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AC Milan: A team caught sleeping in September

As fall comes into action, Milan begin their hibernation

AC Milan v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Thankfully, we have a brief break from the week-in, week-out play of AC Milan in the form of an international break. That wasn’t good, was it? That? I mean September. After a promising August, Milan broke into September with the world at their feet.

So, about that August? Milan opened up their season by bludgeoning Crotone by three goals to nil in Calabria to kick off their Serie A campaign. It was a rather promising start, despite the fact that AC Milan had the advantage of playing with 11 men after Crotone lost a man early on. Patrick Cutrone made a name for himself with goal, and Franck Kessie converted from the spot following the red card. Not bad! Suso added a third to ensure Milan ran rampant through the first half. The game was settled within 25 minutes.

FC Crotone v AC Milan - Serie A Photo by Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

This was followed up by perhaps one of the more defining results of the season thus far. Milan opened up at the San Siro with a win over Cagliari, but one they stole via a bit of Suso magic rather than earning a victory. Milan fans started to worry, maybe the facade was falling apart?

AC Milan v Cagliari Calcio - Serie A Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

What could go wrong? Well - a lot, apparently. September came around like a bad visitor for Milan, who were thoroughly spanked by a Lazio team that took no prisoners. It’s this result that may have sealed Vincenzo Montella’s fate - despite no action taking place regarding his removal. If a moment can be pinned as the downfall of September, it’s the very first game in September. Lazio scored four goals in an eleven minute spell, including a Ciro Immobile hat-trick to stun Milan, who may have been wishing for the game to be called off (and it was close, flash flooding in the area did ensure that the game was on the verge of being cancelled). Ricardo Montolivo gave Milan a bit of hope with a goal he almost accidentally scored, but that was to be Milan’s only goal of the game.

SS Lazio v AC Milan - Serie A Photo by Marco Rosi/Getty Images

If you think things get better from there, they don’t.

Milan suffered despite winning against Udinese in a 2-1 game that VAR tried it’s best to scupper. The video ref fairly took goals away from either side before issuing an utterly bizarre offside decision to cancel out Milan’s third, which would have resulted in a hat-trick for Nikola Kalinic. No matter the result, Milan didn’t exactly look hugely convincing against an Udinese side with 0.22 expected goals in the game.

AC Milan v Udinese Calcio - Serie A Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Milan’s form was slightly rectified with a solid win over newly-promoted SPAL. Certainly Milan had to rely on two penalties from Kessie and Rodriguez to get the win, but SPAL didn’t look like scoring. Were Milan finally solidifying the back to make up for a fairly decent attack? It seemed so, but this was against SPAL!

AC Milan v Spal - Serie A Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Well, here’s where your dreams end. Just as you thought that Montella’s new look AC Milan might be getting it together, it all fell apart - away to Sampdoria, no less.

To say Sampdoria devastated Milan would be a bit of an exaggeration. This 2-0 loss to Sampdoria was entirely of Milan’s making. The Rossoneri failed to register a single shot on target throughout the game. A truly awful game that started to raise serious worries about Milan under Montella - as well as Milan’s financial future.

UC Sampdoria v AC Milan - Serie A Photo by Paolo Rattini/Getty Images

Milan closed off September with six points, which isn’t good enough for a team hoping to hit the heights of Champions League qualification. Despite starting off on the right foot - both Milan’s attack and defense seem to have folded. Our sneak preview of October against Roma doesn’t show much of a difference. If Milan loose their footing in a match, the opposite side can, and will, hammer them. Sampdoria and Lazio proved this well.

Milan have the personnel to get their teeth into games - Suso, Bonaventura, Biglia, Silva and Bonucci are enough - so what’s going on? Whatever it is, it’s not good enough for anyone.

Understat said that Milan ideally should have scored around 6 or so goals with their xG model. Milan lived up to expectations until they player Sampdoria, where they sank. Milan have goals coming from up front and the wings with Cutrone, Suso, Kessie and Kalinic on two goals a piece as we head into October, and believe me - Milan need to wake up if they want to save their season. The derby is around the corner, and you’d think that Inter Milan will be relishing the chance to bury Milan’s season in October.