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Tactical Review of Milan's Scrappy 2-1 Victory against Chievo

AC Milan ground out another victory securing a critical three points to remain ahead of Inter for the upcoming derby. Here’s a review of the performance at the Bentegodi.

Chievo Verona v AC Milan - Serie A Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

AC Milan ground out another victory securing a critical three points to remain ahead of Inter for the upcoming derby. Here's a review of the performance at the Bentegodi:

Biglia Back with a Boom

Lucas Biglia made his first start for Milan since October and put in a hell of a performance. Biglia looked refreshed and did not seem to need any sort of adjustment period. He did well to manage the pace of the game, controlling the tempo with his distributive forward passing and marshaling the midfield with his interceptions and strong tackles. Biglia made his presence known with a stunning free kick perfectly placed ball over the wall into the top left corner of the goal. He announced his return with one of Milan’s few goals from set pieces this season and pulled Milan into an otherwise slow game in attack. The key takeaway was the seemingly great relationship between Bakayoko and Biglia who celebrated together during the game and shared shout outs online after the game, this teamwork will be key as both competing players are leaders in the squad going forward.

Piatek Scoring with No Service

Krzysztof Piatek got back to his scoring ways getting the winning goal at the Bentegodi. Piatek was feeding off scraps for the past two games and the service did not improve much against Chievo Verona. Despite this, Piatek found a way to pull off a scrappy finish after a messy run of play to secure the three points for Milan. Piatek has demonstrated his desire to score, game in and game out but the well will dry up if the service does not improve against stronger defences especially in the derby next week. Piatek has now scored 8 goals for Milan in 9 games in all competitions and sits amongst one of Serie A top scorers, he needs better service to end the season at the top.

Conti Needs to be Proactive in Defence

Andrea Conti has been putting in impressive shifts since he rejoined the first team following his extended period out injured. He has already racked up a few assists but seems to leave something to be desired on the defensive end. One of Davide Calabria’s biggest strengths has been his eye for positioning and his composure in defence. Conti needs to build up this skill as he seems to be rusty and reactive in defence. The goal scored by Hetemaj marked the first time Milan conceded in the past four rounds and was a result on Conti not holding his ground nor pushing to clear the ball. He may have slipped or been anticipating the ball to go over but he did not track his man well enough leading to the goal when it could have been a simple clearance. Conti is doing well overall but there is some room for improvement on his defence.

Castillejo Racking up The Stats

Samu Castillejo received his second start in the league of 2019 and recorded another assist. He scored and assisted against Empoli and now recorded an assist with Chievo. He headed down the ball from a Calhanoglu cross after a sloppy show of defending from Chievo allowing Piatek to somehow direct the ball past Sorrentino. His performances outside of the stats have been mixed as his play tends to be mistimed and sloppy on occasion. Castillejo has immense speed and could be a key figure driving Milan’s counters but he never seems to pick up these balls to drive up the pitch. He has been instrumental in winning critical points against small teams as he past three starts have delivered 2 goals, 2 assists and 3 victories.

Kessie, Suso and Calhanoglu: Imperfectly Perfect

The run of play above clearly shows the drive and understanding between the three players and their dynamism in running the counter attack for Milan. The trio have all received lots of criticism this season; Hakan Calhanoglu for his uneven performances, Suso for his lacking creative output and Franck Kessie for his poor shooting. Despite the criticism, the three players have been important and have been driving forces for the squad eventhough the numbers may not reflect this. Calhanoglu had an immediate impact off the bench with a key pass that enabled Castillejo to assist Piatek. Suso played numerous dangerous balls and lay-offs into the box but no one converted them. Kessie overpowered the midfield and always provided an extra attacking option but just could not hit the target. The three players are an imperfectly perfect fit for the current side and will be decisive in us securing a UCL spot at the end of the season.