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A Review Of AC Milan In The First Half Of The 2021/22 Season

A good start but much more can be done by the side in the second half.

Empoli FC v AC Milan - Serie A Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

AC Milan currently sit in second place at the end of the first half of the season with 42 points just 4 points behind Inter Milan and firmly in a top four spot. Milan were disqualified from the UEFA Champions League after finishing 4th in the Group of Death with just 4 points. Here is a look at the performances of the different departments on the pitch:

Goalkeepers

This is one department that has held up incredibly well and shocked the Milanisti. The task of replacing Donnarumma was never going to be easy but Maignan has made us forget that name all too soon. The Frenchman has been a commanding presence and has inspired lots of confidence with his top notch performances against top sides and his highlights of reflex saves and even a Mo Salah penalty. His injury was unfortunate and hurt us but Tatarusanu stepped up and held his ground in those couple of games. Maignan is back and looks hungry as ever which is precisely what we need to finish off the season strong.

Rating: B+

Defenders

This is a tough one as arguably the best player of the season has thus far been Tomori but also the most inconsistent performances have come from the defenders where shambolic displays have literally cost us matches. Gabbia has looked uneasy but that stems from his lack of playing time. Romagnoli and Kjaer have both had good and bad days but partner well with Tomori. As far as the wing backs go, Calabria has been a revelation this season building upon his great work from last year. Hernandez has been maddeningly inconsistent with the usual banging goals but horrific defending. Ballo-Toure and Florenzi have not done anything of note yet. Kalulu is once again the dark horse given his performances have been top notch but Pioli remains hesitant to give him more playing time. Most significantly, the fitness issues have hampered us in this department as each of the starters has spent time out.

Rating: B-

Defensive Midfielders

Easily the strongest and most consistent part of the team despite the early struggles for Kessie and the adjustment period for Tonali. Bennacer’s role has changed this season to be more of an impact player while Tonali is now the ball chaser in the side. Kessie’s hybrid role has worked well as he contributes well in attack but brings muscle to the defence. The only downer in this group has been Bakayoko who is not finding any rhythm whatsoever as he cannot keep up with the pace of his teammates and keeps making mistakes that often hurt us.

Rating: A-

Attacking Midfielders/Wingers

Another hit and miss section of the pitch. Leao started the season really strong but has failed to turn those good displays into goals and assists. Rebic started off well but was derailed with an injur which decimated the left wing’s creativity. Krunic has tried to fill in at CAM and LW but just does not have what it takes to create space and chances. Diaz was wrecked by COVID, pre-bout he was stunning as he used the spaces well and was scoring but since he has struggled and just gets shoved around like last season. Saelemaekers has not been himself since that renewal despite one or two good games, he just struggles with his touch and his decision making despite his solid work rate. Messias is my player to watch for the second half of the season as he is stunning and his dribbling will tear open defences once he hits his stride.

Rating: C

Strikers

Despite have immense quality, the strikers have really struggled in the first 6 months. The numbers don’t look too bad for Ibrahimovic but the reality is different as the goals have been far apart and have been missing when needed. Giroud is a stellar player and has shown his class but between his injury and being isolated on the pitch he has not converted nearly enough. Worst of all, Pellegri got pretty much no playing time then picked up a long term injury on his first start which must be a massive confidence blow. Something more is needed from the strikers as out goals output is not enough for our ambitions.

Rating: D

Manager

Pioli has been good thus far, he has made some odd decisions with the starting line ups but has been nearly perfect with his substitutions which have turned games around. Pioli has admirably dealt with the numerous injuries and various absences to keep at second place but will need to win some big games now to recover the momentum and challenge up. The manager will be put to the test in the coming two months as he misses his core midfield.

Rating: B