Pulisic provides reliability, Tomori and Thiaw return: All the key stats from Milan-Empoli

By Ben Dixon -

AC Milan’s victory against Empoli was vital for the Rossoneri’s standings in the Serie A table, as it means they have overtaken Juventus for second place. However, it was not the most enjoyable game on the eye. 

Expectedly, Milan were on top for the majority of the game but struggled to turn their dominance into goals, and this showed in the decisive goal itself. The goal was deserved and well-worked, but the finish itself needed some luck to reach the back of the net.

However, the Rossoneri had earned that luck and through the game, they continued to prove that, if that was the decisive goal, the result was fair, even if the scoreline could and, perhaps should, have been more.

So, with that in mind, let’s dive into some of the key stats from the game.

Overall Stats

As mentioned in the introduction, Milan expectedly dominated the game, having 62% of the ball – a drop of 18% from the first half, which is to be expected given the visitors were chasing the game. Despite their control of the ball, the Rossoneri were unable to create more than one big chance, which could be seen as a concern in the future.

On the flip side, whilst Empoli lacked quality, the Diavolo limited them to only one big chance, which they failed to score from. Furthermore, the fact that the opposition only had five shots in the game shows the defensive quality that was on display by the hosts.

The most important stat of all, though, is the scoreline. The Rossoneri delivered a home victory and a clean sheet in a game they had to win, which has taken them to second place. Cliché, yes, but these are the games you must win, and Milan did just that.

Thiaw and Tomori return together

As mentioned, Milan kept a clean sheet, and whilst neither had to do anything remarkable to earn that clean sheet, the Rossoneri looked much more assured with the duo at the back, again for the first time in 103 days.

Additionally, given neither will be fully back to their best due to a lack of game sharpness, delivering a clean sheet after so long without playing together is a really promising sign of what is to come.

Clutch-stian Pulisic strikes again

After arriving in the summer, there were some areas of uncertainty regarding what role Pulisic would play, but, it is safe to say that he is one of Stefano Pioli’s most prominent and reliable players, and he has been all season.

With Rafael Leao suspended, the reigns and responsibility of leading the attack were given to Pulisic, and as he has shown several times this season, he is Milan’s Mr. Reliable. Scoring decisive goals has almost become his trademark at this point, and with 14 contributions, it is firmly his best season to date.

Pioli strikes gold with his midfield concoction

When a game goes how Sunday’s does, it is often the midfield which is the deciding factor in a result. Tijjani Reijnders and Ismael Bennacer’s showings fit that bill.

The duo were superb against Empoli in every department necessary, and there is now a large amount of optimism for the future of the midfield for a plethora of reasons.

Starting with Bennacer, he had 118 touches of the ball, almost double the amount of touches made by Empoli’s central defensive partnership. Additionally, he was responsible for the pre-assist for the winning goal, as he dispatched a lovely 20-metre pass to release Noah Okafor.

Given he is still not 100% back to his best due to his streak of injuries, displays like this can be appreciated, and it is a sign that he is quickly getting back to his best.

The Ying to Bennacer’s Yang is Reijnders. As we touched on earlier, the duo are incredible, both in their roles and their partners, and Reijnders’ showing was a perfect example of this. On Thursday, he was deployed as the more attacking of the two midfielders, whereas against Empoli, he was the more defensive-minded of the pair, and yet, the story is the same. He led by example and did superbly.

Given this is his first season in Serie A, performances like Sunday’s and his consistent leadership showings are admired, and he will continue to get better as he further acclimatises to his role and his surroundings.

Tags AC Milan Milan Empoli


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