There was the perfect mix of old and new on display at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara last night as veteran Olivier Giroud and summer signing Christian Pulisic each scored to give AC Milan a win in their opening game.
This morning’s edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport (seen below) writes how Giroud opened his tally for the season with an instinctive finish, scoring his first goal for Milan with his right foot out of 33 after firing in from Tijjani Reijnders’ feed.
The second goal saw Giroud and Pulisic combine in a central area, with the Frenchman finding his ex-Chelsea team-mate with a one-two before watching the winger smack the ball inside the far post from 20 yards.
The USA international also made Gerry Cardinale – his illustrious compatriot, who was in the stands at the Renato Dall’Ara – celebrate with a goal that means he has already equalled his 2022-23 Premier League tally.
Pulisic’s shirt was the second best-selling shirt of the summer, after Leao’s 10. He is useful for fuelling the American business of Cardinale’s club too, given that in the United States it is his that is the most purchased.
It is above all on the pitch that Pulisic showed his worth though, with some exciting runs and a constant desire to be creative. He is the fifth American to score in Serie A after Lalas, Bradley, McKennie and Busio, but the first to do so on his debut.
He has already added weight to the right of the Rossoneri attack, restoring balance to a team that previously leaned clearly to the left, on Leao’s side. Chukwueze, who took over in the second half in place of Pulisic, has the same function.
Meanwhile, if Milan with the new wingers (Pulisic and Leao as Giroud’s assistants in the 4-3-3) immediately took off, it thanks also to Reijnders who got the first assist.
In his last season in Eredivise the Dutchman had served eight assists, a specialty of his repertoire, and he immediately put it on display last night with a lovely cushioned first-time ball back across goal for Giroud.
He was a constant in the game too: either he dropper to offer options to his team-mates, or he inserted himself directly in the play by running or moving the ball vertically.
He is dynamic, and this continued into the second half when his team-mates tired. He is the only one of the three new signings who remained on the pitch for the entire 90 minutes.
Rounding out the trident of new titular signings is Loftus-Cheek. He was less flashy, but his game certainly had substance and he made no big errors.
In the second half Pioli also gave Chukwueze and Okafor their debut, two more from the long list of summer signings, but at that stage it was more about managing the two-goal lead sensibly.