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AC Milan probably aren’t as bad as you think

Let’s be honest, the numbers are not that bad.

AC Milan v FC Crotone - Serie A Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Let’s be honest: after an exciting off-season of big moves on the market, AC Milan was expected to be on top of Serie A, or at least among the top teams in the league.

However, the season has not been too good so far as the Rossoneri are the only the 7th ranked team in the league with 31 points, just behind Sampdoria who still have a game in hand on Milan.

If we look for a reason for this disappointing first half — or something more — of the season, there’s not much that can explain exactly why they’re currently 7th in Serie A. On the contrary, the numbers show that Milan are actually underachieving, so let’s see why.

From a more general point of view the Rossoneri seem to be bang average both offensively and defensively, with just 27 goals scored and 28 allowed, ranking respectively 11th and 9th in the league, which could explain why they’re middling thus far.

However, if we look at the offensive statistics Milan ranks 3rd for shooting attempts per game (17.4 spg), 4th for possession (54.8%) and 5th for passing accuracy (84.2%), which are pretty impressive numbers for a team that scored 27 times in 21 games. Also, they’re doing a good job at shooting on target as they rank 3rd (6 OTpg), only behind Napoli and Juventus, which is clear that it is not consistent with the actual outcome in terms of scoring since their percentage is around 21%. Taking 30% as a roughly average value for the scoring percentage, Milan would have now 38 goals scored — 48 if we consider Juventus’ scoring percentage — and a differential of +10, which would be at least OK. They are actually doing things right and could head forward from this

This could be enough to show that the Rossoneri’s hard work has not been paying off enough so far, but we also need to take a look at the defensive side. As we mentioned before, Milan have allowed 28 goals this season, but they did so as the third best team in the league for shots allowed per game (10.5 sapg). This means that their opponents have an incredible 37.5% in scoring percentage, which is almost as if they played against Juventus over the entire season. However, from a performance point of view this ridiculously high percentage makes a lot of sense since the Rossoneri allow too many opportunities coming from the middle of the field, but it still is an impressive number.

Milan had a lot of really bad games this season, but this is not enough to explain why they’re not achieving as much as they deserve, at least from a statistical point of view.