Genoa climbed to third place in Serie A after an excellent 1–0 win over AC Milan. Here are five thoughts on the match.
Montolivo’s welcome return
After getting injured on the eve of the World Cup, it was great to see Milan captain Riccardo Montolivo start for the first time this season. In a campaign marked by inconsistency, the skipper’s return is an important boost for the Rossoneri. It will take time for the midfielder to return to his best, but in Montolivo and Nigel de Jong, Milan have the basis of a stable midfield partnership that will at least provide the team with a defined identity. The captain was generous in possession by his standards, but as he gets back to match fitness, Montolivo’s passing should result in greater fluency in the team’s play.
Antonelli leads from the front
Luca Antonelli continued his excellent start to the season with another inspired display. Not only did the captain score the match-winning goal, but he was a rock at the back for Genoa. Whether it was the pace of Jeremy Menez or the trickery of Stephan El-Sharaawy, there was no getting past Antonelli on the day. Antonelli made three crucial interceptions and two clearances, helping centre-backs Sebastien De Maio and Armando Izzo deal with any threats that Milan had. If Genoa are to maintain their heady start to the season, they can be assured that their captain will lead from the front.
Milan’s corner problems refuse to go away
It was no surprise that once again Milan conceded from a corner. In fact, one could say it was a surprise that they didn’t concede more considering they faced 12 corners. Filippo Inzaghi has to solve this problem if the Rossoneri are to progress this season. Their marking on set pieces is all over the place, as was evident during Antonelli’s match-winning goal where Milan had three opportunities to clear the ball before the goal was scored. Diego Lopez didn’t come out confidently to catch balls, while neither Phillippe Mexes nor Adil Raimi took it upon them to organize the defence. On a technical level its clear that these players have the aptitude to deal with set pieces, but its the tactical organization that is failing the defence right now.
Perrin stops everything that Milan throw at him
One of the key reasons that Genoa have lost only once since the opening day of the season is the sensational form of Mattia Perrin. The young goalkeeper put in another faultless performance to thwart Milan. The excellent whoscored.com suggests that Perrin has no significant weaknesses and it would be hard for any observer to disagree. Perrin dealt with everything Milan threw at him, although it must be said his job was made easier by Jeremy Menez hitting selfish potshots straight at him from outside the box. Genoa face another big test against Roma this coming weekend and Perrin will have to maintain his excellent form if I Rossoblu are to get a positive result.
Genoa in dreamland
The city of Genoa is going through a football renaissance thanks to the outstanding form of its two teams. Genoa sit third in the Serie A table, just one point clear of rivals Sampdoria. The Stadio Luigi Ferraris is home to some inspirational football at the current moment, making it the good news story of Serie A this season. The best thing about Genoa’s win over Milan was that they were the superior team from start to finish. Gian Piero Gasperini now faces the challenge of keeping his men grounded. Most managers will say its harder to stay at the top than get there. I Rossoblu face a stern test against Roma on the weekend. Come out of it with a positive result and Genoa can really start to dream in this most open of Serie A campaigns.