Rafael Leao has now not scored a goal for over a month and his performances have become the centre of media scrutiny.
Calciomercato.com write how Leao’s contribution in front of goal has effectively stalled since last September 23rd when he netted the winner against Hellas Verona, which means that more than a month has passed since he contributed to a goal.
Not only that, but the win over Lazio seven days after that was what many consider to be his last positive performance. Something has obviously changed compared to the beginning of this season and last season, leaving Stefano Pioli needing to find answers.
Taking into consideration the match against PSG and his most convincing performance in the 4-1 win over Torino, the difference in Leao’s impact is evident first of all from an individual point of view.
The number of balls touched is essentially the same, but he had 75% of duels won vs. Torino against 40% vs. PSG, 6 attempted crosses to 1, 2 shots of which one on target against the 4 attempted and 1 on target in Paris.
Broadening the discussion from the beginning of the season to today, the average number of successful dribbles has also collapsed, dropping from around 5 per game in the first four games to just over 1 per game in the last four.
What do these numbers tell us? The Portuguese winger is perhaps making more ‘selfish’ choices, but the way Milan are playing forces him outside rather than towards the centre where he can do more damage.
However, there is another factor that has a major impact on Rafael Leao’s mini-crisis: Theo Hernandez. It may seem obvious, but when Theo is not at his best it becomes easier to focus on Leao with double marking, and then there is obviously the chemistry between the pair which has been interrupted.