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Tactical Review of Milan's First Win of the Season against Brescia 1-0

AC Milan recorded their first win of the 2019-20 season with a good display against Brescia. Here’s a review of the game:

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

AC Milan recorded their first win of the 2019-20 season with a good display against Brescia. Here's a review of the game:

Bennacer Weaving the Play

Bennacer has been a smooth operator in the midfield. His passing is sublime and his vision is inspiring. Having him from the get-go was a huge boost to the squad as he kept the ball moving and brought some stability to the middle of the park. Milan struggled for the majority of the pre-season with Biglia and Calhanoglu at regista as they both lack the dynamism needed to control the tempo of the play but Bennacer excels in this role. Bennacer does look a little washed out and has not hit his AFCON peak but he is a significant improvement at his position.

Attacking Trident Needs Refining

The switch from 4-3-1-2 to 4-3-2-1 visibly opened Milan’s options more on the attack. However, the move seems to have been taken to accommodate the needs of two players only: Calhanoglu and Suso. Suso particularly enjoyed returning to the right side of the attack as he got to pull off his signature cut back and cross. He was able to grab an assist which won Milan the game and he was the only one of the attacking three who maintained his position. Castillejo and Silva struggled quite a bit, and this was visible in their awkward movements, constant uncoordinated shifts in position and their overall silence in the final third. If this is the system going forward, the likes of Rebic and Piatek need to be better integrated into the system.

Milan Growing Into Possession Play

Giampaolo’s system is still taking shape and will take time to be observed but there was an improved use of possession against Brescia and an effective deployment of the mezzalla’s. Kessie and Calhanoglu played attack minded football and always served to overpower the Brescia defence. The passing lanes between the midfield and the defence were solid and served well to ease pressure and hold on to the ball. The major issue was the lack of drive at time to push forward and hit in another goal. Milan still lack a sense of urgency and this is a critical trait going forward against harder teams.

Romagnoli Solid and Developing

Romagnoli is kicking off his second season as captain with a huge step in personal development as he engages more with the possession play than in previous seasons. Romagnoli under Gattuso was known for spreading the ball horizontally just to ease pressure but in the first two games under Giampaolo, it is clear that he will play a larger role passing forward and he will be looking to break the lines with a few long key passes into the attack. Defensively he has been solid and as aware as ever, he continues to command the defence and the team with heart and looks like he will finally get the chance to make an impact for the national team.

Calhanoglu Opens the Scoring for the Season

One of the polarising figures on the squad banged in the season opener with a slick header to get Milan their first three points. The Turkish midfielder alongside Borini has occupied a variety of roles in Giampaolo’s midfield to this point and the results have been frustrating. It is unclear whether this will be the case following the international break as the manager insists on using players who have trained longer whilst benching the likes of Paqueta and Kessie. Calhanoglu is an enigma, he always puts in the effort but the results tend to vary over the course of a game and the course of a season. He needs to deliver in a big way consistently to compete for that LCM spot.