Player Ratings: AC Milan 1-0 Torino – Thiaw the MOTM; midfield struggles

By Isak Möller -

AC Milan finally managed to put an end to their negative trend as they beat Torino 1-0 at San Siro this evening. It was a much-needed confidence boost and down below are the player ratings for the Rossoneri. 

Starting XI

Tatarusanu (6.5): It was a good game by the Romanian who made a couple of very good saves to deny Torino the first goal. He was also decent in the air and made no real mistakes.

Kalulu (6.5): A solid display from the Frenchman with an extra bit of flair as he should have got a wonderful outside-of-the-boot assist. His compatriot Theo Hernandez missed the great chance, though, which we’ll get to later.

Kjaer (6): He did enough to salvage a pass as he did win many duels out there tonight. However, he made an error that almost cost Milan a lot, losing his footing as the last man of the defence.

Thiaw (7 – MOTM): Great game from the youngster who once again showed why he should be a starter for this team. Even in the tough duels, he remained calm and was able to come out on top. He also drove forward with the ball more than one time successfully.

Saelemaekers (6.5): It sounds harsh on the captain, Calabria that is, but the Belgian was a breath of fresh air on the right flank. The wing-back role really suits him and that showed both in defence and attack tonight.

Krunic (5): I’ve praised him for his simplicity in the past, but today it was just simplicity in the shape of back passes. He was too slow on the ball and barely dared anything attacking-wise.

Tonali (5): Just like his colleague, the passing wasn’t really there and the presence was lacking especially in the first half. Granted that Torino are a physical side, Tonali needed to do a lot better.

Hernandez (6.5): It would have been a higher rating if it hadn’t been for the previously mentioned miss (he only needed it to be on target to score). Aside from that, he was a lot more present tonight and it was a wonderful cross for the winner.

Diaz (6): He had quite a few good moments but also several ones where he took too many touches. If he can be just a tiny bit more effective, such as passing the ball quicker, then he will be a great player to have in the XI.

Giroud (7): He probably would have been the MOTM if it hadn’t been for a shocking first half. It seemed like he failed to bring down every single ball in the first half and the flicks certainly didn’t come off. But he improved in the second and it was a trademark header to win the game, which ultimately was crucial.

Leao (6.5): It’s clear that he must start for Milan as even when the situation is tough, such as in the first half, he’s able to at least create something in attack.


Gabbia (6): An okay display from the youngster but not much more than that. Certainly enough to earn a pass as he did what was necessary.

De Ketelaere (N/A): He came on in the 78th minute and, unfortunately, it was not the type of game for him. In fact, we didn’t really see anything of him.

Origi (N/A): He didn’t play enough to get a rating.

Calabria (N/A): He didn’t play enough to get a rating.

Pobega (N/A): He didn’t play enough to get a rating.

Tags AC Milan AC Milan Player Ratings Malick Thiaw Olivier Giroud Torino


  1. I hate to say this as an admitted fanboy but Tonali has been no better than bang average this season and sometimes downright unwatchable. I thought he could replace Kessie and I was wrong. I really hope he improves.

    1. It’s insane to give him same rating as Krunic who was much better on the ball and at least was able to draw fouls in the opponents half and pass the ball to his own teammates.

      1. Krunic was eh for me I do get where you’re coming from and I agree he was better than Tonali but that still doesn’t mean much with the state Tonali is in

    2. Finally people are starting to realize what I’ve been saying ( and getting criticized for) all along. Tonali is just not good enough. He is a mediocre player at best. He can’t pass well and he doesn’t do enough defensively to justify a starting spot. I would like to see Vranckx get a start next to Bennacer and find out what he can offer.

      1. Don’t agree with Tonali being a mediocre player. He’s the top 5 of our highest market value players, and that alone should tell us something. Agree on Tonali not being his best self this season. I think it’s also because the tactical decision or implementation so far this season.

        If you remember, last season Tonali was very versatile on his position on the field. In one game he could sit very deep in defence and in the other game he played more offensive role on the other half (even slightly more to the right position, vs. Lazio where he scored couple of goals).

        Surely that’s because Pioli’s instruction. And it’s one of the things made us champion last season. We can see different set play each game. We’re very versatile. Something that somehow vanished on thin air this season.

        While this season, Tonali is always in this unclear 50-50 position. His position and role is just too similar with Benny. The same way when I said in our first game this season about how similar Tomori and Pierre on the field was. Sometimes I wonder who’s responsible for this and who’s responsible for that in the field. And that hurts his game.

    3. Spot on! Tonali just not fit in two man midfield, he more to gattuso with set piece attributes rather than pirlo. he will be fit in 3 man midfield as a mezzala with bennacer as deep playmaker & vrancx or pobega to the other side.

      However I think it is more to mentality block, like I dont know what the hell happen to leao, looks like the soul of confidence is taken from him.

      We need someone who can boost morale in the room

    4. I’ll admit it too that I thought Tonali could remain on his last season’s level but boy was I wrong. He has been truly awful all season – there’s no denying. But he’s not the only one so there is still hope he can improve once the others do that too. Hope it’s not too late for him to rescue the season as we’re lacking so badly in the midfield area.

  2. Ragazzi let’s continue like this, the second half performance was a breath of fresh air considering the last month and Thiaw? What a player it’s about time Pioli utilized one of his new players and there you have it he definitely gave us a different dimension to our defense with his stature and he is just quite simply a great defender now. Flops for me are kjaer, Leão, Tonali and Krunic and in terms of Pioli if I may criticise something it’s leaving the subs so late for me Diaz needed to come off earlier for CDK so I’d like to still see Pioli give CDK some proper time on the pitch but besides that good job from the team and Pioli lets continue on this path

  3. Krunic deserves at least a 6 while Tonali deserves a 4.

    But this is a big three point which hopefully it can be a big mental booster for Milan.

  4. Hopefully, this win will help the team to get out of the psychological funk they have been in since they gave up 2 goals in 5 minutes vs. Roma.
    But it wasn’t a pretty game. Besides few counter attacks we did nothing offensively. Our midfield is a major issue.
    Some fans wanna use Tonali as an example that we need patience with CDK, but Tonali this year is actually worse than he was in his 1st season at Milan. In his 1st season he couldn’t make the simplest of passes but at least he looked good defensively next to Kessie.
    This season he still can’t make the simplest of passes and is awful defensively.
    Central midfielder would be my top priority in the summer. Our midfield for most of the 1st half was outplayed by some kid that played his 1st game. If you can’t control the middle of the park it doesn’t matter who you got up top. That’s why I still don’t understand Maldini insistence to sign Zaniolo in January.
    Good games by Tata, Thiaw, Kalulu, Saelemakers, Theo and Giroud(2nd half)
    Krunic, Tonali, Kjaer, Leao and Brahim were not good

    1. I agree with all of this TBH. While I think RW should be our top priority in the off-season since we have NOONE there, a strong commanding central midfielder is no. 2.

  5. Win and clean-sheet. Can’t get any better than that in our current situation. This was a HUGE win for us against a tricky opponent. Probably was our last chance to get out of the crisis.

    Thiaw should start matches, while Diaz can’t go back to Madrid soon enough.

  6. Leao 6.5 ygbkm he was really bad constantly whining at players he tried to pass to when he missed them by a distance. He should get max 4.

    Tonali today was deffo not more than a 4. Shocking display I hope he gets his confidence back soon.

    Brahim just tooo weak and indecisive to be playing such an imortant role in this formation.

    Sorry but really poor ratings lads. Content is getting poorer by the day

  7. Finally a win and clean sheet at last! Although we were still far from good it was an improvement. I truly don’t like the 3 defence but if we play it more like the second half instead of playing 7 defence in the first than maybe it could be beneficial.

    One has to ask, why hasn’t thiaw been given more games? He was a breath of fresh air. Winning every header, felt so confident on set pieces with him back there. Made great tackles and runs too. That’s saelemaekers best position for sure. Don’t want him too far up to screw things up and he runs hard and contributes. Theo too looked more like his usual self. Kjaer, tonali, krunic, and leao all looked off still. Leao showed glimpses of his old self but overall horrible touches, horrible reading and not a good night. Winning is a sign of improvement, especially against this team who have made us suffer all season. Hopefully build ton that for champions League!

  8. So Thiaw is man of the match eh? But he’s not supposed to be ready!! Why’s the coach gambling and playing Thiaw? He should have left Kjaer on and started Gabbia instead. And please keep playing Calabria the Italian Cafu along with Krunic and Diaz. Of course you’re the coach and we fans know nothing because our opinions are always driven by sentiment. 🙂

  9. People who are thinking that this result gets us out of the spiral we are in are not watching too closely. This was another bad performance by most of the players. Dominated in the first half. This team can’t put two passes together. It’s embarrassing. They act like they’ve never faced a high press before. As soon as they get it they just kick it back to the other team. Leao has not been himself. I know Giroud scored the header but besides that he was awful the entire game. Tonali is completely useless. If someone can explain to me what he offers the team, I would love to hear it. The one positive was Thiaw, hopefully he continues this way. They were better in the second half but if they play this same way next week Tottenham is going to embarrass us. It will be ugly.
    And F Pioli for not putting Ibra in the game.

    1. I largely disagree with your assessment. While offensively they created little, they were far more solid defensively (largely due to Thiaw who was everywhere) and showed signs of progress. Sure, they may still get mailed by Tottenham but I don’t think you can call this performance bad. Torino, while not a great team, aren’t a terrible team either.

    2. Winning off a bad performance is just what is needed, in fact it is the hallmark of a good team. Milan won many games 1-0 last season when we could have easily lost. The idea is to build on the performance and regain confidence.

    3. “This team can’t put two passes together. It’s embarrassing.”

      Milan are not a team. Just watch any other team play, they run together, they defend together, they attack together. They even pass the ball to each other. Milan-players TRY to do everything as individuals. And fail. They need to start passing the ball quicker and helping the teammates.

      I counted faaar too many awkward passes near the sideline where the teammate was trying to catch the poor pass but failed and let it cross the sideline. Many, many times. Everything in football starts with passing. And the level of passing in Milan is absolutely horrible.

  10. Tonali should be playing deep and Krunic further up a switch of place might bring some needed improvement and they should be supported with Pobega who always push upwards to support the forwards cos that’s the position he played while with Torino.Diaz Diaz still not helping

    1. I agree. Although bennacer is our best progressive passer from midfield I think tonali should be the one right in front of the defense, Regista or whatever, as I remember him at brescia was great at long ball passing, and were really missing that when tomori comes back and kjaer goes to the bench. Think bennacer should be a mezzala in a 3 man midfield with tonali deeper or the deeper of a midfield tandem, bennacer higher up. Think this could be the best use of tonali and get his mojo back, becuz as much as this site overrates him on player ratings, he is a quality player

  11. Don’t get too excited guys, this was a bad performance bailed out by 1 great pass and header. Otherwise trash. Good stuff from Thiaw. Gabbia should be in for Kjaer. Just start the people who have a chance to be important for us in the future.

    1. Since Benna went out our mifield hss been crap. Tonali needs to rest or somehing cause he can’t do much right. His passing and decision making was really bad up until the goal. I think the whole team was horrible the first half. This was thanks to a bad game plan. We need to be the pressing side. I think Pioli made that clear at half time and the team went out and changes the game in the second. I feel one of the big things that happened in second was that Giroud started playing as he should. He started bringing the ball down and taking is in calmly and passing it backwards instead of trying to make a flick on or getting a head on it to maybe find Leao or whatever. This way we could establish play higher up in the field snd not fall back down immediatly. Then they could establish a pressing game, making Torino make mistakes instead of us making mistakes. We had at least three good chances this game which is far better than many previous games. Not letting in a goal right at the beginning helped the team be a bit calmer and get into the game. I feel we need to play like this against Tottenham. They sre not good at driving a game on their own. If we let them have the ball and press hard we will be able to counter them instead of letting them counter us with their fast players. We need s strong midfield to keep tabs on Kane who is so much better than Giroud at building play up top. Thanks for the points guys! Let’s build on this!! Forza Milan!

  12. Kalulu-Thiaw-Tomori-Theo. That’s it period. The rest are bench players – Calabria, Gabbia, Kajer. We can really see how much Kessie helped Tonali who has been poor all season. He cannot anchor the mid by himself and needs to be surrounded by a player like Benny or Kessie. Pls play Aster. Give the kid a chance. We were dominated in the mid once again. Happy for Giroud but playing him 88min with CL in 3 days is a bit unwise. Overall a poor game and we probably;y didn’t deserve to win – but a win is a win and it was much needed. Still don’t see what Diaz offers pls do not spend big $ on the career backup player

    1. Some people thinks they are a genius football manager just because they played FM or FIFA with their fantasy team.

      That’s why they complaining because they only want to see fantasy football. They don’t give a Fvck for this good result nor appreciate how Milan players and coach workin really hard to rectify their bad results from last month.

  13. First half nothing in attack. Leao is a shadow of himself. Giroud got no service. The defense is better thanks to Thiaw, and Calabria getting benched finally. Tonali could be replaced by a pole and our midfield would actually improve. Diaz is just too tiny to be a professional player unless he had Messi’s skills but he just runs into opponents and loses the ball. CDK is the amazing invisible man, no matter whether he starts or subs in for a few minutes. We can’t rely on Theo every time to make a great run or cross, that’s not a strategy. Happy about the 3 points but we were still pretty terrible overall.

  14. At this point Pioli should realise that Tonali is not Pirlo, he’s Gattuso, let him play like Rino FFS. He isn’t a elegant midfielder. Stop trying to push the narrative. Let him just chase and break up play.

  15. I think the dude need some time to rest likewise Oli, Theo, Rade, calabri and Tonali.The coach just have to use some players like Bakayoko, Adli, and so on, sub them to know their qualities. But the coach is not doing that.playing a particular set of players every day is worry some try something need pioli.How i wish he can read my message. He is killing the talent in this young dude.They are doing great in the respective club why buying them if u won’t sub or play them.Look at the like of Hauge and so on.Pls if u won’t play them send them on lone.The only time u will see pioli make changes is when he loses the key players to injuring.This is not fair.As a coach u just have to channels your brain.

  16. Finally Thiaw starts, Tonali on the bench in his place Wranicx, Diaz should of be replaced on half time with CDK, and to give Giroud same chanse to take breath Origi as starter. Calabria, Gabbia and Kajer should stay on the bench. Yesterday game was for Diaz to shine (his position in the formation), but he is not good enough and certainly not worth 20+ millions.

  17. Honestly, if you guys still believe in this Diaz is done. That guy is crap… His more of an individual performance not a team player, which cost a lot on the team, unnecessarily shooting and dribbling, he was one of the major problems for losing that inter-game when he received a good passed instead of him to passed to ball to a very clean chance he was forcing himself to shoot. His touches is even worst… The only he does is to fall when is marked…. Just win an unnecessary free kick. Even Daniel Maldini play more of team football than him…. Please try watch the two players and compare them, Daniel will never shoot unnecessarily. Milan should not buy that guy….. Since how many years now… He still not clicked or what? That guy can only develop in a small club I mean Diaz.

  18. Seems M&M were right on Thiaw. If that idiot Pioli gave chances to Vranx, Adli, CDK and the players from the Primavera, we wouldn’t be in this mess. Going forward, we must bring in a coach who will use the Primavera players. Cubois, El-Hilali and Traore will offer more than garbage like Krunic, Pobega and Origi.

  19. I’m sorry, you guys are WAAAAAY to nice with Leao. His performance was not at his level. He wasn’t really there for half of the game. He’s not working for the squad. We need him 100%, not… 45% like in this game. I’m starting to understand why Pioli benched him on the derby for the first 50 minutes.

    1. You’re right, but the problem is, even at 45% he can produce a single deciding move that the others are simply incapable of.

      Milan can’t do without that currently.

    2. You’re talking about a coach who is slow to integrate new players, keeps playing his pets (Diaz, Pobega, Kjar and Krunic) and won’t use the Primavera. He got the maximum out of the squad and implement a system of play but he’s not capable of taking the team forward.

    3. Why bother? Everyone knows he’s not the superstar people would like him to be (and attack anyone who criticizes him). He’s just not that interested in… Well, anything. Smack some will power, desire, commitment into his ass (see Haaland or even Zlatan) and he’d be awesome and unstoppable. But he doesn’t care and development has stalled/stopped.

  20. 6 for Kjaer and 6 for diaz??are you kidding me?those 2 were a menace just as Tonali that lately is nowhere.Kjaer just like in the games against inter he almost cost us the match again.Many sources are saying that the management is thinking buying diaz,what in the name of all mighty power of the univers makes them to do such a thing?That spinner is not build for italian football or for european football,he is just like a child trying to make it in the men league,after every duel shoulder to shoulder he starts crying at the referee .Let him stay in Spain he may have a chance there!What it takes pioli to give a real chance to Adli???

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