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Tactical Review of Milan’s Valiant Performance Against Juventus

Milan put on a solid performance against Juventus but fell late in the game. The performance was a massive improvement over the past few games and we look hungry going into the finale leg of games:

Juventus v AC Milan - Serie A Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

AC Milan put on a solid performance against Juventus but fell late in the game. The performance was a massive improvement over the past few games and we look hungry going into the final leg of the season.

Piatek Uses His Chance

Krzysztof Piatek played a key role pestering the Juve defence and keeping us on the edge of our seats. He bagged a classic poacher’s goal from a fantastic Bakayoko interception. His strength and speed almost got him an opening to bag a second goal after an amazing lobbed through pass from Kessie but he lost his balance. Piatek has come up big for Milan in the big games netting against Napoli, AS Roma and now Juventus demonstrating his quality. Piatek has not received the best service but he unlike some of our past no. 9s is adapting and refining his clinical touch to ensure he scores whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Bakayoko Shines at Regista

Last week, I spoke about the need for Tiémoué Bakayoko to return to the regista role as Lucas Biglia disrupted his good form. He dominated the midfield against Juve playing amazingly by distributing the ball forward and covering the defence very well for the majority of the game. Bakayoko was exceptional in managing the pace of the game and significantly was proactive enough to make a great interception and grab an assist by laying off the ball for a Piatek-Szcezsny 1-on-1. Bakayoko has surely cemented himself as the first choice midfielder for Milan but it seems that he thrives when Biglia is not on the pitch. Gattuso’s midfield choice against Juve looked much better than the past two weeks.

Juve Cannot Win Without Controversy

Once again, Juve get an upper hand from the referees to grind out a victory. Quite honestly, Milan were the better side against Juve for the first time in a long time, however, as the story goes the referee could not help but make incredibly questionable calls. Alex Sandro clearly obstructed the play with a handball in the box, VAR was checked and no penalty was given. The Paulo Dybala penalty was not VAR reviewed however replays clearly show Dybala knocked into Mateo Musacchio. Mario Mandzukic received no penalty for his violent acts on the pitch whilst Hakan Calhangolu was booked to barely making contact. Samu Castillejo is dispossessed in the box by Mandzukic holding him back yet there is no review. It is simply unacceptable and the Federation needs to fix the issue of Italian refereeing.

Defence Struggled with Pressure

Milan’s fantastic performance came undone late in the second half with the introduction of Moise Kean. Kean’s pace and direct runs were a nuisance for Alessio Romagnoli and Musacchio to deal with. The constant pressure applied by Juve in the final 10 minutes was too much for Milan to hold off as Miralem Pjanic broke the defensive line with a piercing pass. The defence cannot be faulted too much as they were facing a constant back-and-forth with attacks from Juve and did not receive relief through some hold up play from Milan’s attackers. We need to sure up our backline and grab some clean sheets if we are to maximise our points of the final seven games.

Chemistry Returns to the Right

The return of Franck Kessie played a huge role in Milan’s top notch performance against Juventus. The chemistry between Davide Calabria, Kessie and Suso is a key pillar for the current Milan squad as they work incredibly well together and understand each other’s movements. Suso had a decent game and put in a few dangerous crosses but his passing with Calabria was key in defeating Alex Sandro. Kessie was used a pivot to defend the right wing as well as driving the counter attacks that were crucial in delivering the ball to Piatek. The increased smoothness of play amongst pockets of players is encouraging and should form the basis of Milan’s tactics going forward.