Milan 2-0 SPAL: 5 things we learned

By Grégory Leclercq -

It was a night of continuity at the San-Siro yesterday as AC Milan got past SPAL, scoring two goals from the penalty spot.

Ricardo Rodriguez and Franck Kessie confirmed the Rossoneri‘s will to bounce back from that Lazio defeat a bit more than a week ago.

The team, who was not always playing rightly in the final third displayed a solid defensive and controlling performance to gain even more confidence ahead of what will be an extremely difficult October for the Milanisti.

Here are 5 things we’ve learned from Wednesday night…

1. Three penalties, two takers 

Yesterday was a rather rare evening for Vincenzo Montella’s men as two penalty kicks were awarded to the team, both leading to goals.

This brings the tally to three penalty kicks awarded to Milan in Serie A this season, with all three ending up in the back of the net.

What’s more interesting though, is that these three penalties were converted by two different players in the name of Ricardo Rodriguez (1) and Franck Kessie (2).

This is suggesting rotational orders from Vincenzo Montella, not only regarding the team selection but also as for who’s in charge of taking penalties as well as free kicks.

We might therefore getting used to watch a decent number of players take on the various set-pieces across the whole season.

2. A valuable Italian outing for Andre Silva

As Montella suggested, he played Andre Silva from the very start of the game, giving the Portuguese striker his first ever outing as a starter in Serie A, something the fans were really excited about.

The 21 year-old, who started the first official game for the Rossoneri in Europa League, scoring a hat trick, has been since the start of the season deemed as “not yet adapted to Italian football” as his coach suggested that time was needed and that is exactly what Milan fans wanted him to have not only in Europe but in Italy as well.

It has to be say that even by not scoring, the young lad has impressed San Siro with his intelligent ball-protection, dribbling and moves across SPAL’s side of the pitch.

The game, which was not full of clear chances for neither side, saw the Portuguese finding himself what would have been an impressive goal on the 35th minute, dribbling and then shooting at the very start of the penalty box, leading to the SPAL keeper catching the ball with not too much difficulty.

3. Jack needs time to find himself in the 3-5-2

Giacomo Bonaventura, who was a fan favorite last season at the San Siro has been back in the team for a few weeks now after recovering from a hamstring injury which he contracted against Udinese back in January.

Although “Jack” made his 100th appearance in all-competitions for the Rossoneri yesterday, he didn’t enjoy the finest play when he came in for Calhanoglu in the 74th minute.

Just like much of the team, Bonaventura still needs to adapt to his new role in the 3-5-2 deployed by Montella, one which is slightly different from the Mezz’ala he used to play as in the 4-3-3.

However, Jack doesn’t quite seem to be back at full-fitness yet as he takes way too long to transit in between the lines and find himself in a position worthy of receiving the ball from his teammates.

As Montella sees Calhanoglu clearly reaching the permanent starting role, the fans will be hoping to give Bonaventura more play time and see him get back to the impressive midfielder he was before getting injured.

4. Must. Exploit. Corners.

Yesterday’s game showed how many chances could potentially come from corner-kicks if the team works on it.

The team, who was awarded 9 corners during the game, a decent number, was mostly awarded these at the very start of the game.

Indeed, Milan had 5 corners in the opening 21 minutes of the game which clearly states the immediate will to put the opposite team under pressure.

If Milan can work out a few habits on how to exploit corners rightly, they could use the like of Bonucci, Romagnoli, Zapata, Musacchio, Kessie, Andre Silva or even Kalinic to really be a threat on each corner kick.

5. Running too much?

As one might think, you’ll never run too much if you win. However, that’s not really what coach Montella had to say after the game.

“We ran too much” he declared to Milan TV. “A mature team understands that we’re only at the fifth game of the year and that we will most likely have to adapt our way of managing our runs”.

The coach clearly addressed it with the 3 midfielders of the night in mind, Kessie, Biglia and Calhanoglu, all 3 guilty of running way too much during a game which was in Milan’s hands.

The coach then added “They were all trying to get on the scoresheet and this is good” lighting up the will and spirit of the whole squad.

AC Milan now prepare to gear up against Sampdoria on Sunday at the Luigi Ferraris in Genova. Kick-off time at 12:30 CET.

Tags AC Milan Franck Kessie Milan Ricardo Rodriguez Rossoneri Serie A SPAL
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