At the moment things are feeling pretty smooth for AC Milan, but there are three impending challenges that Stefano Pioli and his side must deal with.
Milan are 24 games unbeaten across all competitions, have scored in their last 26 games, are top of the Serie A table after six rounds and are also top of their Europa League group, causing Calciomercato.com to describe the Rossoneri as ‘an orchestra that thinks with harmony and cohesion’.
Pioli continues to prove the doubters wrong and managed to fend off Ivan Gazidis’ apparent intentions to replace him with Ralf Rangnick, instilling 4-2-3-1 where Kjaer and Romagnoli are immovable, where Theo Hernandez is a menace on the left, where Bennacer and Kessie are monsters and where Ibrahimovic is never short of service.
However, there are three challenges that Milan must overcome to prove they are serious. One is rest, or rather lack of given the hectic schedule that awaits them. Securing qualification to the knockout stages of the Europa League would be a vital first step.
Another challenge is in the form of rotations. Milan have proven that they have greater depth this season than normal seasons, but it will be up to Pioli to get the likes of Gabbia, Duarte and Musacchio performing well to let Kjaer and Romagnoli catch their breath.
Dalot and Tonali are equally important to let the full-backs and midfielders breathe, while in the forward department the likes of Rebic, Castillejo, Hauge and Brahim Diaz must show they can be dependable deputies to Saelemaekers, Calhanoglu and Leao.
Finally, there are the difficulties. At the moment it feels like a very smooth road, but bumps inevitably will arrive – it is simply not realistic or reasonable to expect the Rossoneri the remain perfect. Then, it will be about how the team respond when they do suffer setbacks; that will be the real indicator of how serious Ibrahimovic and co. really are.