two centerbacks in buildup play and taking care of deep ball transitions, either by giving out Pirloesque passes to the wings/over the top or by progressing the ball via vertical runs. This meant that Calhanoglu had to drop deeper to make 2v2 against Napoli’s double pivot and also giving Theo Hernandez an opportunity to get higher on the field. The build up phase looked something like 3 center backs (including Tonali’s deep position) 2 midfielders and sometimes a right back, who was a passing option which made the field wider and subsuquently forced Napoli’s high press to cover more ground than they would have needed if the right back was higher on the pitch. However, this kind of buildup didn’t help with chance creation. Milan still lacked Ibrahimovic, Krunic was ineffective on the left halfspace Calhanoglu was a bit rusty on the final third and Napoli’s middle block press was limiting Milan to playing in the wings. Even the ball circulation in the middle proved to be quite risky because of Napoli’s insistence pressing almost man to man, even when Milan was in total control of the ball..
|General||Contact Us||Social Media|