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Tactical Review of AC Milan’s Toothless 1-1 Draw With Hellas Verona At Home

Milan failed to capitalise against 10 men as the missed Bennacer and Ibrahimovic. Here’s our review:

AC Milan v Hellas Verona - Serie A Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

AC Milan failed to continue their winning streak against Hellas Verona as they dropped points settling for a draw. Here’s the review of the game:

Lack Of Clinical Finishing Burns Again

Milan once again suffered dropped points against lesser opposition due to the inability of the strikers to finish their chances. Rebic and Leao struggled to convert their chances and Milan ultimately paid the price. Calhanoglu scored a goal but was insanely wasteful with his haphazard shots from outside the box. Most frustrating was perhaps Hernandez who seemed to blast shot after shot into Verona’s defence as they hounded him all game. Milan need to be able to score a goal or two to seal off games like this especially if they want to finish 4th or 5th.

Bennacer Was Sorely Missed

From my vantage point, Bennacer was the player we missed against Verona. Ibrahimovic’s impact is undoubted but Bennacer has a larger role in the squad and the midfield was bland and our of ideas without him. Bonaventura visibly struggled, Calhanoglu was caught out often and Castillejo was not played in enough. Bennacer brings intensity and movement to the middle of the pitch that was severely lacking against Verona. As a result, turnovers of play were far apart and slow, Milan reverted back to the Gattuso-esque possessional play where they passed more horizontally than vertically as Bennacer was not present to break the lines with his passing.

Calhanoglu On A Run

One positive aspect to take away from the game is that Stefano Pioli has unlocked bursts of form from multiple players. Rebic has a stunning run in two or three games with 3 goals and 1 assist. Calhanoglu is now on his own burst with 3 goals in the past two games. The small runs of form are significantly improving are opportunities and widening the scope of our attacking threat as more players can be considered dangerous outside of the two strikers. Milan have lacked multiple players scoring goals intermittently for a while and this has vastly improved under Pioli supplementing the strikers efforts.

Midfield Synergy Missing

The game saw Kessie and Calhanoglu hold the midfield falnked by Bonaventura and Castillejo that was much slower and full of gaps. The big positive was oddly Kessie, the Ivorian handled the pressure well and played one of his best games as a defensive oriented midfielder. His passes were short and simple, his defence was aggressive and may have discovered a more suitable role for himself. Calhanoglu and Bonaventura did not effectively launch attacks and find key passes on the day but this may have to do with the extremely fast closing down of Verona’s midfield. The midfield needs Bennacer to start attacks and needs Kessie more defensivley.

Lack of Depth and Chemistry

One thing the game did make clear is that we are one injury crisis away from a mid-table finish. A flu cost us Ibrahimovic and Kjaer who were both missed. Suspension cost us Bennacer as the squad was unrecognisable to the weeks prior. The sales in the January transfer window were great but they have left the striker position and the wings criminally understaffed. Furthermore, there seems to be chemistry lacking between the regular starters and the bench players. In particular, Rebic and Leao did look comfortable with each other as they mistimed runs and could not anticipate the other’s movements. This needs to be improved going forward.