Milan Sampdoria has perhaps definitively sank the Scudetto hopes of the Rossoneri, static and without many ideas against the excellent organization of Ranieri
With a little more luck, the goal of Kessié he would have given Milan the victory in injury time. As stated however correctly by Pioli at the press conference, both the rhythms and the approach were lacking. Little or nothing worked in the ranks of Milan, with Theo Hernandez’s mistake in Quagliarella’s goal that expresses well the bad Rossoneri afternoon. In addition to having suffered a lot from the Sampdoria strikers and the combinations on the side chains, Milan seemed surprised by the approach of the guests.
Sampdoria certainly did not come to make the barricades at San Siro, on the contrary, he opted for a line with a rather high center of gravity, with pressing attempts that have generated several errors in the disengagement of the opponents. In possession, Pioli raised both full-backs (Theo and Saelemaekers), to fill the attacking front with more men.
Kessié e Bennacer instead they lowered a lot on the line of the defenders to guide the ball exit: this move, however, ended up expanding excessively the distances between the departments. The two Milan midfielders, on whom Sampdoria shortened well, often lacked passing solutions, the teammates were far away: we therefore saw several errors that led to dangerous restarts.
An example here. Kessié is with his back to goal and with his teammates far away, Milan are not lined up well. The pressing of Sampdoria worked.
In general, the Ligurians have been good at keeping Milan away from their trocar for a long time. In addition to a rather high line (with Candreva often lowering to form a 5-line), the distances between the departments were very small. The Rossoneri struggled to advance the action, we saw an often sterile possession with the ball coming back in the end. Milan struggled to trigger their tips in dangerous situations.
In both slides, the maneuver stops. In the second, Bennacer is forced to go back. In the first, Milan are outnumbered in the wing: note the movement of Tonelli, who is very detached from the line to follow Calhanoglu. Sampdoria were as orderly as they were aggressive.
Milan’s big problem was the static, with the players too firm. The attacking phase was so predictable, something that made the game of Sampdoria. The high line held by Ranieri made the Rossoneri’s maneuver even more predictable: Milan was too frantic in seeking verticality and the aggression of depth. He launched from behind in a rather obvious way, but the defense of Sampdoria has won almost all the air duels.
A more patient and elaborate dribble would have been better. The 4 strikers were almost always very high close to the opposing defense, but it would have been better if someone came to meet to be served behind the Dorian midfield. Not surprisingly, Milan’s most interesting actions came when Ibra and companions were found between the lines, a situation that we have seen too little.
An example in the slide above, where Tomori launch from below. As you can see, Sampdoria’s line is quite high: however, there is a huge distance between Milan’s midfield and attack. All the Rossoneri strikers are on the same line as the defense, no one coming towards them and serving as a link. AC Milan throws it on physicality, looking for high balls which, however, have been read well by Sampdoria. The team is too static.
Before the expulsion of Silva in the 60 ‘, the hosts had scored the misery of 0.18 Expected Goals, basically failing to pull on action. More than the points lost, Pioli’s main concern comes from poverty of ideas manifested in the possession phase. For Sampdoria it was too easy to block the maneuver of a predictable and rigid Milan.
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