CM: Gabbia produces another monstrous performance – he is a transformed player

By Oliver Fisher -

There were some eyebrows raised when the winter transfer window shut and a centre-back had not arrived, yet Matteo Gabbia continues to repay the faith of the management. writes how the win over Napoli was one of a group that is growing game after game. It is a solid and cohesive Milan that finally beat that opponent at home in the league for the first time since 2014.

Theo Hernandez’s winning goal, set up by his wingmate Leao, was a flash of light in a match lacking in technical quality but one that was intense and hard fought. Now, Milan have gone two months without defeats in Serie A, winning seven out of nine.

Gabbia meanwhile seems to have returned to Milan with a different awareness of his abilities. Against Frosinone he scored the goal that got Milan back in the game; yesterday evening he canceled out first Simeone and then Raspadori, saving a near certain goal with an excellent tackle.

It seems the six-month experience at Villarreal made him mature both from a mental and tactical point of view. Stefano Pioli has a decision to make when Malick Thiaw is back, because Gabbia is showing himself to be starter-level.

Geoffrey Moncada spoke about Gabbia’s return back on January 2, stating: “We needed a good defender, he’s very important for us. He’s a solid player, a serious worker.”

All things considered, the Milan academy graduate is repaying the decision to back him. Milan tried to sign another defender in January but didn’t find the right opportunity, and the trust in Gabbia backs this up.


Tags AC Milan Matteo Gabbia


  1. I was always one of his most vocal supporters as I follow him since his Primavera days. I don’t remember him slipping in any game he was called upon. He always delivered. He’s one of those old school CB’s I miss so much nowadays. Not a speed merchant but has good sense of positioning, calm head and not afraid to slide into tackle.

  2. He has been like this even last season. But he never got game time to really shine.

    Think Pioli doesnt like him, its probably killing him that he has to play him and he is doing well 😀

  3. Another great a defender incoming.
    But ACM hasn’t produce another deadly striker who compete at the Serie-A Top Scorer list.

    In midfield area, this season we had Yacine Adli, Ruben Loftus-Cheeks & Tijjani Reijnders who perform well. Pobega incoming, soon.

    It was so long since ACM had a great striker, until Giroud but he is 37 yrs old. Camarda ? Jovic ? Okafor ? Leao ? This season all of them didn’t deadly enough.

  4. Gabbia is in the same level with bastoni but pioli can not bring good out of him. Even now is because he didn’t have choice that is why.

    1. That last line is the absolute truth. Pioli doesn’t know how to trust young players and he doesn’t know how to bring out the best in any player. Gabbia wouldn’t be a transformed player if he stayed in Milan these past 6 months. He needed a different coach to be able to bring out the best in him. Pioli doesn’t know how to do that.

      1. cant disagree with this. Gabbia always showed he can be a decent defender. Not a world beater Nesta but more along the lines or prime Kjaer. On Pioli, it’s well documented, the only reason any of our young guys delivered is because at some point pioli was forced to use them; not because he wanted to. Thiaw, Kalulu, Gabbia, Simic heck even Adli and Leao at one time.

  5. I think he gets ignored because he is quite boring. He’s just a young no-name italian. But that is all the more reason to keep him playing. He can soon become part of the national tram and that will raise his status for sure. Both in the team and all around. Right now I don’t think many know of him outside of Italy or maybe even outside of Milan-fans.

    I haven’t always liked him. I have preferred Kjaer, Tomori for example. But these last couple of games I must say he has been impressive. Him and Tomori together will be perfect.

  6. Just FYI, Gabbia was doing incredible for Villarreal earlier this season before they changed coaches.

    He may not be the fastest defender, but he’s quality at positioning and has good size/strength to hold off attackers.

    Assuming Milan doesn’t sell one if it’s CDs – the core will be Tomori, Thiaw, Kalulu and Gabbia – which is a solid group.

    If Milan switched to a 3 man back line, he would even have more opportunities to start.

    Plus, he meets Milan’s quota for trained in nation/team criteria for CL.

    Don’t do something stupid MONCADA, KEEP HIM. Don’t F it up and don’t moneyball it. We all know Moneyball Moncada’s going to screw this up too.

    1. So you’re worried about Moncada screwing up the team and then suggest switching to a back three just to accommodate Gabbia? Or is this a cryptic statement that if Conte was to come in then Milan can switch to a back three (which can anyone remind me the last CL won with a back 3?) while only needing to buy two more quality CBs and at least two more wingbacks on top of needing a new striker? Hmm you don’t track…

  7. As good as he is, with Tomori and Thiaw back, Gabbia starts on the bench, for better or worse. But at least when either starter has to come off we have a dependable option on the bench.

    But Gabbia’s tremendous growth can not be ignored. I’d love to see how he gets on with either Tomori or Thiaw as starting CB.

    Kalulu’s form will be curious when he comes back. I think he might be sold.

  8. I’m happy to see Gabbia doing well, aside from pace and the occasional lapse in marking he’s been solid and looking good. I agree with the others that he seems to rise to the occasion more often than not over his career and I think he’d be a good long term addition to the CB rotation.

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