Rebic Decisive, Ibrahimovic Frustrated
What a turnaround by the Croatia international. Six goals in the past six games. The new top scorer for the season. Rebic has been of a stunning run of form in 2020 and has been the central figure of Milan’s attack in their resurgence. Ibrahimovic on the other hand has looked more and more frustrated with each passing game. The former Sweden international scored a stunning solo goal but it was chalked off due to a handball but the call was terribly wrong. The striker controlled the ball on his chest with his arm firmly on the side but was penalised regardless. The attack need to diversify the source of goals in the coming weeks to ensure the productivity increases again. Rebic has been the sole goalscorer in the past three games against Juventus, Hellas Verona and Fiorentina.
Ismael Bennacer is the player who has received the most yellow cards in Europe's top five leagues (12).— MilanData (@acmilandata) February 24, 2020
Behind the Algeria international is Klaus Gjasula of Bundesliga side Padeborn, with 11 cautions.
Bennacer Too Vulnerable
The Algeria international is a major upgrade for the midfield and he has been dominant in the centre of the park. He has marshalled the opposition and locked out attacks. His passing has been critical to launching Milan’s attacks and his partnership with Franck Kessie has been a good anchor for the team. The biggest flaw in his game is his propensity for picking up yellow cards almost every other game. He has 12 yellows for the season and is developing a bit of a reputation. Milan in general have a bad disciplinary record and struggle with avoiding bookings.
All the stats from the draw against Fiorentina... pic.twitter.com/d4INv9j6bu— MilanData (@acmilandata) February 22, 2020
More Possession, Less Productivity
Over the past couple of games Milan were comfortable allowing the opposition to hold more possession but counter effectively. Against Fiorentina, Milan looked similar to the time of Gennaro Gattuso locked in a midfield stalemate. Fiorentina did well to overpopulate the midfield and stuff out Milan’s passing lanes. Milan struggled to open up spaces in the attack as they did in the past couple of weeks. Milan need to learn how to play better against sides than put pressure and close down quickly in the midfield. Stefano Pioli needs to be more flexible in his approach to games where the opposition control the midfield.
Mauro Bergonzi, a former referee, told TMW Radio— TeamMilanAC (@TeamMilanAC) February 24, 2020
"Gianpaolo Calvarese is a very good referee. I wouldn't have whistled a penalty for Fiorentina." pic.twitter.com/KW0VJlJnOE
Calvarese Stole The Victory
The game against Fiorentina was easily the worst Milan performance of 2020 and a major step back given the great displays against Inter Milan and Juventus. The game however was not lost by Milan but rather Fiorentina was saved by the referee Calvarese. The incompetent referee made two game changing calls against Milan firstly with the decision to cancel out Ibrahimovic’s goal. Secondly, the referee gave Fiorentina a penalty at the 85th minute when Alessio Romagnoli tackled Patrick Cutrone in the box. The videos clearly show Romagnoli touched the ball first but the call stood and Milan lost a victory to a controversial late referee call again. Milan need to build a better rapport with referees as the constant penalties are detrimental to the season.
️ Stefano Pioli— TeamMilanAC (@TeamMilanAC) February 22, 2020
"We have to take full responsibility, as we had the game in hand, did everything we needed to do, but then stopped playing once Fiorentina went down to 10 men and assumed the game was over." pic.twitter.com/EWB6KzThoU
Stefano Pioli Needs Some Growth
The biggest failure this weekend had to be Pioli stubbornness. Pioli has shown a rigidity in the second half of games that have pushed Milan to lose leads late into the game. Pioli’s substitutions were terrible and insanely delayed against Fiorentina. Similarly, he failed to respond appropriately against another team that was down to 10-men when Milan drew to Hellas Verona. Pioli has done well to rouse the interest and passion of the team in recent weeks but has not been adaptable to changing circumstances especially when needing to inject energy into the attack late in the game. Pioli needs to take advantage of the options on the bench and needs to boost confidence over the half time as the team seems to be slacking after the first 45 minutes.