AC Milan 2-0 Bologna: Five things we learned – immediate impact and fine wine

By Ivan Stoev -

After a somewhat disappointing performance against Atalanta, which ended up in a 1-1 draw, Milan managed to bounce back with a win against Bologna. In other words, they capitalised on their rivals’ failures.

Charles De Ketelaere and Olivier Giroud both got the chance from start and these decisions paid off for Stefano Pioli. Around the 20th-minute mark, the Belgian picked up his first assist for Milan as he set up Rafael Leao after winning the ball back.

The Rossoneri then had a few more chances to double their lead but failed to be clinical. They did, however, manage to get the second goal through a lovely strike by Giroud in the 58th minute to seal the three points. Here are five things we learned…

1. The long negotiations were worth the effort

De Ketelaere played from the start and managed to make a big impact on the game in the No.10 role, something Milan had been lacking for quite some time. He won the ball himself and then carried it all the way to the penalty box before assisting Leao, and he almost had another assist or two.

The youngster showed a lot of positives as his defensive work also stood out amongst other things. He showed great pace at times which allowed him to beat his man on several occasions, but then he also had the vision and technique to provide the final ball to a teammate.

The only thing we didn’t really see from him on the night was his shooting technique but that will probably happen rather sooner than later. Amazing performance overall as the Belgian looks like the missing piece in that Milan attack.

2. Responding in style

After not being able to involve himself in a goal in the first two games, Rafael Leao seemed determined to turn his fortunes around. The Portuguese looked a bit more focused and energetic against Bologna as he managed to score the opener and then provide Giroud with a lovely assist.

Leao also worked a lot in the first half, helping out the defence and he seemed to click with De Ketelaere as well, which is superb news for coach Pioli. The one concern with the youngster was that towards the end he seemed exhausted and that raised questions about his condition.

It’s potentially an explanation for his not-so-spectacular performances prior to the Bologna game. Fortunately for him, with Rebic and Origi on the bench, Pioli has more than enough depth to give him so off time.

3. Aging like fine wine

And no, we’re not talking about Ibrahimovic. Giroud was back in the starting XI after the underwhelming display by Rebic last week. The Frenchman didn’t have many clear-cut chances but eventually put his name onto the scoresheet after a spectacular scissors kick.

Giroud also helped a lot in the build-up as he dropped deeper on several occasions, shielding the ball and laying it off for his teammates. There was good chemistry between him and De Ketelaere, as both of them took turns to drop deeper with Giroud doing that even more, thus allowing the Belgian to run in behind and use his pace.

A good outing from the Frenchman as he played the full 90 minutes and looked in good physical shape.

4. Good depth and a question mark on the right

After the second goal, Pioli introduced the likes of Ballo-Toure, Adli, Pobega, Gabbia and Saelemaekers which showed the good depth Milan have. Especially if you consider that the likes of Kjaer, Rebic, Origi and Florenzi remained on the bench.

Despite Bologna not being the most demanding opponent, the substitutes did well with Adli finally getting his official debut and looking good after an initially shaky few minutes. Pobega also looked a bit more confident which is good to see heading into this long season.

On the right-hand side, Saelemaekers also played well off the bench as he ran a lot, helping the defence and carrying the ball forward. He was also involved in a couple of good plays. So here comes the question: the Belgian has done well coming off the bench in the first three games, whilst Messias has been the worst player on the pitch for three games straight. It might be the time to give Alexis the nod.

5. First clean sheet of the season

After two shaky games at the back, the Rossoneri managed to keep a clean sheet this time around and while it seemed like an easy job, Bologna is certainly a team that can cause defences trouble so the fact that Maignan barely had to intervene is a really positive sign.

Theo and Calabria did a decent job on both flanks as they gave little to nothing away. Kalulu and Tomori also managed to neutralise Arnautovic despite his big physical presence, which was brilliant work from the two.

After the game, Milan announced that they have a deal struck for Schalke defender Thiaw so it will be interesting to see how is the defence will look moving forward. And above all, if Gabbia will be allowed to leave so he can gain some much-needed experience.

Tags AC Milan Bologna Serie A


    1. Ha! I’m sure he will and post how terrible Leao was and how he’s lazy and we should sell him for 40M – LOL. You know the same garbage that comes out of that idiot kid’s (@bb) mouth

      1. Juro aka DonkeyLover69, you and I both know I never said that so stop spreading your BS. I said he should be sold for 40M€ NEXT SUMMER if he won’t sign the contract extension.

  1. well lets leave that and say rw is clearly a weakness but u can see how important am is and when u have weak am the attack is flop RW though is important and tonali has some worrying signs but hope he does well smart opponents would use our aerial weakness and it think we have to switch one of our defender what if we try florenzi doesnt play alot we can tell him to get the rw role maybe rebic or anyone we have to note bologna is not a strong opponent thus the real challenge will be tough games like inter one then we can know whose good or bad good result , move on

    1. Agreed, RW is such an area of need it’s shocking it’s not addressed. If Ziyech is still available for the reported 10M we should sign him straight away. Unfortunately it looks like we will be stuck with Messias and Sales. Hope we can then at least pick up another DM or not using that $$ on RW

  2. bad game from Tonali, and when i need to see again a this fxxxx giroud when he gets crazy cause our coolest profil Kalulu did not manage to play on ..i will drive to milano…..100% french guy

  3. After two shaky games at the back, the Rossoneri managed to keep a clean sheet this time around. Not agree with you, At Atalanta beside the deviated goal the back was solid.

  4. Junior already flop in 3 match . I dont understand why pioli always start him,if just because he dont believe lord saladmaker too then why not changing formation without using RW like 4321 or 4312. With that formation infront we can use giroud & behind him leao with CDK ( 4321) while in 4312 we can have leao duo with goroud & behind them are CDK .We have depth like Rebic/origi that can play both SS or CF . 3 midfield should be tonali ,bennacer,adili/pobega with depth bakayoko,krunic,new DMF even lord saladmaker ( can play as RMF) . The only player we left are junior

    1. Because changing formation isn’t easy. It’s basically change the core gameplay that already build for years. It’s not as easy as video games when you go to menu and select different formation and done.

      Meanwhile there’s also new players who still adapting with their teammates and strategy.

      The workload will be massive and it’s too risky especially with the tight schedule Milan have playing 3 matches a week.

  5. Leao responded in style 😂😂😂😂😂😂

    He couldn’t even hit the ball right for his goal, a good assist though for giroud but to be sincere, Leao is very frustrating bother for the team play and for his team, Lost so many balls, so many bad decision, gets interested when he wants but switches off steadily, every Milan player seems to raise his hands up every time he loses the ball………

    Dude got huge talent but his worst enemy is his Attitude and if he doesn’t keep it in check, he will not amount to anything in football, he will just be another quaresma and the worst thing that will happen to him is to take that attitude to Chelsea, he will be sent on loan the next summer And will be gonebthe next.

    Leao is still overrated, he haven’t reached those heights of above average footballer, too much talent but the body carrying those talent is very weak

    1. No other portuguese player will be as good as ronaldo, but i’m happy he plays for my team, because having Leao playing against Milan, he’d wreck havoc.

  6. Seeing this win is very motivational!

    I even forgot that we had certain depth players on the bench until they started getting subbed in!

    If the mercato links are stable, then after this new defender dude, a new midfielder, and we’d be set for until January. Remember that World Cup is coming up so we’d also hope most returning players aren’t that fatigued right?

  7. a few things that must be considered, first tonnali and bennacer must work hard in maintaining a fairly large area in front of the defense of milan. Sometimes the area looks empty so that it can be used by the opponent and it has been proven that several counter attacks are quite inconvenient for Milan.
    Second, Leao looks lazy and pushes to get past the opponent but the statistical results show 1 goal and 1 pass to giroud. Very good and deserved to be the best player in yesterday’s game. Even in some
    third, pioli must trust second-tier players. The match schedule is tight and requires stamina and a fit player condition.
    Fourth, Pioli should never overhaul an already solid team, then Giroud’s team is a hero and scores important goals, why become a substitute?

  8. CDK is definitely improvement over Diaz. He can carry the ball, create chances, winning the ball, and defend corner too.

  9. Leao is very exciting and fun to watch and has amazing talent and speed… and I’m very happy he’s on our team because he helps us win. BUT he does switch off and he still does make a lot of poor decisions. I’m hoping Ibra will help him mature and he will learn — he’s still very young; but the very best players (like Salah, Modric, Haaland, etc., all of the biggest stars) NEVER stop running.

    In this Bologna match, 7 minute mark, Giroud, CDK and Messias all sprinted up to press; but Leao just watched lazily and of course their goalkeeper passed to the open player who was Leao’s responsibility and so Leao’s teammates wasted energy for nothing.

    33 min mark, Leao tries to dribble through/around three defenders instead of passing to open teammates and loses the ball.

    38:11 Rafa decides to shoot from way way way too far out after some great passing by Bennacer and Giroud and we had a good dangerous opportunity but he wasted it with that stupid and selfish shot.

    40:10 Leao HORRIBLE cross. not even close.

    48 min mark, Leao takes another shot from WAY WAY too far out and wastes another good offensive possession with teammates around. dumb.

    That’s just some of them. He is capable… about 2/3 of way thru last season, he was taking dumb selfish shots from poor angles far on left after he beat his man with nice dribbles; but then during that final amazing 7 game winning streak to end the season, he started to make the smart cutback passes into the middle… he got multiple assists on Tonali goals; and he got multiple assists on Giroud goals and Kessie goal. Leao is very capable of being a star but he needs to learn, mature and focus. I hope he can and stays with us to help us get more Scudetto/Champions League tropies!

    1. Yep. That’s Leao for you (or us). He needs an attitude change if he wants to become a superstar. But if he wants to be another balotelli or niang, then he should continue with his reckless “I don’t care as I’m the best there is”-attitude.

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