GdS: A Milan of new and old – summer signings impress as eternal Giroud nets

By Oliver Fisher -

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.

Tags AC Milan Bologna Milan

4 Comments

  1. Every player impacts another player which means every new signing impacts an existing player.

    Two cases in point:

    Pulisic has impacted Leao (by taking the focus off the left) and Calabria (by reducing cover down the right).

    In the aggregate, based on pre-season and the Bologna game, the pros outweigh the cons. This analysis has to be made for every player.

    It remains to be seen how these players gel especially now that Pioli thinks he has 20 first team players. Does that mean he’s going to start rotating?

    If rotates like he did last season I can see us having the same problems.

    If he continues this path of sticking with the old guard and slowly introducing the new guard, this might just work and this season could turn out quite well for us.

    Notwithstanding Pioli’s excessive rotating in the second half of last season against the likes of Empoli, Bologna and Cremonese, he does have tendency to slowly introduce new players, so that stands us in good stead. If he doesn’t get sacked before Christmas….

    1. Last season rotation was a problem because there was nobody on the bench to rotate with, so we put in subpar players. This season for a change, we have good depth and rotation will be IMPORTANT because of the number of games we will play.

      I would argue that Pioli has to make in-game subs sooner than he does. For example you could tell that Oli only had 45 minutes in his legs, whereas Pioli waited ’till 70-something minute to bing in subs. Considering there’s a game Saturday, he should have perhaps brought in Chu-Chu and Noah in sooner.

      As far as the games you mentioned at the end of your comment, I would agree to some extent. My issue with those games was that Pioli would start with the B-Team, trail behind, then throw on the better players to try and salvage something. Whereas I feel he should have started with the stronger players first, gotten a goal or two, then thrown in the (poor) reserves in the second half.

      Again, I think our depth this season will be a huge asset.

      FORZA MILAN ⚫️🔴

      1. We have no idea of most of those players’ abilities because they barely played.

        It wasn’t a lack of bench options, it’s that those bench options were barely used and then when they were used it was as part of an entirely new line up.

        When Man City tried that in the league cup they got knocked out.

        No team can do that.

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