AC Milan vs. Bologna: Takeaways from Match

Matteo BonettiContributor IFebruary 14, 2014

AC Milan forward Mario Balotelli walks on the field during the Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and Bologna at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Friday, Feb. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

Milan earned three points against Bologna in a narrow 1-0 win at home in what was otherwise a depressing game for Rossoneri fans.

A thunderous strike by Mario Balotelli at the end of the match sealed a win despite the lackluster performance overall. The Italian was able to put the "Super" moniker back in his nickname—for now.

What's evident straight away is that Clarence Seedorf's 4-2-3-1 isn't working with the personnel available. The front four play on an island for the most part, leaving the back six exposed when opponents break away on the counter. 

Mario Balotelli certainly isn't the most hard-working striker, but he has plenty of other skills which truly separate him from the rest.

Balotelli strikes through the ball on his goal from 45 meters out.
Balotelli strikes through the ball on his goal from 45 meters out.Claudio Villa/Getty Images

It's fine for a team to have one player that takes it easy on the defensive side, but when the attacking midfielders tend to have some of the same qualities, you'll run into plenty of trouble.

There's just no need to use Keisuke Honda, Kaka and Adel Taarabt together, as we've learned in recent weeks. Their skills aren't complementary, and if there's anything a playmaker needs, it's for a teammate to make that surging diagonal run in the attacking half.

Cruise ships have been spotted turning faster than Honda, who tends to hold on to position far too long and mostly plays with his back to the defender as he desperately tries to find someone to pass the ball to.

Honda still hasn't settled into his position.
Honda still hasn't settled into his position.Antonio Calanni/Associated Press/Associated Press

Taarabt—while supremely talented—falls in love with the dribble and takes on a second defender when there's a much more viable option open in space for a pass.

Even though Taarabt was one of the best performers, he's going to have to learn to adopt a more unselfish tactical approach, as he doesn't need to single-handedly win games like he had to at Queens Park Rangers.

The defense is another gigantic issue.

Adil Rami has really outperformed the rest and is the only defender right now who has truly cemented his place in the starting XI.

Mattia De Sciglio seems to have regressed from last season, when he truly looked like one of the brightest up-and-coming youngsters in the game. While De Sciglio is still a very promising player, his crosses seem to have taken a Massimo Oddo-esque route into the upper ring of the San Siro.

It's been a revolving door at the back and the lack of chemistry on defense really shows on a weekly basis.

Simply put, Seedorf's men face a huge risk next week when they take on Atletico Madrid. The Spanish side have a diabolical work rate and could really embarrass the Rossoneri, who struggled against one of the worst sides in Serie A at home.