MN: The positives, concerns and mercato signs from the Bologna win

By Oliver Fisher -

First game, first win. AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli could hardly have asked for more than that after what was a tricky opening test against Bologna last night.

MilanNews analyse the game a bit further and recall that Milan were at their best when they had the ball as the new signings Tijjani Reijnders and Christian Pulisic were bright and both decisive in the goals scored.

The three-man midfield is certainly more rocky, with Reijnders himself guaranteeing a lot of running and Ruben Loftus-Cheek finding himself in more of a defensive role, often alongside RADE Krunic recovering balls and shielding the back four.

Of course, the machine is still to be oiled because there were some hesitations and inaccuracies in the build-up play, but some intuitions too. The full-backs often came inside to help the central midfielder, and the midfielders who raised their position.

The feeling, which was reflected in yesterday’s match, is that once the first wave of pressure from Bologna was over, Milan played in a way that we never saw last year.

Finally, the right-wing took part in the attacking play and Rafael Leao is no longer the only dangerous presence in the Rossoneri’s front three, which will give Pioli lots of solutions.

There were some concerns too though, such as the physical condition which appeared good until around an hour of the game had gone, then dropped sharply. The player who came on (Chukwueze, Okafor) didn’t look brilliant either.

At this stage in the season that is perhaps normal though. The real alarm bells came from the defence because there was a feeling of fragility.

Fikayo Tomori still has some problems in build-up, while Davide Calabria appeared to struggle in the 1v1 situations. There’s not too much to worry about: Tomori has shown us over the years that he is capable of playing at high levels, while for the Milan captain there is a non-optimal condition to consider.

What must be added to that is the fact the dynamics of the game are different compared to last season, so both will therefore have to get used to defending in a different way.

What about the mercato? Pioli was clear after the match: the players that he does not see as being part of his plans must be offloaded because he doesn’t want too big a squad and to manage players who are unhappy.

Now the mission is to try and offload Divock Origi, Fode Ballo-Touré, Mattia Caldara and Alexis Saelemaekers, who are the players Pioli seems to be referring to.

In addition there is the striker issue, where it is necessary to understand whether Lorenzo Colombo will be the third centre-forward, or if he will leave on loan and a replacement will arrive.

Finally, there is the Rade Krunic quandary. If Fenerbahce raise their offer he could leave, but Milan would need another starter in the middle of the pitch.

Tags AC Milan Bologna Milan


  1. The right side of the pitch was attacking with creativity. Leao was lacking a little bit on the left, but I’m sure both sides will be firing on all cylinders soon enough.

    That’s not to say we are complete. I know people think Dominguez isn’t good enough based off that appearance, but Thiaw had a bad appearance with Schalke where the team lost 6-1. It’s all about individual talent.

    We still need an appropriate defensive midfielder.

    1. See let me say something clear we need our 4-2-3-1 to welcome our creativity and solidity that’s were leao will make an impact but in the 4-3-3 leao will struggle can’t be dangerous in his skills and Pulisic and musah are our attacking midfield which Pioli must be aware, pulisic is not good in the right wing even his goal was from the attacking midfield sides so Pioli should return to his old formation to ensure the solidity of those players. So Pioli must return to that line up in the next match.

      1. I think so too… 433 is more of Chuku is not mat cc h fit yet, okafor not match fit.. but we are flexible enoigh for a 433…. but fully fit squad 4231 seems better to mee too

      2. I’m not actually against a return to 4-2-3-1, but that denotes we need a better defensive midfielder than Krunic. And it’ll mean we’ll have to bench RLC or Rejinders. We surely aren’t playing both in a double pivot. I’m not so sure.

        1. we need a RLC update before any changes because whatever happened in that game cant happen again because making everyone else cover for you is getting everyone else tired.

        1. absolutely NOT 3 in the back. That is the WORST for Leao. Leao even said it himself to the CBS/Paramount + TV crew in the interview around the Napoli Champions League match last year! last year we played 3-5-2 and 3-4-2-1 after that horrible January/February when we conceded lots of goals and then Leao was in the middle more and not wide enough in open spaces which limited his chances to work his dribbling magic or to sprint in behind the defense in the open wide spaces.

          Whether we play a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3 I think doesn’t matter so much for Leao because either way in a 3-across for him on the left, he can stay wide. yesterday’s formation was good as 4-3-3; but I think if we played a 4-2-3-1, that Krunic could have either RLC or Pobega alongside him. Also, once Bennacer returns in 2024, we can have him in the double pivot in a 4-2-3-1.

          But ABSOLUTELY 100% NO WAY we should play 3 in the back. Leao would be much worse in that formation. We have seen it.

          1. we are playing it now…in the build up…on offense…you are watching the games right? Every game. We play a 3 in the back and invert a fullback to make a 3-2-4-1…every game….

    2. its not that he isnt good enough hes just not really an upgrade…and if he is…its not enough of an upgrade to pay money for it…

      1. I think he is enough of an upgrade. Maybe he didn’t put his heart into this game because he wants to leave? And he’s been linked to Milan all summer, and now suddenly had to play against us. We will see. Maybe he was just not playing that hard.

  2. At least someone being honest about Calabria’s terrible defending. Some people saying he did good makes me wonder if they were even watching the game at all.

    1. Lets find a good italian RB. .. because it seemed we played Calabria jist for the sake of having an italian around…. cause he sucked. Kalulu better starter IMO…

      1. You did watch the match, right?
        Kalulu was very poor after he came on.
        Calabria is just back from injury..obviously he wasn’t at 100%.
        You people have no idea why Calabria plays, do you. There have been around 4-5 players brought in the last 4-5 years to take the spot from Calabria. Yet none did. I fûcking wonder why… sicne he’s so bad and all that…

        1. Kalulu was not bad, he made one bad pass that turned the ball over but he can actually defend unlike Calabria who was beaten time after time. Literally 15 seconds into the game Calabria already caught out of position and the Bologna player unmarked rockets one off the post. It didn’t get better from there.

      2. Calabria did fine this game but wasn’t clearly fully match fit. We were linked with Matteo Ruggeri, but is he that good?

        1. Calabria did not do fine. He got beat one on one very time and was always getting caught out of position. Just go watch the highlights of the game. Almost every dangerous chance Bologna had came from his side. Luckily Bologna doesn’t have good finishers but a better team would have really punished us.

          1. This is coming from someone who said Kalulu isn’t bad, but when he came on he nearly cost us a goal. You’re clearly biased. I don’t think I agree with that at all.

          2. I don’t think so. I remember, very clearly, the best chance bologna had was through the middle. Miles away from calabria and his flank

          3. You are talking one bad pass by Kalulu that led to a scoring chance for Bologna. Meanwhile Calabria got beat every time and gave up numerous scoring chances to Bologna. Just watch this short highlights and you’ll see how many times our right side was exposed due to calabria either being out of position or flat out getting beat by his man. If you watched the entire game there were even more chances.

  3. We need a better right back. I love Calabria — he’s been a rossoneri his entire life and bleeds red & black; I will also always love Kalulu forever with that magic in a bottle he caught with Tomori over our final 10 matches or so when we allowed 1 goal and had almost all clean sheets.
    BUT WE NEED A BETTER RIGHT BACK. The quality just isn’t there. Calabria is too slow and he can’t cross well into the box. Right backs in today’s name need to contribute to the offense and he doesn’t ever. Old/broken man Florenzi has more of an offensive impact in 10 minutes of games than Calabria has in 80 whenever he gets subbed in. He’s too slow too though. Kalulu takes too many chances and has loose passes.

    I actually think right back is our biggest need on this team for an upgrade… even more than adding another striker (we do need another striker — not sure how much Giroud can keep performing at this great level at his age).

  4. Calabria is one of the worst players in the squad. I will never understand how people defend him. It is even worse than Krunic who is not stellar. Kalulu sucks in offensive just like Davide but at least he is not outpaced time and time again by mediocre players

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