With a convincing performance and a win against Roma, Milan bounced back with style after their defeat in the Derby della Madonnina.
However, to the surprise of many, the Rossoneri weren’t able to continue their uprising as they failed to beat Udinese at San Siro and even more worryingly, they were saved by a stoppage time penalty to give them the point.
A disappointing display from Milan as they faced a Udinese side that was defending deep in their half throughout the whole 90 minutes and created a lot of problems for Milan as the Rossoneri barely created a big chance in the game.
In Pioli’s defence, three players left due to an injury in the Roma game – Ibrahimovic, Calhanoglu and Rebic. While Rebic recovered and featured against Udinese he wasn’t looking sharp and constantly lost possession.
In addition to that, Sandro Tonali picked up an injury against Udinese and the youngster was subbed off at half time causing even more problems for Pioli. The team has been having so many problems throughout the season and just as it seemed that everyone is fit the key players picked up new injuries and are not available to the coach.
That being said, we can see somewhat of a reason for Milan’s recent bad form as constant rotations are not really helping the team to find continuity, but he have seen them get out of a similar place back in December and Pioli must find a way to do the same thing now.
Here are five things we learned from the game…
1. Back to mediocrity
After a promising start to the season Rafael Leao has been struggling as of late and not only in terms of goals and assists, but with having an impact as a whole.
The youngster seemed to have matured as he was playing well both on the wing and as a striker towards the end of last year, but has shown nothing alike since the start of the year. For all the talent he has, the management and fans expected him to mature whilst training with Zlatan and step up in his absence when he’s given the chance, but unfortunately we barely see Leao when he’s on the pitch.
The Portuguese forward has enormous potential, but he needs to start executing or things aren’t looking good for him and for Milan’s over €25m investment.
2. From best to worst
It is not often you see a team scoring two goals or more per game struggle to score a goal from open play, but that has been the reality for Milan as they have only found the net once from open play in their last six games.
A powerful weapon throughout the whole of last year when Milan’s attacks all looked dangerous, but with Rebic failing to find his form, Ibra injured more and more frequently and Calhanoglu failing to impress as of late, Milan find themselves in an unusual position and they must find a way around it.
Making matters worse, neither one of Rafael Leao, Hauge or Castillejo have helped change the situation as the trio hasn’t really had impact when given time to play.
With Zlatan having more frequent muscular problems it may be time for Maldini to seriously consider an heir to the Swede as things aren’t looking great for him if he were to play another season.
#ACMilan have only scored one goal from open play in their last 6 matches across all competitions (Rebic vs. Roma).
— MilanData📊 (@acmilandata) March 4, 2021
3. Tonali keeps growing
A bright spot in Milan’s starting XI was Tonali, as the youngster looks like he is growing in confidence and his game is improving constantly.
Unfortunately for him he suffered a slight injury and had to be replaced at half time, but should be ready for Hellas Verona at the weekend. The youngster has improved a lot defensively and looks more composed on the ball and going forward. Lovely to see him grow and hopefully start making even more impact to help his team get out of the tight spot.
4. Who else?
With the whole attack missing and Tonali leaving due to his injury, Kessie had a rather busy day at the office as he was the Man of the Match in our post-game ratings and rightfully so as he was all over the pitch yet again, being the only player to step up with maybe Romagnoli and Kjaer in second and third place.
The Ivorian was also decisive yet again from the spot as he equalised in the 97th minute, keeping his cool and making no mistake from the spot. Kessie has been fundamental for this squad as he has barely missed the game and his physicality has been remarkable. Hopefully he will sign his new contract and stay in Milan for a long time.
5. Time for change
Now, we know that the current formation has been outstanding for Milan throughout the whole 2020, but things have changed a bit and a lot of key players have had a rough time. Currently, the team has a lot of depth at the back and little in attack as there have been a lot of injuries and players even struggle to find form when returning.
A system with three centre-backs might not be all bad as both Calabria and Theo Hernandez have been superb this season and would potentially thrive as wing-backs. With Zlatan and Mandzukic hopefully coming back soon Pioli may try to a duo consisting of Ibrahimovic and Leao or the Croatian as link between Mario and Rebic up front.
All in all it might be worth a go as Milan have the depth at the back and pushing Theo and Calabria forward will remove the Rebic and Castillejo from the wings as they have both been poor lately.