Berardi's Sassuolo show stuns Milan

Posted by Sumeet Paul

Two goals ahead after just 13 minutes and seemingly cruising to victory, Milan somehow contrived to lose 4-3 at Sassuolo on Sunday night as teenage sensation Domenico Berardi scored all four goals for the hosts. While the youngster deserves his praise, it was another defensive shambles from the Rossoneri as any momentum they had was destroyed.

Having made the headlines already this season with his goals and performances, Berardi is growing into quite the talent and his four-goal haul will only further boost his confidence as he hopes to continue to impress.

Nevertheless, there can be no excuses for Massimiliano Allegri and the Milan players for their performance on Sunday, as after leading away from home against supposedly inferior opposition they should be celebrating another three points rather than a disappointing loss.

- Report: Milan stunned in 4-3 thriller

Bryan Cristante kept his place in the starting line-up and his influential play in the build up to both goals undoubtedly justified his inclusion. The youngster consistently put pressure high up the field against his opposing midfielders, and was duly rewarded by being able to produce an assist for Mario Balotelli.

However, perhaps the biggest criticism of the night was the shuffling in defence that saw Daniele Bonera paired with Cristian Zapata, with Philippe Mexes dropping to the bench to join Adil Rami on the sidelines.

In the past week, Bonera has been paired with a return to the international stage in Cesare Prandelli's Italy squad, and despite recent praise from Alessandro Nesta he failed to extend his impressive form. While there is no doubting his loyalty and determination, there is a consistent trend which suggests that he arguably does little to add consistent solidity to the defensive line, particularly away from home, but it must also be recognised that the entire defence looked weak.

However, questions will also be asked as to why Mexes was dropped and why Rami was not included. The latter has spent months at Milanello training with his team-mates to acclimatise following his move from Valencia and while he may still lack match fitness, there is an argument to suggest Sunday's clash was an ideal stage for him to come in.

Instead, it is expected that he will make his full debut against Spezia in the Coppa Italia this week, and it is hoped that he will develop into a dependable option in the heart of the defence moving forward.

Claudio Villa/Getty ImagesMario Balotelli and Milan dropped more points to leave fans wondering just how bad things will get this season.

The result leaves the Rossoneri languishing in 11th place with just five wins as we reach the half-way stage of the season. They remain 10 points adrift of the European places and a further 10 points away from an important Champions League berth.

Victory against Atalanta last weekend provided false hope that the club would be able to turn things around in 2014, and any momentum that Milan had built up after that result has since disappeared following their seventh loss of the season.

Numerous statistics have been presented since the full-time whistle sounded, but perhaps most worryingly is that the Rossoneri have now lost 17 points from leading situations this season. Was this merely another disappointment in a season full of setbacks, or was it a blatant example of how both the coach and players are beginning to wonder about whether or not they have anything to play for in Serie A this season?

Milan are set to make an official statement on the future of Allegri on Monday, and perhaps it is worth giving the next coach the next three months or so to settle in with no pressure or expectation or go with an interim plan until a significant change is made in the summer.

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


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