AC Milan tried to keep their streak of positive results alive in San Siro against a surprising Chievo Verona that were only one point behind the rossoneri in the standings. It wasn't an exciting match but the Rossoneri were able to keep the clean sheet and score the goal that give them the three points.
Milan's starting lineup wasn't different from last weekend's group -- except for Andrea Bertolacci, since Mihajlovic decided to continue his experiment with the 4-3-3 formation based on the three-men forward line formed by Giacomo Bonaventura, Carlos Bacca and Alessio Cerci. Mihajlovic's idea was to take advantage of Chievo's defensive mentality by putting pressure to their defenders from the beginning of the offensive maneuver.
Both teams didn't play an exciting first half due to the heavy rain and wet pitch, but they showed some clear technical limit too. The first 15 minutes of the game were so boring that the first -- and only -- highlight in this time span was Ignazio Abate's substitution due to another muscular injury. Mattia De Sciglio came in and tried to give as much support as he could to Juraj Kucka and Alessio Cerci, who gave a great high ball to Bertolacci, but whose shot shot went just a bit high over the crossbar.
As was fairly predictable, Milan took the control of the game (almost 58% of ball possession at the halftime) and created some good chance to threaten Albano Bizzarri, but they were not able to score due to their usual lack of accuracy. Luckily, Chievo's only dangerous shot on goal -- a great header by Sergio Pellissier -- was saved quite easily by Gianluigi Donnarumma, who touched only a few balls during the first half.
Good sign: Milan's combination on the right wing created a lot of problems to Chievo's defenders.
Bad sign: slow pace and many mistakes in the early phases of the offensive maneuver
The second half started with the same lineup that ended the first frame of the game and it took only a few seconds for De Sciglio to shot towards Bizzarri, even if too weakly to create a real danger. Eight minutes later Milan scored their first goal after a great combination among Bonaventura, Bacca, and Luca Antonelli, who beat the Argentinian goalkeeper with an easy shot on the right.
The Rossoneri continued to control the game by putting pressure to Chievo's defenders and midfielders and then attacking taking advantage of Bonaventura and Cerci's speed on the two wings, but they couldn't score due to the good job by both Chievo's center backs. Kucka missed a couple of great opportunities on long distance shots, but then Chievo showed some signal of life on a great cut by former Milan player Alberto Paloschi whose shot was perfectly saved by Donnarumma.
After 30 minutes in the second half, Milan switched to their "defensive mode" and let their opponents play the ball more than before, nevertheless they continued to be dangerous on counterattack situations, especially when Bacca arrived just a bit late on a great pass by Bertolacci and missed one his biggest opportunity of the game. Kucka was inaccurate once again with an easy shot from outside the box and a header after a good corner kick by Bonaventura and Mihajlovic didn't appreciate this lack of accuracy especially because the result was still 1-0.
Good sign: higher pace led to many scoring opportunities and forced Chievo to be less aggressive than in the first half
Bad sign: bad, bad, super bad accuracy.
The overall performance wasn't great tonight, but milanisti are surely happy to see that the team didn't allow any goals just by playing a solid game. Donnarumma showed more confidence than on Sunday, Romagnoli and Antonelli shone among the defenders in a good night for Milan's defensive line, Bertolacci played finally like he did last season, and the three forwards did a great job despite their lack of shooting accuracy. There's still a lot of work to do for Mihajlovic, but it seems that switching to the 4-3-3 was the right choice.