GdS: Leao brilliance and Pioli’s tactical moves – Milan clinch deserved win vs. Fiorentina

By Isak Möller -

AC Milan extended the gap to Juventus – now six points – with a crucial win against Fiorentina and cemented their position in the standings. In addition to Rafael Leao’s brilliance, Stefano Pioli also deserves praise as highlighted by a report this morning. 

Milan headed into the clash knowing that it would be a very difficult one, having lost their last two games at the Artemio Franchi. However, while Fiorentina were indeed aggressive and fired up, the Rossoneri almost took control of the game.

Today’s edition of Gazzetta dello Sport (see photo below) has analysed the performance and what Milan did right. From the brilliance of Leao, who got a high score in our player ratings, to the tactical choices of Pioli.

Leao at his very best

Leao did really well for Portugal during the international break and returned to Milanello – early we should add – with a lot of confidence. This certainly showed at the Artemio Franchi, as the winger’s performance was a work of art.

The No.10 broke the deadlock at the start of the second half with a backheel assist for Loftus-Cheek and closed the game with a spectacular solo run. However, already in the first half, Leao had already done a lot even though Milan wasted too much.

In short, Milan got to see the best version of Leao last night: consistent and concrete. And this time, the backheel wasn’t just for show, but rather substance. If he can continue like this, then the Rossoneri are in for a positive season finale.

Milan’s tactical strength

As the pink newspaper continues, Milan also looked very good tactically. Especially in the first half, when they had the most dangerous chances and Fiorentina struggled to create. Mike Maignan was decisive, Tijjani Reijnders continues to impress and Samuel Chukwueze is starting to blossom.

Pioli deployed the usual 4-2-3-1 formation, at least on paper, because we saw was rather different. Reijnders had a very high starting position, Davide Calabria and Alessandro Florenzi cut inside to be more involved in the midfield while the two centre-backs took wide positions.

Ismael Bennacer, meanwhile, dropped down into the heart of the defence. Five players defended, five were always ready to attack and Milan managed to stay compact. After 20 minutes, the Rossoneri had 65% possession and this is an unusual sight for Fiorentina at Artemio Franchi.

Above all, though, Milan actually created the best chances and arguably should have scored already in the first half.

Tags AC Milan Fiorentina Rafael Leao Stefano Pioli

1 Comment

  1. And we could have had more goals, but not to underestimate Fiorentina. Still to think about whether we didn’t have all those injuries. We’d be in title contention… but alas, this team has an awesome future. Lets take that Europa League title seriously

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