AC Milan’s defensive struggles this season are well known, and after racking up nine clean sheets in the final 11 games en route to the Scudetto, they are proving to be elusive in 2022-23.
As Tuttosport (via MilanNews) reports today, the most worrying stat is the one related to clean sheets, and there was perhaps an early sign that things would be different this season when Milan beat Udinese on matchday one but conceded two very soft goals.
Out of 19 league games, the Rossoneri have only managed to avoid conceding four times, and two of those resulted in 0-0 draws against Sassuolo and Cremonese. There have been 24 goals conceded in total, which is only seven less than the total number of goals conceded by Milan in all of last season.
Among the top six in the standings, the Diavolo are the team with the worst defensive record. At the halfway point of the last season, Milan had only registered two more clean sheets and had conceded only two fewer goals than the current situation.
It was then during the second half of the campaign that Pioli’s team changed gear significantly and recorded very impressive numbers: 11 clean sheets out of 19 matches and only 9 goals conceded.
The chances of repeating such a record seem slim at the moment for several reasons. The first is because Milan are not yet clear when they will be able to have Mike Maignan back in goal, and Ciprian Tatarusanu is not of the same level as the Frenchman in all aspects.
The second reason is because the nature of the team is more attacking: the absence of Franck Kessie – who often played as a screen in front of the midfield or behind the striker – is weighing heavy and Pioli will have to try to find a balance.
Oh they’re finally acknowledging Kessie’s impact missing in articles now.. interesting 🤔