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11 Things: Winning Is Fun, Let’s Do That More , 1-0 Milan vs Brescia

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The win was expected, but a lot was learned in the last twenty minutes of the game. Hopefully, that team keeps playing.

AC Milan v Brescia Calcio - Serie A Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

1: An Identity

Milan showed real poise and attacked well. There seemed to be a true identity that existed in the attack. A lot of this attack began with Bennacer and went through Suso. The general concept was that Suso and Hakan would do most of the attacking creativity, where Bennacer would begin the attack or help recycle. Samu and Silva both played as more attacking guys, with Samu as a support striker. Silva made attractive runs, Samu did for the first half.

Bennacer and Suso had phenomenal games and were able to progress the ball forward in attack and cause chaos. The two should be used like this constantly.

2: Andre Silva did some things, but now he is gone

I’d like to make a petition for Andre Silva to be an official Milan legend.

Silva played fine, he did not really do a ton in the second half, but he made spirited runs in the first half and did a really good control. If he had scored a goal, I would not have been surprised. His first half was good, he disappeared in the second and has now disappeared from Milan.

Hope Rebic is good.

3: Ismael Bennacer is a starter

He had truly a phenomenal game. Bennacer presses and breaks defensive lines exactly how his role requires him. He had one fantastic recycling of attack during the second half where a ball was in the air and he guided back down the left-wing. Having a midfielder capable of doing something like that has been an issue for Milan. Regista type players have evaded the team for a long time, maybe they will not any more. Importantly, Bennacer also showed that he is able to tackle and hold onto possession very well. There needed to be more control in the Milan midfield last season, Bennacer is bringing that.

He truly had a fantastic game and needs to be played more.

4: Not Really Sure if Samu is Anything More Than a Super Sub

He had a game, he made movement, it wasn’t that impressive. I do think that there is a solid player in Samu, I’m just not sure what he does well enough to merit starting. Leao, Paqueta, and Bonaventura are all players I would start over Samu. The left side of the field is very crowded and Samu just is not quite the quality that this team will need against the likes of the big teams. He can be a utility player, which I think is a fine role for him, but not a starter for Milan.

5: The Defense Was Fine, Part 2

The only major mishap was the one shot off of the broken down set-piece, other than that, the line did not have much to do. The group played well in tandem, and Calabria had a good game going forward and made one fantastic turn and control. There will be more tests later in the season, but Brescia was not one of them.

6: Kessie, Piatek and the Last 20 Minutes

Oh, boy, did the game light up. Both players were on missions to score at the end of the game and looked fantastic in how they linked up. There were three pretty outstanding chances at games end, two by Piatek and one from Kessie. They both made fantastic runs and were able to enter the penalty box with ease. There was some fortune on the Piatek chance that was one on one with the goalie, but then again he should have scored on the chance where the ball span on the goal line. This was an incredibly fun duo and it will be really interesting to see if there is new chemistry and an added dynamic there.

7: The Goal

The way that the attack shaped in the first half allowed Hakan to float on the edge of the area. Brescia players were not particularly picking up Hakan in these wide spaces and allowed him to find space in the box. That was a very good adjustment by Hakan. He makes about the same movement twice and the second time he scores. There could be a thought that an attacking role in a midfield three could be suitable for him, as he can watch space be created in front of him. His understanding of this space impressed and led to the goal.

8: The Formation Itself, Part 2

The 4-3-2-1, or Christmas Tree, is really supposed to be played with more support style strikers. What happened a lot was the freedom of the midfield to push on in attack. With Giampaolo, he either sends the left-sided center midfielder and left-back or the right back and right-center midfielder. Hakan and Rodriguez went to attack a lot until Hakan left the field, and then Kessie and Calabria did the same in the last twenty minutes. This style worked well and provided a dynamic to the game that was able to alter. Bennacer helped focus attacks more and gave the ability to recycle better when the attack needed to refocus. Paqueta should see more time

9: The Substitutes

Paqueta was fantastic. He made great runs, had awesome skills, and helped generate an attack. There was a defensive work rate from him that surprised. Hopefully, he will get more time under Giampaolo, but this game turned many heads. He should start over Samu in future weeks because of general gap in ability.

Piatek played fine until the 80th minute, where he turned into an unstoppable force. He really should have scored, he did not, life moves on. This is more of a role that Piatek should have continued success. The crucial element to it is that he will have a support player much closer to him. Suso, Paqueta, Rebic (hopefully), and Leao will all be able to help continue attacks and make up for what Piatek lacks in skill. There will be more crosses and more goals. The play will also be more central which will help him

Borini was on the field and had a shot. Not sure he did much else, but he was brought in for defense and he did that. I am ok with his utilization here. I would like to see Bonaventura be played there soon

10: The Guys Who Didn’t Play

Bonaventura and Leao were the two main unused players. Leao could have come in for Samu or Silva, Bonaventura could have come on for Samu or Hakan.

It would have been interesting to see Bonaventura run forward and try to enter the box. He is a very good mezzala and should be deployed as such when he returns.

Leao will need more time to get used to playing in red and black, but the future seems bright and he could turn into a good support guy.

I welcome Rebic and I hope he is the new guy to play support.

11: Overall Thoughts

Good win, needed win, good formation. There need to be more goals and more creation, but the team played well and snuffed out any Brescia attack. Bennacer looked like exactly the player Milan has needed and was truly fantastic (new favorite player?). The attack looked like it had a plan and created a lot of chaos, especially later on. Hopefully, more good results are coming so that the team is ready for Inter in two-match weeks.