Serie A Women 2022/23 : How Milan exploited Juventus’s defensive mistakes by relying on excellent finishing – tactical analysis
Milan Women met Juventus Women in a clash between two of the best teams in Serie A Women and Milan succeeded in beating their opponents 4-3 following an entertaining match witnessing numerous goals, knowing that Juventus tried to make a comeback but were not successful in completing it. Milan, therefore, became fifth in the standings with 12 points while Juventus are holding the fourth spot with 14 points.
Both teams have not been performing at their best during the start of the season as they dropped many points but for Milan, such a win can change the whole season and it can affect the whole mentality of the team positively. It will most probably give the players much-needed confidence ahead of the upcoming games and will certainly motivate them to win more games and play with the same determination and efficiency.
For Juventus however, things are not going in their favour lately and the team is struggling to win important games. They drew against both Inter and Sassuolo and this time they lost against Milan who are not going through a beautiful period either. Therefore, this loss raises a lot of questions about Juventus’ form, especially when knowing that they will have to play against Lyon in the UEFA Women’s Champions League.
In this tactical analysis article, we will shed light on Milan’s attacking performance and tactics while exploring Juventus’ reaction and what led to their loss against Milan. The analysis will tackle Juventus’ defensive errors.
Milan opted for the 3-5-2 formation with Laura Giuliani, Laura Fusetti, Małgorzata Mesjasz and Guðný Árnadóttir in defence, Kamila Dubcová, Greta Adami and Christy Grimshaw as central midfielders, Valentina Bergamaschi and Angelica Soffia as wingers while the attacking duo was composed of Kosovare Asllani and Martina Piemonte.
On the other hand, Juventus started the match with Roberta Aprile as a goalkeeper, Matilde Lundorf Skovsen, Sara Gama, Linda Sembrant and Amanda Nildén in defence, Martina Rosucci and Sofie Junge Pedersen as central midfielders, Valentina Cernoia and Agnese Bonfantini as wingers, Arianna Caruso as an advanced playmaker and Sofia Cantore as the team’s striker.
Milan’s attacking performance
The Rossonere played one of their best attacking games this season despite facing one the most organised teams in Italy. Such a performance can only let the players develop and improve what they did wrong previously. Milan did not wait too long to score the first goal as the team relied on Piemonte to win the aerial duels and she did so successfully in this goal action. But more importantly, she was aware of the position and movement of her teammate and therefore provided her with a backward header exactly in the direction of Asllani’s run.
The latter was also attentive enough to choose the adequate timing for her movement without the ball in order to escape from being marked and find Piemonte’s pass while being in the best possible situation to continue the run and exclude defenders. In fact, Asllani made things look too easy when she got past her marker, avoided Sembrant’s disturbance attempts, and shot the ball while being surrounded by two defenders, scoring Milan’s first goal.
In reality, Milan did not cease to attack and eventually scored the second goal of the match after one minute thanks to Soffia’s excellent early cross towards Asllani who proved her finishing abilities once again and showed that she was 100% focused during this match as she did not hesitate in exploiting Lundorf’s big controlling mistake. Asllani then found herself in front of goal and was able to score without complicating things.
At the 31st minute, Soffia was at the centre of Milan’s attacks once again after she received a pass from Bergmaschi from the other wing and decided to opt for a first-time pass as soon as she noticed Juventus’s advanced defensive line and Piemonte’s intent to move at the back of this defence to exploit the situation in her favour. Soffia’s pass, therefore, guaranteed a golden opportunity for Piemonte who, like Asllani, was excellent in terms of finishing and shot the ball towards the angle she wanted without hesitation.
After conceding a Juventus goal, Milan did not cease to attempt to score more goals and their approach during this match was usually positive. Milan have also started to exploit set-pieces in a much more efficient way than before as they succeeded in scoring the fourth goal from a corner-kick after Grimshaw was able to make an impact to the ball in order to direct it towards the centre of the box where Mesjasz was intelligent enough to escape from marking as the arrow shows and score a deserved goal.
And although Piemonte was one of the best players in the match by providing an assist and scoring a goal, Asllani proved in this match that she can be very useful and crucial for Milan in terms of attacking quality, finishing and movement inside the final third. This graphic shows how she scored two goals out of three shots in this game, having an xG of 0,36. Milan should continue to rely on Asllani and Piemonte upfront while ensuring to support the two strikers with Grimshaw and Dubcová in midfield; Bergamaschi and one of Soffia or Thomas on the wings.
Juventus’s performance and issues
On the other side, Juventus did not play an excellent match, especially from a defensive point of view. A lot of individual mistakes were committed and the team looked incapable of handling Milan’s attacks. Such problems will need to be addressed by the head coach Joe Montemurro as soon as possible as the team will be playing some important games during the upcoming period. A lot of improvement will need to be achieved especially in terms of marking and being more attentive to attacking movements. This applies to the four defensive line players as they were not able to cope with Piemonte and Asllani’s movements without the ball in this match.
At the same time, Juventus will have to consider the positive aspect which was the reaction made after conceding goals. The aim will be to use this reaction and take it as an example for the upcoming games in order to tell the players that they will need to do more from an attacking perspective and especially more from a defensive perspective in order to avoid having to score four goals just to reach a draw.
The Bianconere’s reaction started in the 30th minute when Bonfantini exploited a marking error from Milan during a free-kick, and shot the ball with power and precision as soon as the ball was deflected towards her by mistake.
In the second half, Juventus were able to exploit another mistake from Milan and this time it was an unsuccessful save from Giuliani that was captured by Girelli who was moving as a striker to seize the opportunity and threaten Milan with the comeback idea in mind. However, Milan defended well for the rest of the match and prevented Juventus from reaching the score they wanted despite losing concentration during the last minutes and conceding a goal in the 94th minute. Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir tried to surprise Milan’s defence with a quick cross towards Girelli and Milan’s defender helped her by deflecting the ball exactly towards Girelli who scored with a powerful header. Nevertheless, the goal came too late for Juventus and all these efforts were not sufficient to permit them to win points.
Milan surprised most followers with a convincing win since they scored the larger part of goals. However, the team’s performance during the second half was not reassuring as the players committed numerous defensive mistakes that led to conceding goals that could have been avoided. Milan should improve their defensive organisation in order to win games without suffering until the last minute even when they score four goals.
It is true that Juventus can cause problems for any defence, yet, Milan’s defence could have been more solid in this match. Nevertheless, working on this aspect after winning such an important encounter will surely be rewarding as the players will be confident and motivated, which will make them understand and apply defensive instructions more efficiently.
For Juventus, the team will have to remain focused and forget about the result of this match in order to be able to win in the ones to come. Otherwise, the team risks being in trouble. Montemurro will have to keep the players motivated despite the loss while working with the team on what went wrong in this match.