Following a disappointing 3-1 defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, Milan showed impressive resilience in their domestic campaign, beating Frosinone with the same scoreline.
The response from Stefano Pioli’s side was a mix of impressive individual performances and tactical adaptability, revealing both strengths and areas for improvement.
The game started well for Milan but they didn’t create much in terms of clear chances until the end of the first half. Jovic was then presented with a great opportunity and he took it in style, opening his tally in red and black.
That gave some confidence to the Rossoneri and they followed up with two more goals in the second half, courtesy of Christian Pulisic and Fikayo Tomori. Towards the end, they did concede but it was a clear breakdown in communication. Let’s delve into five key observations from the game.
1. French duo impresses
The Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan displayed all of his qualities during the evening, first making a crucial save against Frosinone. A pivotal moment that kept Milan in the game. Then, he bagged an assist (!) with a great long ball for Pulisic.
Meanwhile, filling in as a centre-back, Theo Hernandez delivered an unexpectedly solid performance, demonstrating his adaptability and defensive prowess in an unfamiliar role. The dedication was there from the first minute and he also helped out in the attacking phase.
2. Jovic builds momentum
Jovic is showing signs of finding his rhythm. His well-timed volley against Frosinone and an assist could hopefully be the start of a good, consistent form. The finish on his goal shouldn’t be understated, because that is by no means easy.
The Serbian’s hold-up play and sharp movements are creating more opportunities, suggesting a positive trajectory for Milan’s attacking line. Olivier Giroud will be back for the next game, but now he’s got a proper competitor for that spot.
3. Stellar performance from Pulisic
In the absence of Rafael Leao, Pulisic took charge on the left flank, scoring a technically brilliant goal. His control, dribbling past multiple defenders, and eventual finish past the goalkeeper highlighted his significant role in Milan’s attack and his ability to step up when needed.
He has now bagged five goals for the Rossoneri and once Leao is back, he will be able to impress on the right flank once again. Samuel Chukwueze, whom we will get to below, has not had the same success as the American.
4. One step forward, two steps backwards for Chukwueze
Chukwueze’s fluctuating form is becoming a concern. Despite a promising display and a great goal against Dortmund, his performances in the league matches have been lacklustre. And yesterday was no different.
His struggle to maintain consistency and challenge for a starting spot, especially in comparison to Pulisic’s form, raises questions about his role in the team. There will be time for him to regain confidence, but Milan also cannot afford to wait for too long.
The Atalanta clash could be his last proper chance in a while, with Milan hoping to have Leao back for the big game against Newcastle.
5. Musah can be more incisive
Yunus Musah initially impressed in the midfield but is now experiencing a challenging phase. While he hasn’t been outright ineffective, his impact, particularly in attacking plays, has diminished. Yesterday, although it was offside, he missed a big chance and arguably made the wrong play in that moment.
With the return of Ismael Bennacer, the American will face stiff competition for his position, especially since Tijjani Reijnders has found some consistency too. It’s a critical time for him to step up and reaffirm his value in the Milan midfield.
The hard work has always been there, and hasn’t gone unnoticed, but he can add more contribution in attack.