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Milan Player Ratings: Milan 1-0 Sampdoria

Not a pretty win but a win is a win

UC Sampdoria vs AC Milan - Serie A Photo by Getty Images

Finally, the Serie A season is back and on Monday, AC Milan got their season kicked off against Sampdoria. With injuries to Kessie and Bennacer, Tonali and Krunic got the start in midfield. Also, this match saw new signings Olivier Giroud and Mike Maignan get starting nods. The excitement of this match started early with Milan getting some good chances to gain the lead. In the 9th minute, Milan broke through as Captain Davide Calabria found Brahim Diaz making a late run inside the box. With his first touch, Brahim fired it on the net, and it squirted past the Sampdoria keeper to give Milan the advantage. This first half was wide open and was enjoyable to watch with both teams having their chances to attack. Mike Maignan made a few very nice saves to keep Milan in the lead. At the half, Milan was up a goal.

The second half slowed down a lot and it seemed that as the match went on Milan looked more sluggish. However, even looking more sluggish Milan fought and fought hard on the defensive end. The combination of Tomori and Kjaer was rock solid but that doesn’t really surprise anyone at this point. Milan couldn’t muster up any real attacking threat in the second half but that didn’t matter as Milan switched to a back 3 late and didn’t concede. First match and first win of the new season, onto the Champions League, draw later this week.

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STARTING LINE-UP

Mike Maignan: What a great debut for iron Mike. He was fantastic in this match in just about every aspect. His reflexes were great, making close quarters saves in a split second. His command of the area is also a beautiful sight to see. Lastly, I must mention how good he was with the ball at his feet and his distribution. 7.5/10

Davide Calabria: Captain Calabria seems to be all healed up from the injury sustained last season. Calabria played very high up in this match which is something we aren’t used to seeing. Even with playing so high up Calabria delivered and he got a nice assist on the Brahim goal. 7/10

Simon Kjaer: Continuing last season’s form, Kjaer was a rock. His presence in the back is much needed for this young Milan defence. Another thing that is valuable from Kjaer is his ability in the air. With a shorter squad having Kjaer so good in the air is very helpful. 7/10

Fikayo Tomori: To think that we got Tomori for less than 30 million euros is an absolute steal. His pace is much needed on the left side when Theo pushes high up the pitch. 7/10

Theo Hernandez: A shocking display from Theo. I thought he was very poor in just about every aspect in this match. He made some very questionable decisions on the defensive end, and he didn’t have many galloping runs going forward. 5/10

Sandro Tonali: Sandro keeps improving and it is evident as he plays more matches. Playing with Krunic might not be the easiest job especially in a two-man midfield but Tonali played well. Aside from a few passes, Tonali seems more confident. 6.5/10

Rade Krunic: We all know what Krunic is at this point. He isn’t exceptional but at times he gets the job done. He will always have some questionable decisions but then other times he puts his body on the line just like in this match. 6/10

Alexis Saelemaekers: Alexis wasn’t great offensively in this match, but he helped a ton on the right side with Calabria. If a new right-winger doesn’t arrive within this window, then it will be on the shoulders of Saelemaekers to carry the burden. In this first match, he still didn’t seem that he was capable offensively. 5.5/10

Brahim Diaz: The first match where Brahim was given the keys and I felt that he was fairly good carrying the creativity. Yes, his shot on the goal could have been better but he still scored and scored the winning goal. With more game time Brahim could be a nice spark. 6.5/10

Rafael Leao: Leao has a very good first half in which he created chances and almost scored. His shot with the weak foot was fantastic and almost gave Milan the lead. The second half was different for Leao and he got less involved but this could potentially be because it’s still early season. 6.5/10

Olivier Giroud: Giroud was ok in this match, I don’t think he was overly impressive, but he got the job done. His control in the air is exceptional and he is a great target man when Zlatan is missing. Some of the linkup play with other attackers wasn’t there at times but with more game time that could be easily fixed. 6/10

SUBSTITUTES

Ante Rebic: Ante came on and pressed very well but he didn't contribute much on the offensive end. This is classic Rebic though, he usually starts slow but has a great second half of the season. 5.8/10

Ismael Bennacer: Once Bennacer came on to the pitch it was clear that he made a big difference. When he was brought on Milan seemed more confident playing from the back and Bennacer himself was great at winning the ball in the middle of the pitch. 6.5/10

Alessandro Florenzi: I thought Florenzi looked ok in the few minutes that he got. Like Giroud, Florenzi seems to need more time with the squad to develop chemistry. 6/10

Alessio Romagnoli: Alessio came on and Milan closed any Sampdoria attack when they switched to a back 3. It was an interesting switch from Pioli but Alessio came on and performed. This could be a nice formation to close out tight matches. 6/10

Manager

Stefano Pioli: Pioli came out with some different tactics in the match against Sampdoria. In this match, we saw Calabria play very high up the pitch just like Theo usually does. This was a good decision by Pioli as Calabria was the difference maker with his assist. Then Pioli adjusted his tactics again by playing with a three-man defence to close out the match. That seemed to be a good decision as well because Milan closed out the match without conceding. 6.5/10