Milan achieved a fifth consecutive win in Serie A after beating Chievo by two goals to one away from home.
The Rossoneri took the lead after a spectacular free kick from Lucas Biglia and Piatek was once again on the scoresheet with the winner, giving the three points to the away team.
1. Biglia’s return
Lucas Biglia returned to the starting line-up for the first time since October and was arguably the best Milan player against Chievo. The Argentine looked sluggish in the last game he was subbed in against Sassuolo, but was on another level this time around as he was good on the ball, providing security to the team with his passes.
He then scored a fantastic free-kick, giving his team the lead and does not look like he has been out for so long. The placement of the finish as inch perfect, leaving Milan fans stunned.
2. Fans excitement
There were around 4,000 Milan fans in the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi in Verona and all away tickets were sold for the game. The Rossoneri fans are increasing their attendance in the home games as well away, and are showing signs of enthusiasm and excitement around the club.
While the team managed their fifth consecutive league win, the fans also show their growing support which should be a big boost in the remaining home fixtures and the quest for a top-four finish.
3. Castillejo – the man in form
Castillejo last started a game in the 3-0 win against Empoli, being the man of the match and showing great desire. Three games later Gattuso started the Spaniard again, and he did not disappoint. Providing the assist for Piatek’s winner and having done well in the game, he showed proper technique and speed, leaving the opponents clueless at times.
Samu did a great job on the field rotating all the times and setting up good combinations with his teammates. Gattuso should consider playing him more in the upcoming fixtures.
4. Laxalt improvement?
Diego Laxalt came to Milan last summer from Genoa after a good World Cup with Uruguay. He has had difficulties with playing time as Rodriguez is the first choice, whilst whenever Laxalt has been given a chance he has not reached the expectations. Since December, Milan have improved and have more stability on the pitch, which offers Gattuso options to rotate the starting eleven.
Laxalt played the full ninety minutes in the 2-0 win against Napoli, putting in what maybe was his best performance with the Rossoneri. his time around, his task was much more defensively-minded, as Chievo put in a high press. Therefore, he could not get forward too much, although he looked composed for most of the game.
5. Calhanoglu back just in time
The Turkish international was heavily criticised in recent months due to his poor form in the red and black shirt. Despite that, he has worked hard, with the confidence of his coach, as he has picked up the pace since the Atalanta game, where he provided a goal and assist.
He is starting to look more like the player Milan fans loved last season, building his confidence and making an impact in the games. Calhanoglu’s chemistry with Paqueta allows him to rotate and move towards the centre, where he feels better dictating the game with his vision and passing.
When Calhanoglu and Castillejo are on the wings, there are moments when Milan are playing with a 4-3-2-1 formation as both players like to cut inside, which provides exciting opportunities.
A good example is the Empoli game, where Castillejo’s assist and goal came through the middle, giving a chance to the right back to overlap and make crosses into the box. Furthermore, in the game against Empoli, Piatek’s goal came from an assist provided by Calhanoglu from the right side of the field. It is indeed an exciting thing to look at as Gattuso could use those different formations and players depending on the opponent.