Player Ratings: AC Milan 1-2 Napoli – Giroud crucial; Dest disasterclass

By Isak Möller -

AC Milan failed to keep their unbeaten run alive this evening as Napoli once again came away with all three points from San Siro. Down below are the player ratings for the Rossoneri. 

Starting XI

Maignan (6): A solid display from the goalkeeper as he made a few good saves and couldn’t do that much about the goals. It wasn’t a good penalty from Politano, but it’s one of those that are tough to save anyway (between arm and leg area).

Calabria (6.5): He did get carded but it was still a bit strange that Pioli took him off at half-time. He lost one duel against Kvaratskhelia but he also won one convincingly, and the one he lost he made sure to give the winger a tough angle.

Kjaer (6): A good display from him, nothing spectacular though. He was carded after a rash challenge and in his case, it made more sense to take him off.

Tomori (6): Lost Simeone completely on the goal, although it was a very smart movement from the striker and those crosses are generally hard to defend. A case could be made that the midfielders should have been more present too.

Hernandez (7): It’s hard to complain about his display when he did almost everything right in both phases of the game. Got a lovely assist for Giroud and should have had a hockey assist if it hadn’t been for Kalulu’s miss.

Bennacer (6.5): He won a lot of balls for Milan and helped keep the press up towards the end of the game. Arguably a very important player for Milan, even if he wasn’t always spot on tonight.

Tonali (6): A good match for the youngster who remains the bridge between attack and midfield, asserting himself above all in the defensive phase.

Saelemaekers (6): One can understand why Pioli brought him off but the Belgian actually started the game well and managed to combine with his teammates. He faded a bit, though, which was the cause of the sub.

De Ketelaere (6.5): It doesn’t always look like he’s that involved in the play but his smart movement and ability to read the game is shining through. Was involved in Milan’s goal and taking him off at that point of the game was questionable.

Krunic (6): He looked really good in the first half, creating a couple of chances and also getting on the end of a few (forcing the goalkeeper to saves). He didn’t have the same success in the second half, though.

Giroud (7.5 – MOTM): It certainly didn’t look like this was his seventh (!) consecutive game from start. He was really important as a focal point and won plenty of duels, creating chances for his teammates. Got a goal and also should have had an assist.


Dest (5): A disasterclass from the American, truth be told, as he caused the penalty with a rash tackle and didn’t really add anything when going forward.

Kalulu (5.5): He did his job in the defence but he missed a sitter for Milan in the dying minutes. It’s almost harder to hit the bar there than to hit the target, it was truly a shocking miss.

Messias (5.5): He started well with a nice effort but then failed to assert himself in the game with several questionable decisions.

Diaz (6.5): A very positive display from him as he came on and changed the game, involved in Milan’s goal with a nice flick. With more time it could have been a higher rating for sure.

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

Tags AC Milan Napoli Olivier Giroud Sergino Dest


      1. Poor Dest. As a new player, this heavy game, where experience sometimes worth more than individual skill, clearly got the better of him. But clearly not fair to say he’ll be like that for the rest of season.

        1. Definetly young and new to the team for these kind of games. Hope he learns from this and gets better. If he doesnt, he gets back to where he came from. Loan player.

  1. Can’t wait to see how guys like shiva justifies Dest’s inclusion this match

    after writing an essay about how bad Calabria is, he ended up being the one who kept Kvaratskhelia quiet

  2. Milan was dominating Napoli.
    They moved the ball and created chances with ease. They probably created more great scoring chances in this game than any other game this season. Giroud several, Krunic, Messias and Kalulu missed great opportunities.
    Anyway I think the difference in the game was Calabria’s yellow card 10 seconds before halftime. He was great until that point.
    Painful loss

      1. My guy, Leao isn’t nowhere near a great finisher. He misses a lot of chances and doesn’t score a lot either.
        Leao FC fans might not like it but Leao wasn’t missed today.
        Milan offense was in a great flow, just the finishing was missing.
        2 defensive mistakes lost the game ,not Leao’s absence.

        1. Theo played the best game of the season now that he didn’t have to defend for two. He created several great scoring chances that others should have converted (although Giroud did once).

        2. We needed Leo in the game, in the transfer market, we could no sign any goal scorers, we only have couple of old men and injury promt player, now tell me if Olivia his injured, no hope anymore.
          We used Leo for every single match as our playmaker, no solid winger nor striker.

        3. You’re unbelievable. Leao 3 goals and 3 assists and a penalty earned in 6 matches this season. Enough said. Maybe you need to come off the Leao hate train.

        4. @Z
          Dont you know already? Leao is a saint and can do no wrong! How can you tell the truth about him NOT being a great finisher when you are in the church of st. Leao. The mob will not allow it!

  3. Pioli ruined this game when he took off Kjaer and Calabria at the half. Milan had been dominating the game until that point. Anytime someone gets a yellow card we are taking them out of the game now? Is that what we are doing?
    Also, a 6 for Saleamakers… he was terrible. And De Ketalere has been a disappointment.

    1. Kjaer and Calabria already booked. But Calabria got replaced because he’s injured.

      Alexis played well and Milan goal was born from CDK pass.

          1. K u negative Milan fan when players are booked u don’t let them get red u have to sub and Kalulu is great player and Dest was also doing good before it just didn’t work today how Pioli fault u dumb

    2. Kosso, you don’t know what you are talking about. Many players stay in and finish with a yellow card, especially experienced players like Kjaer and Calabria. Theo was yellow carded 10 minutes into the game against Inter and he finished the game.

      1. Because there was no proper back up Pioli thought Kalulu and Dest can do good if u read my point above also I mentioned also ur point is valid but I was talking about this situation specifically np happens.

  4. Dest.. what a horror show. No character. Ran like a headless chicken. 0 football IQ. I know I’m being harsh but every friend of mine that supports Barca say he’s absolutely awful. That’s what happens when you do business on the last day of the market. Very strange subs by Pioli today. Hope the team brushes it off and look forward. The MOTM today was the Curva Sud.

  5. I didn’t see first half but what I read in commentary it seemed like Krunic had lots of chances. Giroud was class and so was Theo. After subbing Kjaer we conceded 2 is something came to my notice well 1 was bcz Dest bro guy was poor bro but given his very first games it’s ok that’s why some people should have patience with Adli too as Juro mention in other article with Kalulu as an example. Tonali didn’t have that good day but he wasn’t bad at all just he has to get better at his positioning at some point in defence. Salemakers was average but that’s not gonna help against Napoli . Not good display let’s learn from mistakes it’s not the end, move on just one bad day sad that streak broke :((((((((

  6. Milan played well, dominated for almost 90 minutes, and created a lot of chances. But this is football where simple errors and less clinical finishing cost us 3 points.

    Three players, Diaz Calabria Alexis, who always received exaggerated criticism in here was played well.

    There’s nothing to worry though. I believe the boys can still learn and improves their performance.

  7. Uneccessarily harsh on Kalulu. He ran the entire length of the pitch prior to the shot so you can forgive him for missing. Seeing as he also started the move and finished it off, hard to see how you can penalize him for it.

    Messias for me was the most disappointing player for Milan. Aside from the one shot that he really should have done better with, he was completely ineffective and often cost his team possession.hard to argue with any of the other grades.

  8. Came here to say only one thing today because I heard some of the post-game commentary from Paramount’s talking-heads. I counted no less than three scoring chances created by CDK, not including his involvement in Giroud’s goal in which he was in the perfect spot and played a perfectly-weighted pass in to Theo. I’m not sure why people want to hate on the kid because he isn’t dribbling past 3 guys or trying a double scissors every time he gets the ball… if Messias buries the sitter CDK fed him all of a sudden this is a different conversation. The point: if you’re expecting him to be CAM Leao, you’re going to be severely disappointed. Overlooking his contributions because he isn’t a flashy player seems completely absurd to me.
    Scratch that, two things: 6 for Tonali is way too low. He was great tonight.

    1. Completely agree with both your points
      I though CDK was good with the few touches he had. His teammates really need to try to find him more often in my opinion. I also though Tonali was excellent aside from some of his corners which could have been better.

    2. Agreed with you 🤝

      Some people have this very high expectations that CDK gonna play like Kaka or Messi as goalscoring playmaker. But his playing style isn’t like that and more similar with Rui Costa who give pinpoint pass or setup the play than scoring.

    3. Nice point it isn’t to dribble but it is to use brain ppl say here ibra old he can’t dribble need to understand how many key passes he makes and as a cam key passes are main thing then dribble cdk did good also Tonali point was right

    4. I don’t think you know what a sitter is. having to hit a first time shot running full speed from the top of the box with a defender on your back is not a sitter. He hit a good shot and the goalie had to make a good save.
      And Tonali did nothing. As long as Tonali doesnt put one in his own net guys like you come on talking about how great he was. Your bar for great must be very low.

      1. Agree to disagree, my dude. I’m not going to try and convince you to see the game, and Tonali, how I saw them. What you and I–and everyone else–take from a match is obviously subjective. And maybe I should have been more precise with my word choice in describing the Messias chance, but my point remains the same: If that ball falls to a better quality finisher, it’s a goal. You can’t ask for it to be in a better spot in that situation. But absent the finish from his teammate the narrative changes… and thus how we arrive at the CDK criticism I was referring to originally.

        1. Correct, no just one aside from Theo and Leo. even 36 old Oliver will likely flip ball that is meant to go into the net, no accurate finishers in front of goal line

    5. It’s just a FIFA kids mentality. They expect him to be the fantasista who scores 2 goals and 3 assist a game, otherwise he’s shit.
      Apart from all the chances he created in the 2nd half, he was also super active in pressing. Caused a lot of errors and high turnovers from NApoli, especially in 1st half. He was a big part why we dominated them in 1st half.

  9. Guys as bad as Dest obviously was today, remember he’s a stop-gap because Florenzi injured. I don’t think the terms are like Bakayoko deal, ie we don’t need to redeem him. When Florenzi recovers I expect Dest will be used as a RW option.

    Bennacer fantastic today, Tonali also good. As tough a loss as it is to take, some comfort in the fact we were marginally the better team, we weren’t outplayed.

    The limit on Tomori maybe coming, ie if we get a good bid from PL side (€60mn) we should sell and reinvest. As I think he’ll max out as a v.good CB, not world class. And looks like we badly need the money to strengthen RWF and striker (Giroud excellent season but remember he’s 36, not exactly the long term answer)

    1. You are already looking to sell one of our best CBs who just signed an extension? Even if he peaked, he is still one of the top CBs in Serie A and certainly deserving of starting for England.

    2. Why sell our very good player? Why dont use him as back up? Do you think it is better
      if you get the sales money, and invest to another young player who needs time to adapt like CDK? I wouldn’t sell him just because he had a bad form recently. Season is long, and we can’t judge performance based on 7 matches. Remember those guys who insult Hakan (although Hakan deserved all the insult. LOL) when Diaz was on form last season?

    3. Kayson you are not a milan fan how can you come here and said let’s Milan sell tomori for 60,million i you will be the one to replace him

  10. It always hurts to lose when you are superior to your opponent in every department. But it happens in football and we just need to bounce back stronger!

  11. Not a Bad display, the boys play well, and stood up when they were a goal down. We move from here. Better days ahead

    There’s no Leao to castigate today, Leao gets criticized when we win…. So who will the critics pick on today, I wonder?

  12. Was a great great match, we were just unlucky and punished by some shaky performance. Overall, i’m happy with how we played, but a tough one to admit defeat. Hopefully, it doesn’t effect the mentality of Milan player.
    However I still dont understand why CDK still doesnt have shot on target? He is trequartista and he had more than 7 matches i believe, but still other than his brilliant pass and vision, we need to see more of him. What also funny is, people are patient with him but being judgemental with Dest

  13. You are very harsh with Kalulu, he missed the goal but do not forget that he was at the beginning and the finishing of this action, very hard for him to conclude after such a rush.

  14. Kosso, you don’t know what you are talking about. Many players stay in and finish with a yellow card, especially experienced players like Kjaer and Calabria. Theo was yellow carded 10 minutes into the game against Inter and he finished the game.

  15. Giroud doesn’t deserve 7.5, 6.5 max. He missed a lot of goal chance. He should have more than 1 goal. Milan too rely on Leao, Pioli should figured it out on that, and We will like we always have. Forza Milan

    1. “He missed a lot of goal chance.”

      If you’re talking about the headers they were all 5cm too high. Giroud did well to even get to the ball. And the left-footed shot next to the penalty spot? He managed to get a splendid shot from an awkward position and Meret did a out-of-this-world parade on it.

    2. You have spoken my mind, how can we have just 1 player to depend on and many old age in front of goal, besides at his age he had no rest, despite that he can only use 1 foot to strike the ball,he flip ball that are meant to be strike into the net.
      A day is coming that Theo and Leo will not be available, all our goals come from them

  16. De ketelaere makes a nice pass here and there but he stinks. Totally anonymous, looked so tired. What happened to before he signed he was known for his high press and determination? I haven’t seen it yet. You can see he has potential but he can’t be compared to kaka like others have said

  17. Sometimes the luck goes against you. Team did better than I expected, Pioli’s decisions were logical. I’d have liked to see a more adventurous formation shift than a Leao for Krunic substitution, but hey, it is what it is, you play the hand you’re dealt and Napoli look excellent at the moment. Dest seemed a bit lost but switching a booked Calabria made sense to do.

    1. Yeah, don’t really understand why kjaer came of tho. If u can’t break a press, which Napoli did well, then u have long ball, which kjaer is good at, but 🤷‍♂️

    2. I disagree. Changing Kjaer and Calabria completely changed our defensive solidity. These guys are professionals and should be able to deal with yellows, IMHO. Putting a still growing Kalulu next to the unknown Dest was a big gamble that didn’t pay off. In my opinion Kjaer and Calabria should have stayed on, or at the very least Kalulu should have subbed in for Calabria only. Dest was clearly not up to scratch against “Kvaradona” and Kalulu is too similar to Tomori in that they both take off after the ball and leave gaps behind. Kjaer is the best partner for this type of player because he is a cover defender and has great sense of positioning.

  18. You’re playing against Napoli and the damn ball won’t go in…So you bring players on….
    No game changers unfortunately.
    If Milan had a quality RW and a additional attacker, the Scudetto would’ve been an easy job

  19. What about adli?? If he play since early game, he can give more changes for goals (anyone agree with me?), but he still get less and less everyday deapite not being part of champions league.

  20. I thought we totally dominated Napoli and Napoli was incredibly lucky and also took the very few chances they had. I think we played extremely well esp given our best player was gone.

    I would say though that CDK played terribly and should have been hooked earlier. He has talent and skills but doesn’t quite know the movements of the system as yet. Adli tried to force it too much and Krunic did extremely well because he knows the system and can adapt well. It’s why Diaz gets the start, he actually knows the system but has poor skill.

    I see more positive in this than most. But we played extremely well and totally dominated for most of the game

      1. I thought it was more Diaz coming on and givi g the spark moreso than CDK getting better. Diaz knew the system so he was able to control the field better but CDK couldn’t handle that as he’s not yet up to speed.
        The subs Diaz sub changed things tho

  21. We were shutting them out at half-time. Pioli took Calabria and Kjaer off and the game changed immediately. Unfortunately Pioli lost us this match. Yes they were on yellows, but good players can manage that. People on here that say Kjaer is “too slow” for the modern game have no clue. Positioning can make up for pace. Maldini showed us that when he himself moved to the middle after he started slowing down and was one of the best CBs during those years. Positioning and reading the game (experience). So Dest comes on and immediately give up a penalty to the same Kvaratskhelia. Then gaps started appearing in the middle of the defense as Tomori and Kalalu have the exact same style of play, which is to go off chasing the ball out of position.

    1. Exactly why Thiago Silva is still a top defender. You need someone to organise the defense, which Kjaer a natural leader would do. He us the captain of Denmark and you don’t trust him to manage a yellow card?

      Kalulu in for Calabria, since we now know his sub was due to injury, but Kjaer should have remained on the field, at least until the 60mins if you think he’s tiring.

      Also, I would have preferred a change of formation so that Pobega comes in. I think he could have been more useful with his physicality to checkmate the midfield, since Bennacer and Tonali started and were probably tiring.

      Honestly, we all hope Pioli is bolder with the new players. Milan needs to gets maximum points from Chelsea. Also, the new guys need to play for good rotation. Yes, every coach has his methods but how long did it take Spalletti to integrate Kvacha? Again, we have to take into consideration that Pioli won Serie A, but that doesn’t mean he is Mr. Perfect.

      The new guys are not in the UCL squad and they’re still not playing in the league to help with rotation. Let’s hope they start getting game time aftwr the international break. I thought Vranckx looked good against Sampdoria – and Milan played with a man down.

  22. Last season, we also collect the same number of total points (14) against Udinese (H), Atalanta (A), Bologna (H), Sassuolo (A), Inter (H), Sampdoria (A), and Napoli (H). There is no need for doom and gloom. Milan actually have better performance, just a bit unlucky.

    1. Even though I’m disappointed by not getting any points while dominating Napoli, I’m also encouraged by how our team would look when they get some of the forwards back and healthy.
      This is a real team. Played without 4 of our 5 forwards and still created chances and dominated the game. Finishing has to improve though

  23. Look on the bright side – Inter, Juve and Roma all lost. Simeone is one of the players we should have looked at, but management had a hard-on for that cripple Origi. The defence hasn’t been good this season. Tomori and Kalulu aren’t making the clearances they made last season, we get hosed on crosses.

    1. Worth pointing out that when there was an article linking Milan to Simeone, there were loads of negative comments about him. Credit to Napoli is due, their scouting has been absolutely on point by the looks of things.

  24. In a high-intensity game like against Napoli, you cannot depend on one striker, e.g. Giroud! You need a young fast striker who can make score and not miss too many chances. Milan’s strikers, Giroud, Ibra and Rebic! It is evident that there is a problem.

    1. Tomori didn’t lose Simeone. Simeone was already in front of Tomori when the cross was hit. Why was Simeone in so much space? Because Kalulu was out of position. Why was Kalulu out of position? Because both him and Tomori take off like jack rabbits after the ball when the ball comes within 10 yards of them. Lesson: Tomori-Kjaer or Kjaer-Kalulu > Tomori-Kalulu, because you need at least one central defender to cover for the other that likes to press. Simple.

      1. I’ve been saying this for weeks. Finally people are starting to realize this. Even Pioli is starting to realize which is why he started Kjaer in this big game. Should never have taken him off. Kjaer can manage a yellow.

  25. People who still blame Pioli shouldn’t replace Calabria needs to click the news about Calabria had muscle injury after the 1st half.

    And Kjaer got replaced because he already booked also very logical.

    Remember last match against Sampdoria when Leao got the second yellow card right after 2nd half just started for a minute? People blame Pioli for not quickly replaced Leao.

    The thing is as a coach Pioli can’t predict that far of when his players will get the second yellow card or straight red card. And serie-a referee makes it more hard to predict because they can give straight red card or a pinalty kick only from a soft contact.

    1. Pioli should’ve handled it differently. If Calabria was injured than he could’ve played Kalulu on the right and kept Kjaer in at CB . Kjaer is an experienced and very smart player. He knows how to play on a yellow. He played the majority of the first half on a yellow and Milan had given up basically no chances with him and Tomori at CB. It is a better pairing overall and finally Pioli is starting to realize that, which is why he started them. Also, to throw Dest into a big game like that against Kvaratskhelia, when defense is not what he is known for, is just asking for trouble. They can talk about Kjaer’s speed all they want but the defense looks so much better and more stable when he is in there. More calm, better spacing. It’s too frenetic , too many open spaces with Kalulu and Tomori.

      1. “Kjaer is an experienced and very smart player”

        Experiences and smart are not always a guarantee for not receiving a second yellow card or straight red card.

  26. So many planks commenting on here. We played a decent game. Napoli scored a pen and simeone scored with his only touch. It’s football that’s the way it goes sometimes. This Kvara kid will win plenty of penalties and draw fouls this year. I initially thought it was a great tackle. Everyone talking about the 2 being hooked at half time. Pioli could see another yellow coming down that side. You would have all been slating him when a player got sent off for a 2nd yellow. This loss means barely anything the season is long. Let’s all just get behind them for the next game. We were unlucky. Keeper pulled off some great saves, kalulu hit the bar (he started the move in defence) and maignan I can’t remember him having to make a save. It’s football, they are a bogey team and a pretty decent team. Forza Milan

  27. Both Kjaer and Calabria was booked yes.. Subbing both was a mistake. Kjaer is sensible enough, so he could’ve been kept in the pitch.

    if teams sub every player who got a yellow in game, aggressive defenders like Ramos/Stam/Vidic would barely play after 45 mins. Kjaer sub was a STU*PID Decision from Pioli. Pioli has his strengths yes.. but his subs have been historically bad.

    Fielding a completely new player DEST against Krava .. Bad sub no 2.

    Messias instead of Saele? Again.. Badsub 3. Could’ve put dest in RW or CDK or Krunic.

    Krunic.. who actually was the best player on the pitch last night, was subbed for Diaz. Diaz played well.. for 8/10 mins.. But ruined EVERY attack we made in the last 10 crucial mins by running straight into defenders while trying to dribble in case anyone failed to notice.

    But overall, Milan’s gameplay was fantastic. Gotta thank Pioli for it. Luck just wasn’t on our side. We hit the bar twice, and almost four insane saves from meret held us back. Otherwise the score could’ve been 4-0/5-0.

    Napoli just got two actual chances and they buried them both. Defense needs to step up higher. We are weak in airballs. Exactly why Maldini was so hellbent on Botman.

    We need to recover from this fast.

    Forza Milan.

  28. Calabria is a top RB. Kvara was quiet before he left. Then immediately gets a penalty once off. Dest is no revelation. He’ll be fine as a sub. Zaniolo and Dybala are better than CDK for now and we passed on both. Belotti is better than Origi and we passed on him. Even guys like Simeone were available. Pioli lost us this game haaaard. Great man manager but awful tactician.

      1. He is. He gets the best out of his players always but tactically has never been good. Doesn’t mean he’s a bad coach but he’s never been good tactically. No coach is perfect. He lost us this game plain and simple.

    1. “Zaniolo and Dybala are better than CDK for now”

      Well in terms of experiences sure. Zaniolo and Dybala already playing for years in Serie-a. They have plenty of experiences compare to CDK who only arrived from Belgian league and learn to adapt with how Serie-a plays for a month. But in the long run, CDK could be much better than Dybala or Zaniolo.

      “Zaniolo and Dybala are better than CDK for now and we passed on both. Belotti is better than Origi and we passed on him.”

      – Roma put €70-80 million price tag on Zaniolo.
      – Dybala wants salary like 8 millions /year and he’s not worth it that much with how often he got injured.
      – Belotti already played 6 match and he only scored 1 goal against a weak team in Europa League. To say he’s better than Origi feels like delusional.

      “Pioli lost us this game haaaard. Great man manager but awful tactician.”

      Nah. We lost because Dest and Tomori errors in the back and the players didn’t maximize plenty of chances they already created.

      Outside the pinalty kick and Simeone goal, Napoli didn’t do much because Milan dominated and shut them down. Even Kvarat got silenced by Calabria in the 1st half but unfortunately Calabria got injured and Kjaer got booked too early.

    2. Zaniolo was rated at 60m, so not sure what you mean by “passed” on him. Meanwhile, Dybala couldn’t start this weekend because….he was injured AGAIN. And why are we talking about Zaniolo or Dybala if it’s the defense that lost the match as you yourself point out?

  29. @Gustavo … I’m not suggesting sell Tomori now sorry should have been clearer.

    Next summer rebuild, it seems we need money for striker + RWF. Individuals make more of a difference in attack than defense (where you need a cohesive unit).

    Tomori has been great I wasn’t singling him out. Just if the owners are gonna be stingy with cash, one of our stars will have to be sacrificed to afford good RW/ CF options. Tomori is likely the one for say €60mn as we could likely find an adequate replacement for €20mn who is only slightly worse.

    In a perfect world we wouldn’t need to make these tough decisions, Milan would have plenty of money and we keep Tomori + buy 2 top attacking players and win UCL 😀

    We played well last night just lacked cutting edge. 22 shots to Napolis 9.

    Forza Milan

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