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Tactical Review of Milan's Final Victory of the Season Against SPAL

Milan put on a brave fight to secure 3 points in the final Serie A game of the season in Ferrara, despite the victory Milan failed to secure a UCL spot. Here’s the game in review:

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

AC Milan put on a brave fight to secure 3 points in the final Serie A game of the season in Ferrara, despite the victory Milan failed to secure a Champions League spot. Here's the game in review:

Hakan + Kessie = ❤

Hakan scored a blistering goal at the 17th minute to open Milan’s account in Ferrara. Hakan got about half a metre of space after Kessie brilliantly rolled back the ball near the edge of the box and the Turkey international buried it to register his third goal in Serie A for the season. Hakan and Kessie have a strong bond off the field and this has translated to some good chemistry on the pitch, today it was visible as the duo paired well for the first goal. It is unlikely that Hakan will keep his starting role at Milan next season, so this was perhaps his farewell. He ends the season with 4 goals and 10 assists in all competitions while rotating between LW and LCM.

Having Two Strikers Impactful

For the second week running, Gattuso brought on Cutrone to play alongside Piatek and it led to a goal. For the majority of the season Cutrone was brought on as a replacement for Higuain or Piatek and this had mixed results. Cutrone has not scored since his brace against Sampdoria in January. In the past two games, the double threat in attack has split open defences and created opportunities for Milan to exploit. This result of Cutrone coming on against SPAL was opening up space for Piatek to win the penalty, this was important as Piatek was often crowded out during Milan attacks prior to Cutrone being subbed on. This should be a consideration for Milan when planning for the upcoming season.

Kessie Dominates Game

Kessie came up with a monumental performance against SPAL to keep Milan fighting for a UCL spot into the 80th minute of the game. Kessie showed his huge potential with a perfectly weighted square ball to assist Calhanoglu, a sleek turn and meteoric for his first goal and a composed finish to tuck away his penalty. He played a role in each of the three goals and leaves the fans and the management to consider his potential over summer considering he is just 22. Kessie rounded off his season with 7 goals and 2 assists but more importantly an important role in the midfield both defensively and in the build up. Kessie needed to respond well to his recent mishaps in the final third and he did, thus helping Milan to their 3rd consecutive Europa League qualification.

Musacchio-Abate Caught Napping

Milan’s back line has been notoriously lax when in the lead this season, this followed us into the final game of the season. Milan conceded the first goal from a set piece where the defence has shown gaps numerous times this season and the second goal was another header when the right side of the defence seemed to slip and lose focus. Mateo Musacchio has played decently enough but needs to be upgraded due to his tendency to make errors and leave open spaces. Moreover, Milan has sorely missed Davide Calabria since his injury and his influence defensively is showing. The team needs to work on the defence from set pieces and their concentration for the upcoming season.

Tight Race for the UCL Race

Despite all the negativity being thrown at the team after failing to qualify for the UCL, I feel it’s necessary to point out that Milan kept the race for the UCL going until the final ten minutes of the final game of the season and that is a huge achievement in itself and should signal a slow and steady return for the Rossoneri. Milan lost this race in March and April when the team got one win in seven games thus losing pace with Atalanta and Inter Milan. To be honest, Milan qualifying for the UCL would have been a huge over-achievement given the lack of quality in the squad and the overall inconsistency of performances. Milan will finish the season in 5th place only 1 point away from the UCL and will now have the players will now have the desire and drive to go all the way. Next year, if Milan reinforce the squad they can realistically compete for the UCL for the first team in a while.

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