Kessie growing out his hair like in his Atalanta days and he's back to balling??— Saturnion (@Saturnion96) February 18, 2020
Always knew it had to something to do with his hair. pic.twitter.com/ooEk8Yb2FZ
Kessie Thriving In New Role
The biggest beneficiary of the new system is undoubtedly Frank Kessie. The Ivorian has gone from Gillian to hero in a matter of weeks since Stefanie Pioli changed the squad into the 4-4-2 and 4-4-1-1. The midfielder covers so much ground comfortably as he sweeps up for Bennacer allowing the Algerian to venture forward. Kessie passing has improved monumentally as he is less error prone than ever before. He looks like the player that was a rock for the club in his first season and at Atalanta previously. His physique and clever shielding was done wonders for shutting down attacks and holding the ball in high pressure situations. What a transformation.
Alessio Romagnoli vs. Torino— MilanData (@acmilandata) February 17, 2020
➤ 6 ball recoveries
➤ 2 interceptions
➤ 6 tackles
➤ 10 clearances
➤ 5/6 defensive aerial duels won
➤ 1 blocked shot
➤ 84.2% pass accuracy
➤ 0 errors leading to shots
Wall. ⚫️ pic.twitter.com/YVyto4unz7
Romagnoli Regaining Confidence
It is no secret that the Captain has an underwhelming start to the season, his leadership came into question when the side showed a lack of determination. He made a lot of sloppy mistakes in the first half of the season and was sometimes too easily beaten. But now he seems to have turned a corner with Simon Kjaer as the duo look in sync and solid at the heart of defence. Romagnoli has put in amazing displays in the past five or so games being definitive with his tackling, clever with his positioning and decisive with his passing. Romagnoli is back to being a leader on the squad.
This is one of the few games over the past couple of seasons where Milan seemed in control with a one-goal lead. More often than not, when we are 1-0 up I expect us to concede but against Torino, Milan never really seemed to be in danger of throwing the lead away. This comes down to the added experience on the squad and the presence of gritty players especially Kjaer, Bennacer and Ibrahimovic. Milan are unfortunately picking up lots of yellow cards in the process but are doing well to break the play of their opponents for 90 minutes. The team has grown and is learning how to win - no matter the circumstance.
Another Goal For Rebic, Another Miss For Ibrahimovic
Milan dominated Torino and should have scored a couple more goals than they did. In particular, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Samu Castillejo missed sitters in situations where they could have put the game to bed. This has occured multiple times in recent weeks including the loss to Inter Milan and the draw with Juventus thus needs to be addressed. Milan can ride the Rebic wave however other players need to step up and share the load especially given the tough set of matches ahead. The likes of Calhanoglu and Castillejo must try to net once in a while and Pioli must give Leao some more game time to get him up to the task.
Matteo Gabbia debut for AC Milan vs Torino (H) pic.twitter.com/Q97NjV3c69— ACM Comps (@CompsACM) February 20, 2020
Another Primavera Product Debuts
Following in the footsteps of Daniel Maldini, Pioli launched centre-back Matteo Gabbia onto the scene with a 45 minute debut against Torino to partner the team captain. Gabbia managed to maintain a clean sheet on his debut and looked eager to impress. He has a fantastic work rate and was aggressive in defence. Gabbia also looked really good alongside Romagnoli, it is unlikely that they have partnered much in training but the two seemed to understand one another leading to the stifling of Belotti in the second half. This is a promising sign as two youth players have made their debuts and will now be a part of the rotation for the current and coming seasons.