GdS: Situations resolved and crucial depth – Milan top Europe for goals from subs

By Oliver Fisher -

Having a deep squad with plenty of options off the bench is obviously a big positive for a coach, and Stefano Pioli seems to finally have that at AC Milan after years of doubt.

As La Gazzetta dello Sport report, Milan have an official first team squad of 26 players but Pioli has fielded 33 different men so far. That is mostly due to the various injury crises which have resulted in players not only being called up from the Primavera but also used.

This is the first piece of data that emerges when looking at Milan’s 2023-24 numbers. Then there is another which is well supported by the figures, but in reality it is definitely visible even without going too far into the statistics: the gap between the starters and reserves has decreased considerably compared to a year ago.

Critical situation

The key figure is that the 14 goals scored by Milan in the league with substitutes are the highest this season not only in Italy, but in the ‘top five’ leagues in Europe. It is also a record for the Rossoneri in the era of three points for a win.

Obviously it a number that can easily be increased with nine games still available too, but in short the bench has produced surprises for Pioli and Milan even when it has seemed sparse.

Pioli is happy for two reasons. The first is obviously practical because the substitutes have remedied critical situations several times. The second for a sort of personal coherence since the Rossoneri coach has always preached the importance of having quality depth.

Never like this year has Pioli always encouraged us not to talk about starters and reserves but rather a very useful squad overall, even when the starting XI might well be very clear.

Big goals and big points

Breaking the numbers down, Luka Jovic and Noah Okafor top the charts for Milan in terms of goals off the bench with four each, with five in total for each as well. The two resolved several critical issues.

Jovic, for example, saved the Rossoneri from the total collapse against Salernitana (though it did end as a draw), equalised in Udinese (with Okafor getting the late winner) and scoring the crucial goal in Frosinone.

Okafor on the other hand, in addition to Udine, was decisive in the return match against Lazio which was won thanks to his goal.

The other scorers from the bench? Christian Pulisic (2), Jan-Carlo Simic, Chaka Traorè, Olivier Giroud and Samuel Chukwueze. In Serie A, as mentioned Milan are first with 14 goals off the bench and a wide gap to Napoli, Atalanta, Cagliari and Empoli who are 10 behind.

Broadening the horizon to Europe, Milan are still on top and after them come RB Leipzig and Brighton with 12, followed by Newcastle, Arsenal, Barcelona and Liverpool with 11.


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