AC Milan were forced to play without their star, Rafael Leao, against an in-form Napoli side this past weekend. Although the Rossoneri ended up on the losing side, they proved their strength as a collective.
It was obviously a huge blow for Stfenao Pioli to not have Leao at his disposal, especially considering the great form the winger has been in lately. In fact, many ruled out Milan simply because of his absence.
Leao has been the main source of creativity for Milan this season, able to create chances out of virtually nothing. As such, many expected the Rossoneri to struggle on that front but it turned out to be the complete opposite.
Starting Rade Krunic (who was great, by the way) at left-wing allowed Theo Hernandez to burst forward more often. And not only that, but Charles De Ketelaere played an important role in creating chances for the Rossoneri, as well as Brahim Diaz off the bench.
While we all expected Milan to lack chances in the game, it was the finishing they ended up lacking instead. The latter is not something that Leao is known for and thus the final result cannot be attributed solely to his absence, really.
Milan were clearly the better side for large parts of the game and they really proved their strength as a collective. Don’t get me wrong, it would have been great to have Leao available and he remains the star of the team, but Pioli’s men coped surprisingly well without him.
In short, this is certainly not a dig at Leao and his importance, but rather a way of showing just how well Milan can perform even without their star. This is crucial, especially since Leao probably won’t play every single game this season.
The fact that the unbeaten run came to and end was simply unlucky, both because Milan squandered chances but also because Napoli were scarily efficient (the second goal was world-class).