MN: Set piece scrutiny persists as Milan struggle with three near-identical corners

By Oliver Fisher -

Had Mike Maignan not made an incredible save right at the end of the Fiorentina win, we would be talking about another game with a corner conceded in a certain way.

MilanNews recall how in the 96th minute of Milan-Fiorentina, a corner was aimed to the near post, flicked on and then a spare man was waiting at the far post. It is the same as the Paris Saint-Germain game in the Champions League at San Siro, and at the Via del Mare against Lecce in Serie A.

The result this time was fortunately different as Mandragora failed to convert, but it is far from being a coincidence as Milan’s set piece struggles continue. It would have been comical, if not diabolical, to concede the same goal for the third game in a row.

With the added circumstance that there was an international break between Lecce and Fiorentina, there was certainly time to analyse the goals conceded in the previous matches and put it right, yet three different opponents have been able to exploit the issue.

It is only part of a problem that Milan have had for years now: not knowing how to make dead balls dangerous or defend them adequately. Corner kicks, free kicks from the midfield and from the flanks are all a foregone conclusion.

In the best case scenario the ball is lost anything dangerous being achieved; in the worst case, the opponents end up with a counter-attack, taking advantage of the many Rossoneri men who have come up.

Aside from a header by Pobega at the end of the first half, Milan barely threatened at all from set pieces whereas Fiorentina had elaborate schemes and routines to try and confuse. It is an area where Pioli and his staff must generate improvements.

Tags AC Milan


  1. – ACM has more flair in forwards than other Big-7. It naturally means ACM should has more Set-Pieces in final third.
    – ACM has many physical players and pretty tall : Malick Thiaw (1,94 m), Rafael Leao (1,88 m), Olivier Giroud (1,92 m), Ruben Loftus-Cheeks (1,88 m), Tomasso Pobega (1,88 m), Theo Hernandez (1,84 m), Fikayo Tomori (1,85 m), etc.

    So why did we so weak at Set-Pieces ? We should feared in Set-Pieces.

    1. I can think of 3 reasons:
      1- We don’t have players who know how to play a set pieces. Theo for example is our main freekick taker and aside from that one (1) freekick against PSG, he sucks at them. During the lasts years, Sandro once scored from a freekick, and before him Hakan was our main freekick and corner kicks taker. Honestly in the set pieces department, we never really replaced Hakan.
      2- We simply don’t work well enough on set pieces during training both offensively and defensively. And this can be noted by the placement of our players during set pieces that is sometimes all over the place. This is a coaching problem and I don’t why or how pioli didn’t notice this problem.
      3-Being tall doesn’t automatically make you good at headers. Aside from Giroud, how many of our current players did score a header ? Even with their national team or previous clubs.

      All of the reasons I mentionned can be/should be improved upon. Being so bad at set pieces is simply unforgiveable at high level.

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