Milan fail to fully convince in Cagliari win

Posted by Sumeet Paul

Claudio Villa/Getty ImagesMario Balotelli gets the ultimate team hug after scoring for AC Milan.

With transfer deadline day upon us, much of the attention prior to kick-off at San Siro on Sunday night surrounded rumours of potential incomings and out-goings. However, although Milan failed to entirely convince, they secured their first points of the season with a 3-1 win over Cagliari.

Goals from Robinho, Philippe Mexes and Mario Balotelli ensured manager Massimiliano Allegri enjoyed the outcome of the evening's work, although the performance itself wasn’t particularly impressive.

Similar to the defeat to Hellas Verona last weekend, the Rossoneri began brightly with their sharp passing and good movement, ensuring that chances were created early on. That early pressure resulted in Robinho, a surprise starter, opening the scoring, although from there on it was a struggle.

-Allegri: Kaka welcome at Milan

While speculation appeared to suggest that the decision to drop Stephan El Shaarawy to the bench was an indication of late transfer activity, Allegri hinted that it was merely a tactical decision, while possibly resting him after having featured in a handful of games in a short period.

However, the failure to find consistency in their play is the bigger worry, particularly when considering the early signs from their title rivals. The likes of Juventus, Napoli and Fiorentina have shown structure and solidity while also delivering in the attacking third. But while Milan have shown glimpses of matching that, it isn't enough.

There are still question marks over the centre-back pairing, and rightly so, more important for Allegri is his side’s inability to dominate from start to finish. In order to perhaps counter the deficiencies in the back-line, possession is key for Milan, and to be so wasteful on the ball ultimately allowed Cagliari to threaten on the break with their pace upfront.

An agreement with Real Madrid has been reportedly been reached over the transfer of Kaka, and all that remains is for the Brazilian to agree on personal terms.

With Riccardo Montolivo advanced into the trequartista role on Sunday night, Kaka’s arrival would allow him to drop back into a midfield position in which he is perhaps more comfortable, and should allow Allegri to create links between the lines.

Alessandro Matri made his season debut in the closing stages. Although it is far too early to pass judgement on his partnership with Balotelli, the early signs suggest that Matri's presence may sacrifice Balotelli’s involvement further up the pitch and takes ‘Super Mario’ away from goal in more of a support striker role.

Nevertheless, there are positives to take away, not least that Milan are off the mark and should take confidence from picking up their first win. It remains to be seen who, if anyone, joins Kaka at the club ahead of Monday's deadline, but with the squad that Allegri has to work with, he should have been able to identify where there is room for improvement.

Compared to their rivals, are Milan as convincing? Do the Rossoneri lack fluidity in their play or is down to poor individual play?

For all the latest Milan and Serie A news, you can follow me on Twitter @italiafooty


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