Player Ratings: AC Milan 1-0 Empoli – Pulisic decisive; Loftus-Cheek shines

By Isak Möller -

AC Milan got the job done with a solid performance at home against Empoli, clinching all three points thanks to the odd goal. Christian Pulisic was the match-winner and below are the player ratings for the Rossoneri. 

If you haven’t already, make sure to check out how we decide the player ratings. From the scale to what affects the rating, we have compiled everything there.

Starting XI

Maignan (6): He really wasn’t troubled by Empoli today, with only two shots on target, and he did what was necessary in the build-up phase. Perhaps you could argue that the clean sheet should give him a higher rating, but the away side were toothless going forward.

Calabria (6.5): The captain missed a good chance at the back post, failing to hit the target with his header, but aside from that he did very well. Strong in the duels and almost always present when going forward, which also helped Pulisic get a lot of space.

Thiaw (6-): Overall, he was solid and imposed himself in the duels, always covering a lot of ground in the initial defensive phase. Although he did enough to get a pass here, we put a minus next to his rating given the big mistake in the second half (which could have resulted in a goal). But 5.5 would have perhaps been harsh.

Tomori (6.5): He’s regaining match fitness, that is clear, and he showed off his trademark defending – with speed and an ability to take control of the ball – on a few occasions. With him on the pitch, Milan can certainly play with a higher line.

Hernandez (6.5): A solid performance with more than a few trademark runs to bump up the rating. When things started to get stale for Milan, his movements really helped bring Empoli out of their positions, and the Rossoneri were then able to dominate again.

Bennacer (6.5): He perhaps had a slow start to the game, misplacing some passes, but he picked up and ended up being a very important player. He’s still rather unpolished in certain situations, in which he normally would thrive, but that pass for Okafor before the goal was crucial.

Reijnders (6): The Dutchman covered a lot of ground, as per usual, and had a couple of good passes this afternoon. It wasn’t as spectacular as his mid-week display, though, but certainly good enough to get a pass here.

Pulisic (7.5 – MOTM): Even without the goal, he was probably the best Milan player on the pitch. He was involved in almost everything that the Rossoneri created and had more than one dangerous cross into the box. Really encouraging stuff as we sometimes have seen him struggle in the 1v1s.

Loftus-Cheek (7): His physicality really sets him apart from the rest and today, he used that strength perfectly. Time after time, he received the ball in the space between Empoli’s midfield and defence, almost making something happen in the following actions. And he was very unlucky not to get a goal with a lovely strike, well saved by the goalkeeper.

Okafor (6.5): He just misses out on a 7 here, as he could have been even more incisive during his 1v1 duels on the left flank. It was a really good run to create the goal, though, and it’s clear that with more consistent playing time, he could be fantastic for Milan.

Jovic (5.5): The Serbian wasn’t necessarily bad, but he struggled to get involved today and perhaps that was due to how Milan played. Giroud also didn’t have much of an impact, which we will get to, but still it is not enough for a 6 here.


Musah (6.5): Although he missed a good chance on the edge of the box, he showcased his main strength which is running with the ball without getting dispossessed. With Empoli desperate to win the ball back, this ability really helped Milan see out the game with ease.

Kalulu (6): He did what was needed and perhaps a little more, but it was a rather comfortable game to come into in fairness. Arguments for a 6.5 can be made, maybe with more time on the pitch.

Chukwueze (6): The Nigerian looked promising, let’s just get that out in the open immediately, using his silky moves in possession on a few occasions. However, he got a great chance on a counter-attack but the first touch was far from perfect then.

Giroud (N/A): We didn’t see enough of him today to give a rating. Very quiet just like Jovic, but obviously he had less time.

Adli (N/A): We didn’t see enough to give him a rating.

The manager 

Pioli (6.5): It was a solid performance from Milan overall and the team actually played very well, especially up until the goal. To see out a game with this much comfortability should not be forgotten either, because stuff like that builds confidence.

Tags AC Milan AC Milan Player Ratings Empoli


  1. Hey, we just won with a clean sheet to move into 2nd place, let the negativity begin…
    Agree with the ratings pretty much except for Thiaw, I don’t think he was good at all. He worries me.
    The new signings lead the way again. Pulisic, RLC and Okafor. I know this is going to upset some.

    1. Lol, jokes on you. Getting results without a solution that works is a fluke, and cannot be relied uoon. We had some positives but not alot to be desired.

      1. The positives are many, players coming from injury, 3 points, clean sheet, 2nd place, 8 points away from Bologna, winning despite rotation.

        The negative is that we still don’t have a lot of stability in all areas (attack, midfield, defense, Maignan) which makes the final result a lot more unknown.

      2. Alternative is what… dropping points because you don’t play like a superstar team?

        Winning ugly is still winning, under a coach whose performances haven’t been consistent the last 5 years.

      3. Yeah, jokes on me, I guess. All this winning is really showing me…
        The people who are rooting against Milan are really being exposed here. They can’t even hide it anymore. Getting angrier with each win.

      4. I know where you are coming from but remember Leão was out Giroud came off the bench and Pulisic subbed early and we won. You could say we aren’t hitting on our highest cylinder like we were during the first few months of the season. Even inter had spells of 1-0 wins and Juve has many so it’s okay if we win in that fashion. I’d love to see 3-0 dominating wins every week but that’s not realistic.

      5. This sums it up perfectly. Yes we won. Yes we are second. But there are too many inconsistencies in pioli system. When it works great but when it doesn’t he doesn’t have a plan b and he is tactically very raw and not able to adapt the team. So thank you mister but end of season it’s time to go.

    2. “Hey, we just won with a clean sheet to move into 2nd place”.

      We moved into 2nd place, 16 points behind Inter, and had a clean sheet vs a relegation team.
      Whoo hoo, fuel up the bus and get the parade going.
      It was an awful game between a relegation team and a team coached by a coach worthy of a relegation team.

      1. You’re not happy we played well and win with a clean sheet while moved temporaily at 2nd place. But you will be mad as fvxk if this a draw or a loss.

        At this rate, you shouldn’t watch Milan anymore until next season.

    3. My original reply disappeared for some reason but @Dave has the gist.

      Empoli are near the bottom of the table and without a deflection on a terrible shot/ destro missing a free header- this is a draw or loss.

      The team was terrible as a whole and the performance isnt acceptable.
      The result saves the performance. There have been worse results with better performances.

      1. You’re not making any fuc*ing sense. So you’re counting Empoli failed two chances as a goal but not counting our own failed / saved chances from Okafor, Calabria, RLC, and Chuk. Milan still won in the end because statitically we created more chances than Empoli.

        Also, we dominated the entire match, created more chance, and defense better compare against Slavia but you called “the performances is not acceptable” is just pure bulls*it.

        1. You cant win a match by being statistically better than your opponent. The only way to win is by scoring more goals and allowing less goals than your opponent.

          By your measurements winning on xG wins you a match?

          Today’s performance against a decent team has probably has a different result.

          The result and lack of injuries are positive. The rest was not positive of a team who’s supposed to challenging for trophies.

          1. Gosh. I guess i’m replying to an id*ot.

            First. You’re the one who said “the team performance is poor and unacceptable”. But the statistic showed the opposite and now you’re trying to argue and denying with FACTS.

            Second. You’re the id*ot who counted Empoli two failed chances as a goal and claim this match would be a draw or loss if Empoli scored. So I called out your st*pid claim because why you didn’t count our failed chances? Oh right, because you didn’t watch the match but you still want to complaint huh.

            FOH and go play your video games.

          2. Goals is a stat.

            More goals than an opponent is a win.

            Ergo we win precisely by being statistically better.

            Now let’s come to leading indicators. These are the sorts of stats that would indicate a goal (key performance metric for a team) is likely to occur.

            There is, of course, XG for this but it’s only one mathematical representation of
            The data.

            Today we completed 91% of passes when most in the comments agree we moved the ball “better”. In this case better would indicate more risk on average per pass.

            We put 3x more shots in (15 to 5) and 2.5, more on target (5 to 2)

            Such representation of team behavior indicate we are more likely to win.

            I can go on but stats (goals) win games. Other stats indicate goals being likely and higher numbers means a higher chance for a goal.

            This is usually summed up as “get the ball on target” on common wisdom.

            Because we got the ball on target, a mistake on Empolis part allowed a goal. Had that stat been lower the probability of one falling out way would be lower.

            We played well against a team on the rise with a heavily rotated lineup (more stats actually). I hope you find some happiness.

      2. With Puli first strike going in, RLC strike going in. Chuk strike going in … blah blah blah, we win 4-1.

        If we are going to play the hindsight game, let’s take the entire match into account.

        Empoli keeper was aces today.

      3. Empoli barely did anything aside from Destro’s header in 90mns and we played with a rotated team. What was terrible about it?

        Dense comment.

    4. How dare the team win!

      Given there were about 12 new signings simple probability means some are likely to play well.

      I’d still prefer if they had given me the 20m they paid for Chukwueze!

  2. Wasn’t a spectacular display by any means, but a comfortable one. I’m worried about a trend though, since the Lazio game.

    Chuk needs more minutes, you can tell. As does OK5 and Thiaw (still rusty)

    Also, I would like to point out how much less potency we had going forward without Leao. Just so people can understand that if he were to leave, his offensive qualities would be hard to replace.

    We win again and we move on to hopefully stay in 2nd for now. But I just hope that on Thursday we raise our levels significantly. Gonna be a rough game.

    1. Agreed, Leao is hard to replace. Pulisic and Okafor are good ones, but they are not as potent and creative as Leao. His combination of physical strength and speed are rare to find.

      1. Puli is much more creative than him. Leao has the physicality and dribbling tho which are more important qualities of an winger. His creativity is off speed and dribbling, not as much intelligence or vision like of Puli. Puli is in fact ideally an AM who are generally more creative players

        1. I’m coming around to the idea that Puli could play centrally as a 10 but would like to hear it from him.

          There is a pretty big diff between playing with your back to the touchline and needing only a 180 def field of concern vs being center of the park with head on a swivel.

          1. Everyone underestimates or ignores Leao’s passing. I know when he is selfish its super obvious but he does pass and has created the most big chances on the team. We expect him to walk on water and that’s just not possible. Pulisic is a very good player in his own right and together they form a good pairing. Having Pulisic central may work but I fear he’ll get chopped down or pushed over but he has shown to be more durable this term than pervious so there might be something there. Its worth a look on the training grounds for sure.

          2. Yeah @ACM1899 I was more thinking of he is will try it this year in the right circumstances and go to the market for an RW.

            Given the difference b/t second and fifth (?) isn’t much, it seems we should be able to experiment in league to help us get a more concrete idea of what we want/need.

            To @MaldinisHeir point I am hoping we add little and to great effect rather than the wholesale (if exciting) mercato last summer.

          3. With the US, he played sometimes as an AM in a 4-2-3-1, so it could work.
            If he is indeed comfortable playing as a true 10, perhaps we should also consider looking for a RW this summer and make Pulisic our AM.

  3. That’s a higher rating for sammy than i expected.
    He seemed like he played with a boulder on his shoulder, no confidence whatsoever, reminds me of CDK.
    And he is too one dimensional with his left foot, so predictable.

    1. I agree. There was a point in the box with Empoli not closing him down that he touched the ball nearly ten times. All with his left. Stunning to see that at this level.

      I did note Chuk had a better idea where to be off the ball and that his mates knew where it find him. So progress of a kind.

      I’d like to see more Okafur on the right to rest Puli at this point in the season.

    2. I mean be is quite rusty, and around 15 mins after coming on he started completing nearly every dribble and got a shot on target which was well saved.
      I still think he can come good at Milan, sadly the circumstances of the league table and the 2nd place fight don’t allow for much patience.

  4. We played an overall cohesive and good game. Thiaw was a bit shaky. But that’s probably due to him being rusty. I think we will close out this season respectfully but need to win the Europa League.

    1. The team looks tired, like they were conserving energy. I think the boys put out the absolute bare minimum of an effort needed to win today.

      1. Disagreed. This was actually a very good (not excellent) performance and there was an intent to get more goals. Second, this is almost an entirely different team than the one that played against Slavia Praha.

    1. I’ll offer that Thiaw looked shakey and that got worse when he switched left. I hope to see Gabbia going forward from the start.

      Does that earn me a troll badge? 🙂

      Serious seeing Tomorri play that well after so long out was awesome. And it illustrates a cause (not all) for our defensive struggle.

      Kalulu also showed his quality and knack for getting forward as well.

      1. Tomori Thiaw just needs more match fitness, the international break coming at a good time in that regard, hopefully we get back our full strength squad afterwards

        Bennacer slowly getting back to form but still a tad slow and messy passing.

        1. Yeah he knows what he wants to do, but he’s not yet there physically in the truly fine margins.

          That said if you think back 3 weeks, kis speed and stamina were clearly a notch up. So he seems like he is on his way back!

      2. I think Gabbia is gone now.

        Had Gabbia made the mistake that Thiaw made at the end and the numerous other mistakes he’s made this season he’d be so far gone it’s not funny.

        Gabbia doesn’t stand a chance.

        And it wouldn’t matter who is in charge youth products are seen as an opportunity for ‘capital gains’ to fund expensive signings that the club loses money on.

        Because football is a very serious business.

        Sorry for the negativity after a win!

        1. Why are you inventing drama?

          Gabbia has done great and now we have others fit too, good news.
          May the best man start
          That will probably be Gabbia – Tomori in Prague

  5. Another win in the box. No complains from me, we won a game despite a heavily rotated team, we never really in danger and most importantly, we’ve made it without injuries.
    I thought the subs, while not wrong per say were made a bit too soon. I think Pioli should’ve waited till the 70min or 75min to bring out Pulisic and Reijnders, who were among those who created the most danger. Had Empoli scored, we would be in serious troubles. I wasn’t a big fan of the Kalulu sub, while he didn’t make a mistake, I felt the defense was a bit destablized later on, especially during set pieces.
    I don’t have a lot to say about the defense. Aside from small mistakes made mostly by Thiaw, Empoli had no bite whatsoever. Offensively wise, it wasn’t the most impressive game by Calabria nor Theo, but the attack was nerfed and we won anyways.
    The attack had both the best and the worst. Pulisic continue his good form and continue to be a poison for the opposition team. I was especially happy for Okafor who showed he can do something as a starter and that he doesn’t always need Giroud or Leao, even while being used as a left winger. Jovic on the other hand, was transparent, didn’t help and still makes the case that he needs another striker with him.
    I thought Reijnders played very well today (as shown by the ovation), I think being benched few games did help him. Bennacer still far from his best, but did give a superb key pass to Okafor which led to the goal and again wasn’t impressed by Loftus-Cheek.
    The subs weren’t really impressive. You could say Musah holds the ball well and his physicality is disturbing to an already tired opposition, but still lacks effienciency. Kalulu wasn’t really challenged and Chukwueze is still dissapointing.

  6. Another of those take the 3 points and burn the tape games.
    Gotta give Pioli credit. His tactics are usually play on the counter attack and if that doesn’t work just pass to Leao and watch him go 1v1. Today he made an adjustment. Today the tactic was pass the ball to Pulisic and watch him go 1v1.
    Defending and trying to scrape a win vs bottom of the table team at home.
    5 years later and he still can’t coach how to defend set pieces. Destro wide open. No one around him while trying to defend a result.
    Thankfully only a dozen more games we’ll have to watch this.

    1. Was it Pioli or did the players themselves realize that “no Leao, gotta do something different” and used Pulisic instead? I’d say the latter since Pioli hasn’t shown any signs of even having any tactics for 2 years.

      1. I think his comment is more tongue in cheek than you’re giving credit for, and is ultimately a criticism of Pioli, and thus affirming you.

    1. Did you mean “injuryprone reject” and waste of money? I remember half of the site commentators seemed to think so half a year ago. 😀

  7. Strong performance against Empoli and the match never looked in doubt. We were in full control and that was a big positive.

    Maignan did not have much to do but he commanded the box.

    The backline helped up well. Welcome back Calabria. He looked great on defense and as usual worked well with Pulisic. Tomori gives a dynamic that no one else offers going forward although Gabbia is a very good defender and pairing the two looks ideal. Theo did make a few runs but with empoli on the back foot but i was hoping for a “Theo moment” but it wasn’t meant to be. Overall he did a good job in defense and with Leão out he played a smart match. Thiaw looks like he is still playing his way back into form and made a few mistakes but it didn’t not cost us but may have against other teams.

    The midfield didn’t look to bad today. Reijnders kept the ball moving although I’d like him to drive the ball up the middle more but perhaps that’s not in the plan. RLC did get into the gaps well today and had positive play going forward. He still at times fouls unnecessarily in a similar fashion as Thiaw. Benny looked better as the game progressed and covered a lot of ground. I’m glad he is starting to turn a corner.

    The forwards moved better today as a unit. Pulisic was lively and kept moving , no static play from him. The goal wasn’t his highest quality but it was off his weaker foot and it did go in which isn’t easy for anyone. His goal won the game simple as that. Okafor looked better starting today than he has in the past. I liked his dribbling and attacking mindset. His assist was quality and he played hard in both phases. It’s obvious why he started with Leão out. Jovic was somewhat missing but no real service so he didn’t blow any chances but that happens.

    The subs played the game out well enough. Musah did his thing. He drove the ball and made a few errant passes but he offers something others do not. Chukwueze looked decent. A few good positions but wasn’t able to finish.

    Pioli made some good decisions today. I was questioning why he didn’t flop Pulisic to the LW and start Chukwueze at the RW but Okafor showed he needs some playing time and his pass set up the winner. No real qualms with the subs. Well done Pioli.

    1. I think people are missing the movement of the team today. The midfielders were control the midfield and splitting the defense with drives, passes and run. The movement in and around the box opened up space that resulted in shots. Now, once Mulan scored they pulled back and became more conservative. People seem to focus on 1v1s, you win by moving the defense around and making space which Milan did today. Regarding Pulisic, he was able to cross the ball more regularly because he had targets in the box. When Leão plays the team is unbalanced to the left and players aren’t in the box. Today when he crossed you had RLC, Jovic, and Oaka4 in the box. Often Pulisic takes the ball to the center, passes wide and then
      goes into the box so Leão has more then one target in box.

      1. Yes I saw the movement too, it was good to see. We have played very static in the past but today it was obvious the guys were active. It’s true everyone obsesses over 1v1 and in certain situations that is a good stat but beating one man with another waiting won’t do you any good. This comment is mostly about Pulisic. He can beat guys 1v1 but the next man up is right there so he doesn’t force it and that’s why he doesn’t get dispossessed very often. If you had watched him at Dortmund you’d know he can beat people off the dribble and that’s what got him to Chelsea.

          1. Yep, and it belies the point about not needing another CB, which I thought we didn’t. We need to give Tomori a quality partner. While I’ve been impressed by Gabbia 2.0, it’s clear he’s not favored in games where we want to maintain a high line because of his lack of speed, and thus if he does play we won’t be using a high line. Unfortunately, playing Gabbia creates a self-imposed limitation. So maybe we do need another CB…

    2. Agree with a lot of that.

      I don’t think we’ll see much of Gabbia now that the three players we signed for money are back from injury.

      Musah drove me mad holding onto the ball too long and getting cornered.

      Our midfield tends to hold onto the ball too long. At least RLC does things quickly and decisively but the others tend to take too many touches. Do they even do the 2-3 touch games in training!

      1. Yeah, see, that’s a coaching issue. But we shouldn’t fix that because Pioli once upon a time won the league, so he now gets a lifetime pass.

        1. Try to keep up.

          The Scudetto was 2 seasons ago, the semi-finals of the Champions League was last season, finishing every season in a champions league spot was every season, and we’re currently 2nd….

          Musah still takes too many touches and will remain the source of my frustration.

      2. Musah was great when he came on.

        RLC has had 1 main criticism at Chelsea and now Milan – That he doesn’t do things quickly and decisively (doesn’t release the ball)
        Even Pioli has mentioned this, as well as Capello, Sachi etc

        I agree we can never seem to play quick 1-2 touch passing.

  8. This season Empoli beat Napoli, drew Juventus, and lost to Inter by same score, 1-0. Some are acting like because of their position we should win 3-0 by throwing our jerseys on the field. These are all professional footballers and teams always play their hearts out when they come to San Siro. Today was a good win and reminiscent of the many 1 goal squeakers we won towards end of Scudetto season.

    1. To your point they have also been on the rise since the coaching change.

      Their keeper was lights out today. I’ll take the 3 points and the solid performance with 6 rotated players.

    2. For real. When we win take it and analyze the game for improvement but don’t crap on the team because they didn’t win 3-0. We all know Empoli is low on the table but we won handily even without scoring a bunch of goals. We looked better today than against Prague where we scored 4 but today’s performance was better.

          1. I highly doubt we will surpass the 86 points of the scudetto. We might not even break 80. I think we’ll have 79-80 points (I think we’ll go 6-2-2 or 6-3-1 to finish the season), which hasn’t been enough for a scudetto since 2005/06.

          2. Only winners will be remembered. To be second with 99 points don’t mean **** when there is even one team with one or more points when the season ends.

          3. If he doesn’t win anything this season we should look elsewhere. A big club can’t keep hanging on to a single scudetto won eons ago.

  9. Comfortable win. A bit nervous at the end but comfortable overall. Good too see our injured players making it back. Movement off the ball is what i liked the most, much better than than the past 2 games. That’s something to build on. Good win, another 3 points torwards top 4. Congrats.

  10. Does the team played superbly? No. But does the team played well? Yes it does.

    3 win straight with 2 clean sheet which put us (temporarily) at 2nd place in the league and one foot to qualify for big 8 in Europa League.

    We even got all our players back except Pobega and so far there’s no injury too. But some people still in full negative nancy mode as if nothing good happened since we lost from Monza.

    At this rate, even if we magically win a scudetto and EL, these people will not feel happy and found some way to complaint :/

  11. I think people are missing the movement of the team today. The midfielders controlled the midfield and splitting the defense with drives, passes and run. The movement in and around the box opened up space that resulted in shots. Now, once Milan scored they pulled back and became more conservative. People seem to focus on 1v1s; you
    win by moving the defense around and making space which Milan did today. Regarding Pulisic, he was able to cross the ball more regularly because he had several targets in the box. When Leão plays the team is unbalanced to the left and players aren’t in the box so crossing is less effective. Today when he crossed you had RLC, Jovic, and Oaka4 in the box. Often Pulisic takes the ball to the center, passes wide and then
    goes into the box so Leão has more then one target in box. With Leão he plays less as a winger and more like a 10 as to where he moves the ball.

  12. This was a lot better today after horrible displays against Lazio and Slavia. They dominated first half and pushed Empoli back in their own box. I also saw a lot of ball movement to break down their defense. In second half they again became complacent and too leasure.

    A lot of forward runs by our ball carriers RLC, Reijnders and Musah. But I will say it again and again and again – if we want to see our ball carriers cook in final third, then we need a proper DM, someone who will cover for them. I bet with the proper cover we would see a lot more from the likes of Reijnders and Musah.

    Good to see Tomori back, I missed his energy back there.

  13. It was the happiest 1-0 game I’ve watched in awhile.

    Puli showed his quality today as the focus of the attack while continuing to work off the ball. 7.5

    Okafur showed he deserves more time and I am happy to see us have the problem of solving how to make that happen. 7

    Jovic 5.5. He was starved for service. I like how he plays deeper. I’d like to see him press more consistently though.

    RLC looked great today and even had his head up for some solid passes. 6.5. I like seeing him play 9.5 and was a bit bummed not to see as much of this.

    Reinjders frustrated me a bit for all that our midfield looked surprisingly solid. He still seems to have his default mode set to making the safe pass (usually back). 6

    I am concerned for Benny. He clearly knows how to be Benny but his body doesn’t seem capable yet. Small things around pass accuracy and positioning etc. I’d like to see less of him to ensure he doesn’t end up fatigued. I suspect this is all part of coming back from such a difficult injury. 5.5

    Thiaw looked shakey all game to me. He’s been back the longest now so I’m expecting a bit more. Also most errors are more mental it seems. 5.5

    With Gabbia playing as he has, I’d like to see him pair with Tomorri this Thursday!

    Tomorri 7. Man was it good to see him back. I credit him for the improved midfield.

    Theo 5.5. I suspect this will draw some ire, but I think it was on purpose. With nobody evidently able to be deputy him, I think he was instructed to “rest on the field”

    Calabria 6.5. Dude hasn’t scored in a couple years but we still talk about a missed header on the run? He was super involved in the build up and locked down his side of the field in concert with Puli.

    For all that Theo and Leao are a force on the left, I think Calabria and Puli have formed a solid partnership on the right that is overlooked. I suspect because it’s more defensive in nature, but still pretty darn effective.

    Mike got a nap. 6

    Happy to see Kalulu back. He was up the field in those clever ways reminiscent of two seasons ago. When I imagine a starting pair of Tomorri and Gabbia with Kalulu for change of pace and rotation I am puzzled by the reported interest we have in other CBs. (I also think Thiaw in that rotation is exciting, I just think he needs more seasoning). I hope we are looking at a deputy for Theo instead.

    Chuk. I continue to hope, but I didn’t see enough improvement to want to give him more time at the expense of OK4.

    Musah was great to see off the bench in such a situation and I hope to see more. Needs a bit more work on pass accuracy and seasoning as well. But he showed flashes again of the DM we need (just not yet alas)

    I’d have loved to see more goals as a reward for the quality team game we played. But that was a nice 3 points to watch us earn with many positive signs!

    1. Good analysis. I enjoyed this matched too. More goals would have been better but this match was a solid win. We got players more minutes and I was glad to see Musah back on the pitch. His passing needs work but he works hard on defense and can carry the ball forward better than our other midfielders.

    2. Good analysis and i like that you have noticed the partnership of the right side.

      Calabria has been missing that good partner at RW for some time now…

      Puli’s performance has been like this for weeks/months, however, he wasn’t “outshined” by Leao today. I am really happy for his signature as we got a bargain on both him and RLC

    3. Reinjders passes safe but also after taking about 5 touches!

      If you’re going to pass safely (or otherwise) you have to do it quicker.

      Our midfield holds onto the ball far too long. Adli is the slowest followed by Reinjders, then Musah (who if he doesn’t manage to dribble past a player finds himself doing turns in the corner before hitting a panicked clearance), followed by Bennacer.

      Pobega and RLC and a certain former player from Bosnia are the most efficient with the ball.

  14. Much improved attitude and energy after the last couple of games.
    Still it was too close for comfort at the end, we need to be putting these games to bed.
    Empoli were very poor.

    Calabria – I thought made a lot of mistakes

    Reijnders – was very good
    Bennacer – just still not got his mojo back yet
    RLC – Invisible 1st half, much better in the 2nd when the game opened up. He’d be a good super sub, not starter

    Pulisic – was excellent
    Okafor – very bright and will improve with minutes. He can use both feet, score and assist and has pace.

    Jovic- just couldn’t get into the game

    Chucky – looked awful again , tho did well with his shot
    Musah – You gotta love this kid, he is so good at running through teams, I want to see much more of him. That no-look back heel flick (hard to describe) was Ronaldinho – esque

    1. Musah I think can and will offer a lot more to this team. I think he will definitely start to break through a lot more for this team.

      Definitely not a disruptive signing by any means lol.

      1. There is a section of the fan base wanting Calabria out which blows my mind. He was our best defender vs Empoli.

        1. What is it with people who can’t accept criticism, without saying there is some agenda?

          Please, when have i criticized Calabria or want him out?

          I just noticed he gave away a lot of balls early on and missed some good chances.
          Have no problem with him, just didn’t think it was a good game for him

          1. If you can’t see the agenda then you’re blind.

            What balls did he give away and what were his missed chances?

            He was/is our best defender.

          2. @ Maldinis Heir

            Obviously I can’t show you a replay but here are the stats if that helps

            Lost possession – 9 times (only Bennacer, Pulisic and Okafor lost more, with the latter 2 being attackers, so that’s understandable)
            Shots off target – 2
            Big chances missed – 1

  15. I have nothing to complain about today. This match was difficult because playing a relegation candidate team is never easy especially to the conclusion of the season. But the team kept at it in the 1st half but the tempo dropped in the 2nd half.

    I’ll reserve my complaining for Thursday 😅

  16. Congrats to the team, we played well, 1st half was about 74% possession, I think the movement was more of the fact that we attacked their box, Leao plays too wide unlike Okafor who doubles up as a 2nd striker in the box, Pulisic crossed many times today, don’t know why he doesn’t do much of that when Giroud is on the pitch with him, Calabria was good only defensively as many times other players are blamed when they don’t get the great final balls, he wasted too many runs & chances but stopped cambiaghi all day long, felt kalulu should have come in for him not tomori as the defence became a little bit exposed when tomori left, thiaw only plays well as RCB, fumbles any time he drifts the the left, Adli did play well in the few minutes he came on, added confidence in our hold up play, so did Musah. Chucks showed he would be dangerous if he drifted more into the centre of the box that on the wings where he’s so predictable, every player did well & despite the fact that Empoli is so low in the table, they are a decent side especially since with when Niang & their new coach came.
    The defensive errors are not solely on Pioli, what’s bonera’s job? The team played well & though it was a scrappy win, we needed it at this time. Pioli should deploy more tactical changes to avoid our team being studied b4 every match

  17. Juve drew 2-2 so we remain in second point ahead of them.

    Anyways, I’ll reiterate still was a very good performance against a resistant and stubborn team. Empoli isn’t a walk over.

  18. I think it’s pretty clear people are fed up with the toxic footballinity on this site – at this point I want Pioli out too just so I never have to hear that again. Against Slavia I was depressed because we played badly against 10 men – and are only 2-0 up which is a dangerous score to take to Prague. Today I’ll take the win without complaining that we didn’t play like Brazil circa 1970.

    1. I’m sad to tell you this, but people will still find something to complain about with a new coach too 🙂 It’s the way here.

      Agreed about Thursday. Nervous times ahead on Thursday. Need lions VS lions otherwise we’ll get dumped out on Thursday

    2. Have you seen the old footage of the 1970s World Cup!

      The games were so slow it was ridiculous.

      (The humidity was ridiculous in fairness)

      PS I love the term ‘toxic footballinity’!

      1. The humidity was insane, the games were played in very high altitudes (as high as 2600m for some !!). Most teams didn’t plan very well for that during those days and the games were played in Mexico during the summer during mid-day !!
        I know 60s and 70s football was slower than today, but I think you can excuse the 1970 World Cup.

    3. Oh please by all means leave.

      This is a forum for fans to express opinions about the game, that usually includes positive/negative comments, as most teams never play the perfect game!

      Are you new to football?
      Probably from the USA and just started following Milan since Pulisic arrived, there are a lot of those here

    4. @dejan10 can’t believe I’m agreeing with u these days haha 😂 “at this point I want Pioli out too just so I never have to hear that again.” Same thing I said about Krunic in the summer lol 😂🤣🤣
      It’s really sad to see ppl eating up this Pioliout mantra. Unless a clear and distinct upgrade comes, people are going to miss these current times. Grass isn’t always greener I’d say enjoy it. I’m scarred by banter era unfortunately, waking up at 6am to see Mesbah play? No thanks, I’m EXTREMELY happy with the current team and coach

      1. Good for you I guess.
        While I’m thankful to him for the scudetto, I’d like to see a team more hungry to win, that’s not pretty much guarantee to lose against Inter in every single encounter and that can actually win many titles, not just a single scudetto a be happy with it for the rest of my life.
        Is there a risk that the new coach will simply not succeed ? Absolutely, but to each change there is a risk with it, there is no coach that can guarantee a title, but if the argument is not to change because we might lose our top 4 position, then we might actually never make progress.

        1. Yea we’re potentially giving up a top 4 spot and that’s not trivial. I dont oppose a new coach but I also don’t see why a change is needed. It’s really figuring out injuries and getting a DM 🤷‍♂️
          We play well with a full team. But to undo all of that because of what exactly? We don’t like the bore draws or wins?! Is that really it!? Because we’ll get bore draws and wins with Motta and Conte, I can assure you that. The names being touted don’t seem to me that they’ll do vastly better with the current team.

          1. We’ve already established that with ot without Pioli the team needs a DM and probably one or two other players.
            The problem with pioli is while he’s capable of keeping us in this top4-2 spot, when we try to step up we fail miserably. Inter, Atalanta have owned us and against other big teams we lose “tactically”.
            I’d like to see Milan win a scudetto and an UCL againt and with Pioli that’s simply not going to happen.
            As for the style, I really don’t care. As long as we win, I don’t care if it’s 4-0 with 80% possession or 1-0 while parking the bus.

  19. Why are some people complaining? We did well today. See, without Rafa, getting more goals isn’t so easy. But Pulisic was superb (MOTM, no doubt) and won the game for us, with a fabulous assist from Okafor who had one of his best games for Milan. Reijnders was good, Tomori was very good. Calabria didn’t compromise the defense. Thiaw was shaky. Chuk lost balls, spoiled attacks, but did have one good play and shot which was unfortunately saved by the goalie. L-C was good, and Bennacer is getting slowly back to form. So, the midfield did well today. Theo was a bit lost without Rafa. Jovic was discreet and so was Giroud. Musah did well, entered well in the game. We didn’t sweat too much and had no injuries, so this bodes well for Thursday.

  20. Huge win and great team display, they looked so much more balanced and on the same page than recent weeks. Loved seeing Kalulu back! He has such great vision and brings a confidence to the backline that is amazing for someone so young. He reminds me of T. Silva. Oka4 really looks great, considering this is his first year at a big club and the lack of minutes he’s had, he looks to have the Milan DNA and heart. He lost out on some dribbles but each time he tracked back and often won the ball back or at least prevent a quick counter, his crosses were also pretty consistent at that back post. Puli again looking like a fantastic buy, really all the new signings played well today even though we’re all desperate to see more from Chuck, that’s really the biggest question right now. It’s really hurting the team’s flexibility b/c it prevents Puli from playing as the out & out CAM. Big game Thursday, hopefully Puli continues his strong form and our midfield can perform like this again. I think Musa has found his niche for now as he develops, coming in with fresh legs when the other team is tired really suits his abilities right now. Forza Milan!

  21. Is it just me or is Calabria the best 1v1 defender on planet earth right now?

    As a former full back he is an absolute joy to watch. And I am not saying that because I am biased (which I am). I want to grow old with the guy.

    Theo’s great and all but not in the pure full back sense.

    1. It’s 100% just you. He’s not even the best RB on this team right now. Florenzi has outplayed him this season.
      Aside from him being caught out of position a lot and struggling against players with pace, he also offers very little going forward. Look at the balls Florenzi delivers in vs Calabria’s crosses which usually just Balloon up in the air.
      Other than that he’ll make a decent backup

      1. It’s 100% that he’s a youth player and the current ‘Fans Favourite for an Upgrade’.

        But seriously he’s literally marked the best and fastest players out of games, and only has one less assist than Florenzi (and the latter is a former attacker!).

        I’d take Calabria any day over Florenzi for his defensive solidity and also the fact he moves the ball quicker.

        1. Please don’t compare Calabria to Florenzi in a footballing sense. They’re miles apart in terms of technique.

          I don’t mind having Calabria in there against teams with dangerous left wingers, but your stats about having one less assist go to show you that stats don’t mean anything a lot of the time. Florenzi has world class delivery, up there with Trippier and Alexander Arnold.

          1. Oh sorry for bringing up assists…I know people don’t like actual results around here….

            FYI Calabria has 21 assists for Milan and Florenzi has 5!

            And anyone who has watched Milan for the past few seasons will have seen Calabria hit in some amazing crosses.

            Unless that is of course they have a dislike for our youth products and big up players we signed from elsewhere…..

            Which seems to be the norm around here.

            Such loyalty.

        2. The site wouldn’t allow me to reply to your most recent comment, so I replied to this one.

          You are showing your ignorance to the sport of football if you think Calabria and Florenzi are at all close in terms of technique / crossing ability. I suggest you keep that stuff to yourself, or you’ll lose even more credibility on this site.

  22. I’ve always liked Kalulu so glad to see him back as well although it seems it will now be at the expense of Gabbia who will be frozen out again.

    Okafor could be the perfect player to play across the front – LW, CF, RW, Second Striker.

    It would guarantee him 30 plus games a season most and a huge amount of playing time.

    This is what we need to really build DEPTH. It’s not numbers, it’s seamlessly bringing in players to cover which can only happen when the same players are utilised across positions.

  23. Wait what, rlc good today? He was awful. You are smoking crack, the bad stuff too. Pulisic decisive again. Best signing by far.

  24. We were moving the ball around a lot faster which is what we should be doing. Giroud must be swearing on the bench seeing the number of crosses the team were whipping in.

    Let’s hope we continue against Slavia!

    1. That’s what irritated me as well, they never play so many crosses in the box with Giroud up front yet they did with Jović and Okafor in the box who are not really tall players. Okafor is a good player but Giroud would bury at least one from crosses delivered to Okafor yesterday.

      1. Yeah it was noticeable how we lacked an aerial presence (despite RLC being on the pitch).
        That’s when u would like to see some better approach play, into feet

      2. “Okafor is a good player but Giroud would bury at least one from crosses delivered to Okafor yesterday.”

        But in all fairness, Giroud would have scored a hat trick from crosses delivered BY Okafor yesterday.

  25. Congratulations to Milan, just keep winning so we finish 2nd place because the league is going to inter already, we need to win the Europa League atleast

  26. Holy f*** Thiaw was on a mission to gift them a goal! If Kjaer had many such disastrous mistakes he would have been crusified. Again. Kalulu & Thiaw together was like begging Empoli to score a goal or two. Did you see the cornerkick where Destro was unmarked? How on Earth was that even possible? Even a slightly better team would have taken advantage of the gifts Thiaw presented and scored at least twice. We were EXTREMELY lucky it was Empoli (and Destro) and not e.g. Lazio & Immobile.

    Tomori. Gabbia. Kjaer. Simic. Hernandez. Kalulu. Thiaw.

    That’s how our CBs should be ranked/played. The last two gives us zero guarantees.

    1. Yeah, Thiaw has been bad. In his defense, he’s been out most of the year and probably hasn’t developed his rhythm yet, but he has also had issues in the past. He’s kind of turning out to be the new Musacchio. Despite the injuries I’ve kept thinking that we didn’t really need another CB, but the last couple of weeks have been changing my mind.

      1. Yeah, people are willing to give him some slack due to the injury but he was like this even before his break. He has cost us many points in the past. And will continue to do so in the future too.

        1. Yes, Thiaw was terrible this season before the injury. It has nothing to do with his fitness, it’s his understanding of the game. He makes bad decisions and worse, he doesn’t learn from them and repeats the same mistakes. I trust him the least out of all our CBs.

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