AC Milan managed to win against Fiorentina and have now won two games in a row for the first time since March. Currently sitting in the fifth position, the Rossoneri will be hoping either Inter or Atalanta slip to get them back in the Champions League spots.
Milan started the game as the better and more dominant side, but were unable to get a decisive early goal – although they scored the opener through Hakan Calhanoglu, much to the surprise of many betting promos like the ones on this page.
The Rossoneri switched off in the second half with Fiorentina looking more dangerous, having a few decent attempts but Donnarumma did not allow them to capitalize. In the end, the away side took the three points and are still alive in the top-four race. Here are five things we learned…
1. Building momentum?
Milan have finally managed two wins in a row since March, and although only two games are remaining, they will need to gain momentum and win them should they have any chances of qualifying for the Champions League.
Gattuso’s men looked dangerous in the first half but gave Fiorentina more opportunities in the second. Eventually, their defence looked concentrated, and with the help of Donnarumma, they managed to get the three points heading into the game against Frosinone at the San Siro.
2. Calhanoglu looking sharper
Hakan made another excellent performance after the poor run of form he was previously in. The Turk was Milan’s most dangerous player, scoring the goal and having a few decent shots just to be rejected by Lafont in goal. In many ways, he is looking like the player that was so important at the end of last season.
Should the team fail to achieve Champions League, players are likely to be sold to raise funds, and Calhanoglu already has clubs showing interest in him. Time will tell, but when the player is at his best, he shows what he is capable of.
3. Is Piatek the right man for Milan?
The Polish striker has not scored a goal in the last 507 minutes, having no shots on target for 366 minutes of those. It is a big problem for Milan as they have been in pursuit for a striker capable of scoring at least 20 goals a season, and while that looked like the case when Piatek joined the team in January, it does not look like that right now.
Although the service up front is poor, Piatek has struggled to involve himself in the build-up as he is more of a classic poacher, like Icardi for Inter. However, do Milan want to build a team around only one player, or is it better to have a competitive squad with quality all over the pitch? Piatek has to work on his build-up play and ball control, or he might not be enough for Milan to achieve their targets.
4. Rossoneri are not consistent over 90 minutes
Something which Milan have been doing even when they were winning consecutive games, is failing to play on a consistently high level throughout the game. The team either starts the game on high levels to lower the rhythm in the second half or the other way around. This again was an issue against Fiorentina. After a dominant first half, the Rossoneri looked uncertain in the second half, which could have cost them the three points.
However, this has already cost them many points throughout the season and it seems to be one of the reasons as to why the team have not secured a top-four finish. The problem might be tactical as the coach wants them to control the game when leading, though this usually ends up backfiring.
5. The core is there, build around it
Despite Milan’s ups and downs in this season, with endless injuries and problems, the team is still close to the Champions League, something which they have failed to manage for years now. While listing all of the problems, there is no doubt that the Rossoneri have a young and promising core of players, but the management needs to laid around them.
The likes of Donnarumma, Calabria, Romagnoli, Paqueta, Kessie, Cutrone, Piatek are all players with potential, but Leonardo needs to make efficient moves in the transfer market to bring the missing pieces and not just buy on a random basis. Moreover, while Gattuso is a fan-favourite as a player, his time as a coach may come to an end and Milan have to be cautious when choosing their next manager as they do not have room for mistakes.