Ibra is back, in a different Milan
Roma-Milan 1-2 was a game with strong contents and meanings. The referee decisions, the protests by Mourinho, the expulsion of Theo Hernández and then, obviously, the penalty won by Ibrahimovic will occupy all the spaces of analysis and controversy. Precisely because one of Maresca’s most controversial choices came following a foul on Ibrahimovic, and by virtue of the opening goal and the (splendid) one canceled in the second half, anyone who wants to talk about football can only start from the performance of the Swedish striker, by his enormous impact on Roma-Milan and on the Rossoneri team in general.
In reality, we have been talking about Ibra’s impact since he returned in January 2020. It seems like a century has gone by, Milan has returned to being a team, then it has become a credible team, today it is a very competitive team. This path was clearly manifested at the Olimpico in Rome, a clean field this season, in which even Spalletti’s near-perfect Napoli struggled, and only took one point away. Pioli’s Rossoneri arrived on that same pitch and imposed their strength, their bold personality, their style; they proved to be a mature and aware group, who know how to take and keep command of the games. Then, however, the decisive thrust is needed to win. It can be useful, especially in such hard and tight competitions.
The return of Ibra to one condition really acceptable, after the tasting with goals in Milan-Lazio and the promising but crazy match in Bologna, brings Milan into a new dimension. Not that Zlatan has stopped feeling and being leader and spiritual guide of his companions, only that around him there is a team that works, which needs more Ibra-finalizer than Ibra-totem, who so far has been able to take and keep the lead in the standings with authority and did it without him. His absence is less weighty than in the past, and this is the best news Pioli received this fall. Now, however, Ibra is back in a different Milan, and then it gets really interesting, given the ranking, towards the derby on the horizon, given the premises and promises of this sparkling start to the season.
Rome 1-2 AC Milan
How heavy is the victory for the mutilated Napoli
In essence, the speech made for Ibrahimovic and the his Milan also applies to the other leaders. Spalletti’s Napoli, in fact, beat Salernitana playing badly and, above all, giving up Osimhen and Insigne for 90 minutes. The Nigerian center forward and the blue captain, although very different and therefore very distant from each other for physical and technical characteristics, for the preferred type of game, are the two souls of Napoli. The fact that Spalletti had to – in the case of Osimhen, hit by a contracture – and / or wanted – in the case of Insigne, due to a slight fatigue – to keep them out, and won all the same, is an eloquent signal on the strength of this. squad. And it is not so much – or not only – a matter of reacting emotionally and therefore making up for the absences of two technical leaders with other types of quality: Spalletti won in Salerno thanks to the substitutes, the goal was achieved by Zielinski but the ‘have packaged Elmas and Petagna, or those who entered the field in place of Lozano and Mertens. That is, those who have occupied the slots that usually belong to Osimhen and Insigne. Considering then that Napoli continues to win even when they play badly, when their possession is sterile and not very vertical and therefore very predictable, it feeds the now inevitable candidacy of the Azzurri for the title. Perhaps only Inter, in Serie A, have an equal depth of staff, a variety of solutions similar to those of Napoli; perhaps only Milan, among the leading teams, have an ambitious and effective game like that of Spalletti’s team. Which, however, has only conceded three goals so far. And he also won that time, that is yesterday, when he did without Osimhen and Insigne. In the next match – Napoli-Verona, anything but easy – Koulibaly will be missing, expelled in the rodeo-moment of the Salerno derby. Perhaps it is the last exam to pass before definitively certifying the status of favorites for the Azzurri. It will be enough to wait seven days.
Dusan Vlahovic, stronger than everything
The second hat-trick of the 2021 calendar year allowed Vlahovic to be the first Fiorentina player to make such a feat since Batistuta – who in 1999 managed to score three goals in two different games, against Cagliari and Verona. In reality, the real record updated by the Serbian striker concerns the importance of a penalty kick in the context of a splendid hat-trick: the most significant goal was the first, the simplest one, the one arrived from the spot, a week later. the case that stirred the internal challenge with Cagliari. Seven days ago Vlahovic had left the shot from eleven meters to Biraghi, this time he claimed the ball, he wanted to beat the penalty and put it in. In a moment he canceled a month of controversy and tear-off statements, or at least made everyone forget them. Even to those fans who booed him and who yesterday, instead, applauded him. Maybe a little reluctantly, but it was inevitable. Also because the other two goals, both the result of the increasingly brilliant and sophisticated game of the Italian’s Fiorentina, were a sweet consequence of the penalty converted in the first half, of the moment in which Vlahovic proved – once more – to have a talent. superior, to be able and to know how to be stronger than everything. It is not yet known how his history with the purple team will end, how much poison will be sprayed out by all those involved in his now inevitable transfer, but the fact remains that Vlahovic is the strongest and most decisive player of a team that has a ‘clear identity, who practices effective and also enjoyable football and which, not surprisingly, is only one point from the Champions League area. These are all things that will please the Fiorentina fans, who have been victims of atrocious disappointments for years and who had already decided to erase the image of Vlahovic from their hearts. Rightly so, according to their vision of football and life. Maybe a little too early, as we saw during Fiorentina-Spezia 3-0.