GdS: The five pillars of the Scudetto win that have crumbled in 2023

By Oliver Fisher -

Five of the key pillars of AC Milan’s Scudetto success have crumbled in recent weeks contributing to the sharp dip in form, a report claims.

La Gazzetta dello Sport begin by highlighting Pierre Kalulu as the first of five, remarking the he ‘has lost all security’. Up to a certain point it was Fikayo Tomori who looked to be having a tough season, and then in the last few games Kalulu has gone too.

At the Olimpico last night he committed two more individual errors: the first for Milinkovic-Savic’s first goal when he took the bait from Felipe Anderson who dragged him into midfield, and then when he cut down Pedro in the box to give away a penalty.

It should be remembered that Kalulu is only in his third year as a professional, having been signed from Lyon without a senior appearance made, but the fact remains that he has had a worrying drop in form.

Fikayo Tomori is described as ‘the great mystery’ as he has gone from being sharp, confident and aggressive to nervous, poorly applied tactically, and making glaring individual mistakes.

More than others he perhaps suffers from Maignan’s lack of guidance, but in reality he has been stammering periodically since the beginning of the season. Yesterday he came off due to muscle problems after less than half an hour, after he too was in the dock for Milinkovic-Savic’s goal.

Unlike Tomori, the explanation for the drop in performance level for Theo Hernandez is quite evident as he is struggling after playing 500 minutes at the World Cup. The Frenchman did well in Doha with one goal and two assists, but since coming back he has not hit the same levels.

He appears to be emptied of energy and now he also has to solve a muscle problem which seems to be just fatigue – something that could be an indicator of his condition prior – and that caused him to miss Lazio.

Rafael Leao is described as having a ‘head that is elsewhere’ after the emptiness of the last few games. A player who asks for €7m net per season (at least) cannot afford to disappear when the team disappears. It must be him, or at least him among others, trying to take the team by the hand.

Yesterday, in addition to being non-existent in the attacking phase (though he did not get much service), he helped little in the non-possession phase, contributing to making Milan wobble. Could it be that the uncertainty regarding his future is beginning to weigh?

Finally, the report describes Olivier Giroud as another ‘victim’ of the tournament in Qatar, given he played just over 420 minutes at the World Cup. The 36-year-old arrived at the club to be at most part of a rotation, but Pioli has not been able to give him much rest and this has going on since last season.

With Ibrahimovic out for months, Origi battling injuries, Rebic more in the treatment room than on the pitch and Lazetic not ready, Giroud had to put Milan on his shoulders even when he could and should have caught his breath. Now, he is paying for that.

Tags AC Milan Fikayo Tomori Olivier Giroud Pierre Kalulu Rafael Leao theo hernandez

14 Comments

    1. Everything that they write about Leao now is what some people have been saying for the last 2 years .
      He was the same last year, but it was masked by Milan winning games.
      He doesn’t pass the ball unless he has no other option.
      He keeps waiting on the ball to get to him instead of running towards the ball.
      He is so predictable that it’s easy to stop.
      His ability to read the game, make runs, cuts, play without the ball is still zero.
      There was a chance in the 2nd half when Saelemakers sent a cross from the left that should have been an easy goal, but Leao as always was too late to make a run inside. That chance reminded me of the Kvara – Osimhen 4th goal vs Juventus. The only difference is Osimhen can read the game and make timely runs, Leao can’t.
      Great athlete but his football skills, shooting, passing, reading the game is very poor.
      Lookman also a left winger has 11 goals halfway through the season , already matched leao most goals scored in a season.
      He is 5.9 and I saw him score a header vs Juventus, while Leao who is 6.2 not only never scores headers, but he rarely even engages in areal duels.

  1. Maignan missing is the big one. For example you can feel how annoyed Tomori is with Tatarusanu.
    Also can’t remember any big save Tata had for us.

    1. “Also can’t remember any big save Tata had for us.”

      About a year ago. Vs Inter. Lautaro’s penalty. After that? Nothing. Not a single game saver.

  2. Yes yes it’s all Leao’s fault. I mean why can’t he just take overt he game and score 3 goals per without any service or support from other players? I mean it’s so frustrating. Anyone who watched the game yesterday could easily see that Diaz was feeding him excellent balls and Dest was making excellent runs that freed him up and Giroud’s positioning took 2 defenders away from him. SMH. Oh and I forgot to mention Messias and Sales were splendid on the RW constantly beating their man and creating chance after chance with perfectly placed crosses in the box that Leao should have finished. LMAO!!!!! Let’s be honest. YES – ALL of the players from the WC are experiencing a hangover (which should have been anticipated by M&M) and are far from their best – Leao included. BUT to single him out is comical. This article also did not mention the absence of 2 central pillars from last year: Mike and Kessie. Those two players – plus Leao & Theo were our most important and now 2 are gone (Mike injured mostly all of year thus far). Tata is atrocious and commands ZERO respect or confidence. You want to know why Kalulu and Tomori are struggling then look no further than lack of Mike and Kessie. I know I know, many donkeys on this forum are still bitter we lost Kessie and are too prideful to admit we are a worse team without him – but it is a fact. Tonali is NOT Kessie nor should he be. Tonali cannot man mark on a counter of his life depended on it. But nobody seems to mention that. He always gets a (cause he’s Italian?) pass. There is a reason Tonali played WITH Kessie – to hide his defensive deficiencies. Benny isn’t that same player as Kessie. So you want to help fix the central defense, start by getting Kessie back on loan OR sign a Kessie-like player (thought that was who Aster was going to be but needs PT to find out). Our whole system when we go on attack/counter was based on Kessie dropping back into central defense and Tomori shifting left to cover for Theo when he darted up the field. Tonali does not cover the CB position like Kessie did. AND Kalulu should be moved to RB to replace the limited (but a warrior) Calabria. What about ACM and RW positions?? Again we get ZERO contribution from those spots AGAIN. M&M’s refusal to spend in that position was suicide. So teams have figured us out. Overload the left side and we are finished. Last year Theo and Leao were so good most times we overcame that. But this season since the WC both are exhausted or when Theo is out, it’s easier to defend the left. Does anyone not see there are 2-3 players Flooding the left wing?? LOL. What do you want from Giroud? He is 36 and has always been a player that when he gets proper service he delivers (anyone watch the WC). Who is providing that to him now? Diaz?? Lol. Whose fault is this? Ownership and Management and Pioli. Ownership for lack of resources befitting a defending league title holder and one who claims they want to improve from last season; M&M for making misses on the transfer market and arrogantly believing we are a complete team (even with a limited budget) and Pioli for not rotating the side (sticking with the same 11 players because he failed to integrate the players obtained in the summer and not adjusting to in game tactics. As I have said at beginning of the season the team with the most depth (and uses it) will win this year. Too many games too little time. The Scudetto race is – barring a miracle – over with a 12 point gap. Must secure top 4. We can still turn it around but it will require Mike returning and purchasing a few players in January (Aouar anyone?) OR somehow Pioli working his magic and getting contributions from the young players (Poegba, Aster, CDK, Thaiw, etc…) and players staying healthy (hello Origi and Rebic) to keep top 4. Let us all pray.

    1. “BUT to single him out is comical. ”

      He has singled himself out with his outrageous salary demands. No one expects Diaz, Saelemaekers, Messias, Tonali etc. to produce “miracles” on their own as they’ve all recognized this is a team play and they work as a team. They don’t demand 8M€/y and therefore no one expects them to shine like a 8M€/y player should. He can only blame himself for the expectations. And his body language isn’t really helping his case either.

      1. Lots of players who deserve to be trashed due to recent performances. Tonali, Tomori, Kalulu, Calabria, Diaz for example. Everyone knows they’re not good enough but they are / have been reasonable with their salary requests. If you’re paid like a superstar, you better play like a superstar. And even if you’re “only getting 3-4M€” it’s no excuse to underperform either but the pressure is (and should be) softer on them.

      2. There he is the self proclaimed 200 goal scoring donkey of the co-ed church league!!! The kid who wants to sell Leao for 40M and probably has posters of Leao on his bedroom ceiling at his moms house so he can secretly beat off to him in private while critizing him in public lol. Hellooooo @bb!!! Missed u pal. So what you are saying is that you are basing a players play off of what he is making correct? So that is the standard we should judge players by? So Diaz, Messias, Sales and Tonali, etc…should not be expected to perform “miracles” because they are on a cheaper salary than Leao? So they get a pass when performing poor;y but not Leao? Hmmmm…. As asinine as that argument is your apparently don’t realize Leao only makes 1.5M. So according to your idiotic theory, he should get an even bigger pass because he makes LESS than those other players you mentioned right?? LOL. Sound reasoning LMAO. You are a fkn jackass!!! As usually you make zero sense and contradict yourself. No surprise there.

        “he has singled himself out with his outrageous” salary demands” – LOLOLOLO….ya it’s completely “outrageous” as the reigning MVP of the league to want to be paid as much as a player like I don’t know, say Rabiot. Ha!! You are such an idiot kid. Did Leao steal your dog or something? According to you everyone else but Leao plays as a team. Funny, never once heard Pioli nor any of his own teammates mention such made up trash. But of course you – with your prolific career as a goal scorer – knows all!! Hahahahahaha. Go crawl back in your moms basement kid and get a life. Pathetic.

        1. Stopped reading after the first sentence. You seem to take things very personally and have no clue about the real life. I guess that’s what living locked in a basement does to one. 🙂

          1. I did read the last word too by accident. Seems like you signed your bedtime story with the one adjective that describes you perfectly. 😀

          2. Hahahahaha!!! That’s your response? LOL. Can’t explain your nonsensical argument about giving players a pass who make LESS – when Leao makes LESS than practically all those players you mentioned you doorknob LOL.????Cheers bb – cheers!!!

          3. “Hahahahaha!!! That’s your response? ”

            A little 15-year-old with angry management and other mental issues ain’t worth wasting my time.

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