CorSport: Milan’s defence like a sieve but help is on the way

By Oliver Fisher -

Stefano Pioli simply must improve AC Milan’s defensive solidity and there is help on the way, but in truth it could hardly get any worse to begin with.

As Corriere dello Sport (via PianetaMilan) write this morning, Milan’s philosophy this season is simply to score one more goal than the opponent to win matches, therefore focusing on the quality of their attack rather than being tough to breach at the other end.

After 26 rounds of Serie A, Milan have conceded 32 goals. The worrying fact is that Pioli’s side are the 12th-best defence in the entire league and teams like Torino, Monza and Genoa have conceded fewer goals.

There have been only nine clean sheets, one one of those came in the last eight games. The paper actually likens the Diavolo’s defence (or lack thereof) to a ‘sieve’.

These are worrying numbers that Milan often (but not always) somehow managed to make up for with their attack. One of the defects of the side seems to be balance: many times defenders are left alone at the mercy of the opponent or are not positioned correctly when attacked.

Another fact should be added: Milan have conceded seven penalties in the league (11 in total) and it is a sign that many goals were caused by individual errors or incidents.

There is, however, some good news: the emergency is over. Malick Thiaw has already returned, Pierre Kalulu and Fikayo Tomori are also about to return and Matteo Gabbia came back revitalised from his loan to Villarreal. The situation behind it can only improve now.


Tags AC Milan


  1. This is the key to the season from here on out and the key reason we’ve been off the pace for a while. With improved personnel in defense, this team can still challenge for the Scudetto if Inter should stumble with some injuries of their own.

    In midfield, I think Musah is defensively very good, but his positioning can still improve a bunch (only 21), and it will help to have him back in the lineup more often. He’s the midfielder I see with the potential to be elite defensively. His primary weakness is his passing when playing from the back. But I think it’s more mental than execution, just like his defensive issues, which means he can learn and get better.

    In defense, Gabbia has been a revelation. I was happy just to have a warm body who had actually trained as a center back available to play center back. Instead, he has been rock solid and has grown into leading the defense at the back. Without him, imagine how much worse the last 6 weeks would have gone.

    But Tomori is the key. He’s head and shoulders better than anybody else in defense, truly an elite defender, with the positioning, ball-playing ability, and raw speed (might be the fastest on the team, though I wouldn’t bet against Theo or Leao). He is critical to the style we play, because he can cover so much ground at the back to snuff out attacks when we’ve poured everybody forward. His only weakness is that he’s prone to rash challenges where the only outcome is winning the ball or committing a foul. If he’s in form and added to this squad, we go from very good team to great team.

    Thiaw has looked pretty rough to me, still knocking off plenty of rust. I know he needs the game time, but he has cost us points.

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