AC Milan toppled the recent Napoli dominance in our fixtures with a spectacular 2-0 victory featuring a double from Piatek and a solid defensive performance. Here's a review of the game:
Piatek with a Double BANG
Krzysztof Piatek hit the ground running. He delivered a unbelievable performance in his starting debut for Milan scoring a first half double that booked the rossoneri a spot in the semi-final. Piatek added a brand new dimension to Milan’s attack with his direct runs and a combination of his speed, strength and precise finishing. The first goal demonstrated the impact of having a pacey forward who can follow up a through ball as Piatek took on Laxalt’s amazing lobbed pass to slot past Meret. His second goal was even more spectacular as he took down Lucas Paqueta’s ball and seemed cornered by two defenders but somehow curved out a stunner. Piatek started off well, let’s hope he keeps it going!
Donnarumma and Bakayoko playing with swagger pic.twitter.com/pGfneGXq0M— Para (@Paracelsus) January 29, 2019
Bakayoko with a Masterclass
It is so shocking how often Tiémoué Bakayoko is featured on my articles after each game. Bakayoko is the gift that keeps on giving for Milan, he is growing from strength to strength with each passing game. He dominated the midfield against Napoli over the weekend and did the same last night where he did not allow Napoli any space and hounded their midfield and attackers to ensure that Napoli struggled to make any cohesive plays in the final third. Most importantly Bakayoko adapted well to Gennaro Gattuso’s tactic of taking on pressure after getting the lead by pressing with intensity and dictating the pace of the game.
Laxalt Finally Delivers
Diego Laxalt put in a hell of a shift against Napoli. He has been on the receiving end of my criticism a few times before but he delivered in a big way. Laxalt put through a fantastic through ball for the Piatek opening goal and his nuanced passing was stunning. Laxalt then put in a great defensive performance holding the ball well, defending like a champion and getting rid of loose balls from the box. Laxalt was impressive tactically as he played a key role in slowing down the game in the dying minutes and adapted well when Rodriguez was introduced onto the pitch. He played a key role in keeping Fabian Ruiz at bay and he deserves recognition for this.
Romagnoli-Musacchio Finding Some Chemistry
As much credit as we place on Piatek, Milan took away a victory and a draw from Napoli in the span of 4 days because of the incredible defensive performances from Alessio Romagnoli and Mateo Musacchio. Romagnoli has been a leader and commanded with backline with vigour. Musacchio has been vigilant and confident allowing him to make tough tackles that kept Insigne and Milik off their game. Romagnoli and Musacchio were impactful with their constant interceptions and clearances that always slowed down the play and took the sting out of the Napoli attack. Although there were nervy moments from some set pieces, the defence kept a cool head and cleared the danger admirably to secure another clean sheet.
My oh my this defending today was been super astronomical pic.twitter.com/H1w8gVK9up— Para (@Paracelsus) January 29, 2019
Gattuso and the Squad Played Strategically
Milan played an exceptional match against Napoli but from a tactical perspective this was a rare game where Milan played more using their heads. The players were calm and smart in possession winning numerous fouls and controlling the pace of the game extremely well. Overall the team seemed settled and aware of what needed to be done to win the game, this is a huge contrast from the first fixture against Napoli where we threw away a 2-goal lead to lose 3-2. Gattuso has greatly impacted the mentality of the squad and the additions have added some life that can hopefully carry us to a strong finish this season.