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Tactical Review of AC Milan's Dominant Performance In 1-1 Draw With Juventus In The Coppa Italia

Milan put in a hell of a shift but conceded a last minute penalty. Here's our review of the game:

Ante Rebic (2nd from L) of AC Milan celebrates with his... Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images

AC Milan drew 1-1 with Juventus in the Coppa Italia with a usual dose of controversy despite a dominant performance. Here's our review of the game:

Rebic Comes Up Clutch

Milan played like an attacking powerhouse against Juventus as they dominated the game and this was largely due to the tireless running of Rebic. The Croatia international bombarded Mattia de Sciglio over and over again throughout the game and set up numerous chances for Ibrahimovic. The best part of the game was the newfound chemistry between Hernandez, Bennacer and Rebic on the left side of the pitch. The trio were passing well, handling pressure and drawing fouls. Rebic’s constant threat is what led to an great tap in goal that left de Sciglio and Bonucci flat footed and Buffon gaping. Alongside Rebic, Kessie and Kjaer put in undoubtedly their best performances of the season and deserve recognition.

Less is More

Oddly, I have pointed this out twice before but Milan lacked the possession in this game but had more than double of the attempts on goal that Juventus did. Milan are much more comfortable not controlling the ball and hitting the opposition on the break. Most importantly, Milan are playing without fear. Despite my love and admiration for Gennaro Gattuso, his Milan always looked scared and unsure of their lead during a game - it always felt like we were lucky to be ahead or just holding on to victories. Under Pioli, Milan are dangerous and lethal. Milan have made both Inter and Juve sweat in a matter of days despite not winning either game. Milan finally have an X-factor that has been lacking.

Milan’s Attack Is On Fire

My favourite statistic of the game was that Milan got 11 shots on target and that the Bianconeri have not been hit that hard since 2013 especially with de Ligt and Bonucci as the centre backs. Milan started the games against Inter Milan and Juventus so positively and the team needs to keep hitting hard early on. The attempts from Kessie and Calhanoglu early on rattled Juve and announced Milan’s intent to fight to the death for the win. Milan have a need identity and look much more threatening in recent weeks since the Torino win in the Cup. Stefano Pioli deserves plaudits for his transformation.

Milan Demonstrate Naivety

Despite all the controversy around the referee and his calls throughout the game, Milan showed once again that they lack experience and a little leadership. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Samu Castillejo and Theo Hernandez must have known they risked suspension going into the game; they should have been conservative with their tackles and calm in their demeanour. All three received bookings ruling them out of the second leg. Davide Calabria made the error of giving Ronaldo the space to attempt the shot at the 90th minute as the RB should have gotten closer to the striker to throw him off the shot as opposed to jumping for a really high ball giving Ronaldo the space to back up and line up a shot.

Milan Are Overcoming The Suso Dependency

One of the reasons I really wanted Suso to leave Milan is that I felt the team relied too much on him given his past record. If Suso had a bad day, the team did as well. Since his departure, Milan are not as reliant on a single player as the goal threat comes from all over. In the past 5 games, we’ve seen goals from Ibrahimovic (2), Rebic (3) and Calhanoglu (3). Despite this, Hernandez is still a major goal threat whilst Leao, Bonaventura and Castillejo can score on occasion. When Suso played he was the core target especially in big games as other players did not take up the responsibility to perform.