In the last couple of seasons AC Milan have used visits to face Napoli as a springboard to get them out of difficulty, something they should have done last night as well before a second-half collapse.
MilanNews recall that Stefano Pioli’s side started the game last night very well with effective pressing, a careful defensive phase, counter-attacks and good build-up play in attack, just like the ‘good old days’.
It was not too dissimilar from the first half of the 4-0 win last season, when Milan were overwhelmingly expected to not have enough for the champions-elect and yet instead played them off the pitch.
From the positive start and fresh ideas came Olivier Giroud’s two headed goals and other big chances, aboveall the one that fell at the feet of Tijjani Reijnders who sent the ball over the crossbar with the goal wide open.
Then, the second 45 minutes was different Milan in difficulty – mentally and tactically – against a changed Napoli that were attacking with a bit more intent and penetration. The result: Rudi Garcia’s men were level before even the midway point of the second half.
The blame should not be found so much on the individuals on the pitch, but on those who were not there. Pioli was forced to field Marco Pellegrino due to Malick Thiaw’s suspension, while Simon Kjaer’s muscle injury at Milanello and Pierre Kalulu’s during the game sent the defence into an emergency.
Aside from Tommaso Pobega and Yacine Adli there wasn’t much available in midfield to make a difference, then in attack Christian Pulisic felt pain in his flexor and had to come off, making way for Luka Romero and not the injured Samuel Chukwueze.
Noah Okafor and Luka Jovic don’t have many minutes in their legs because they are returning from physical problems, meaning the squad is stretched very thin.
If Milan – now third in the table – want to fight for the Scudetto, a solution to the injury problem must be found urgently.