Sampdoria vs. Milan: 5 Things We Learned

Matteo Bonetti@@TheCalcioGuyContributor IFebruary 23, 2014

Sampdoria vs. Milan: 5 Things We Learned

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    Milan picked up a convincing 2-0 win away to Sampdoria and extended their run on the table, as they are now only five points behind Inter in a battle to get back into Europe.

    The goals came from two January transfer window transfers—Adil Rami and Adel Taarabtand both have been the top performers for the Rossoneri since arriving from grim situations.

    The match turned ugly in the second half, as a string of harsh fouls riled up the Blucerchiati, with Maxi Lopez being red-carded for protesting—even though some would argue that his hair cut alone is worthy of a sending-off.

    Without further ado, let's take a look at five things we learned in this pivotal Serie A clash.

January Signings Making the Difference

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    Taarabt and Rami have made quite a difference since arriving in the January transfer window from situations where they were either exiled or unappreciated.

    Taarabt has looked like a reborn player altogether, as he was often branded as lazy in England.

    Since joining Milan, the Moroccan playmaker has not only shown plenty of flair, but an eye for goal and hard work on the defensive end.

    Rami, on the other hand, is by far Milan's best central defender and has really turned into a pillar at the back, showing plenty of toughness as well as good feet to get out of dangerous situations.

Seedorf Putting His Mark

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    We knew it would take a while for Clarence Seedorf's views to take place, as he is still dealing with plenty of members from the failed Massimiliano Allegri era.

    The 4-2-3-1 is finally taking shape and the inexperienced coach showed how it can work in Europe against the fiercest of opponents.

    After a promising display against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League, the team continued their good form despite yet another makeshift lineup and fully deserved the three points they picked up against Sampdoria.

Time for Honda to Wake Up

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    Even though Keisuke Honda has played slightly out of position on the left side of the attacking trio rather than in the middle as a trequartista, he has looked rusty and sluggish in possession.

    Against Sampdoria, the Japanese playmaker had a heavy touch and didn't look strong in any facet of his game.

    The best Honda has looked all season for Milan has been in their Coppa Italia clash against lowly second-division side Spezia, where he was used as a true No. 10. We will continue to give him the benefit of the doubt as he looks to adapt to Italian football after playing a full season in Russia.

    It'll be interesting to see how many more chances Seedorf will give him as a starter, especially once Stephan El Shaarawy returns to action.

Many Players Still Need Defined Role

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    Plenty of Milan players still need a defined role, as the likes of Andrea Poli and Riccardo Montolivo have been tried in different positions.

    Milan's captain is the most interesting tale, as it seems that he's not favored for one of the two defensive midfield positions that Seedorf likes to deploy.

    Then again, that was never Montolivo's position, as he thrives as a mezz'ala, a side midfielder in a 4-3-3. Some of his best performances have also come as an attacking midfielder under Cesare Prandelli on the Italian national team.

Europe Within Sight

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    Milan have now picked up 10 points in their last five Serie A games under new coach Clarence Seedorf and have marched up the table in style.

    With the Champions League being a lost hope, they are only five points away from a spot in the Europa League.

    What's more important is that Seedorf is now managing to pick up results while playing an aesthetically pleasing type of football that brings back occasional memories from the good old days. It's not quite champagne football yet, but it's becoming more effective by the week.