AC Milan 1-3 Sassuolo: Five things we learned – toothless and confused at both ends

By Ivan Stoev -

After a disappointing loss to Fiorentina, AC Milan were keen to get back to winning ways against Sassuolo but they failed to do so, losing 3-1 after initially going ahead in the match.

Pioli’s men started well and got a goal through Alessio Romagnoli in the 21st minute, but everything fell apart after that with Milan losing focus and allowing Sassoulo to get back in the game within three minutes as Gianluca Scamacca drew them level.

The Neroverdi got themselves in front after a Simon Kjaer own-goal before half time and things didn’t change for good after the break as the away side had no problem with what looked like a tired Milan side, picking up a third goal through Domenico Berardi.

A Romagnoli red card in the 77th minute compounded Milan’s misery as Pioli’s side didn’t have enough fuel in the tank to fight back, registering a second loss in a row in the league as they moved three points behind Napoli and only one ahead of Inter. Here are five things we learned…

1. From best to worst

Sadly we have to start by saying that Alessio Romagnoli had a horrendous game against Sassuolo. Even though he managed to open the scoring early on it was downhill from then onwards as he looked nothing like the defender that kept Atletico Madrid quiet in mid-week.

He was exposed a tonne admittedly but he was at fault for the third goal where he allowed Berardi to beat him with ease. The centre-back then went on to earn himself a red card killing all chances Milan had to maybe rescue a point.

It was an awful display from the captain just when it seemed he was doing well to redeem himself after a shaky patch of form, with the cloud of his renewal situation hanging over him.

2. Bad first start

Another player that was sub-par was Tiemoue Bakayoko, who earned himself a spot in the starting XI for the first time this season but did nothing good on the pitch really.

The Frenchman’s passing was awful and he gave the ball away for Sassuolo’s equaliser, albeit with a fantastic finish from Scamacca. Bakayoko did have a couple of good moments for Milan off the bench up until this game, yet he crumbled alongside the rest of the team and has to do better.

3. Toothless up top

The attack didn’t have a great afternoon either, it must be said. Rafael Leao started off well, though he faded into the game as he seemed tired.

Brahim Diaz is also failing to live up to his pre-Covid form. The Spaniard has had a rough couple of games where he has failed to make a difference and help his team and will need to work harder in order to be that game-changer he was in the beginning of the season.

On the other side Alexis Saelemaekers had looked decent drifting centrally early on, but failed to make a difference in the final third. Then, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was also neutralised due to a lack of service and only when Junior Messias came on did things look a bit better. The attack might need to be addressed in January.

4. From heroes to zeros

In addition to Bakayoko, Franck Kessie and Ismael Bennacer also failed to impress. The Algerian looked untidy next to Bakayoko whilst Kessie made a lot of errors; especially one leading to the third goal. The only positive of midfield quartet was Tonali who fought a lot and tried to make stuff happen, but ultimately that wasn’t enough.

With the midfield department being the top performers for the Rossoneri since the start of the season it’s rough to see most of them struggle now with only one exception. The whole team is losing momentum and Pioli needs to make the engine room tick again.

5. Rising stock

With seven goals conceded in the last two Serie A games it would be fair to say that Tomori’s absence has been heavily felt. The Englishman established himself as one of the best defenders in the league due to his pace and aggression that have allowed him to compete with the best in Italy, and in Europe as seen in the Champions League.

That being said, without Tomori the Rossoneri have struggled heavily in defence and whilst Calabria was also absent it’s fair to say that after Romagnoli’s horror show it’s the 23-year-old that’s missed more by Pioli.

READ MORE: Player Ratings – AC Milan 1-3 Sassuolo – Captain disastrous as several struggle

Tags AC Milan Milan-Sassuolo


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