Player Ratings: Napoli 0-1 AC Milan – Giroud comes up big; centre-backs shine

By Isak Möller -

AC Milan broke their run of draws just when they needed it as Olivier Giroud’s goal was enough to beat Napoli this evening. Therefore, they are in first place again and down below are the Rossoneri player ratings. 

Starting XI

Maignan (6.5): He didn’t have a whole lot to do in terms of saving, bar a few attempts from Osimhem, but he was incredibly good with his feet this evening and that was really needed.

Calabria (5.5): Not the best game from him unfortunately. He was very shaky on the ball, especially in the first half, and that somewhat gave Napoli an advantage on the right-hand side. It might have looked worse if it wasn’t for the fact that Milan like to attack on the left. Maybe, just maybe the scuffed shot of an assist could have given him a higher rating.

Kalulu (7.5): Incredible game from the youngster once again, always staying close to Osimhen and the partnership with Tomori was spot on. It’s quite astonishing how calm he is with the ball as well, even in tough situations.

Tomori (7.5): Just like his colleague, they did really well to neutralise the Napoli attack and they seemed to have an advantage right until the end. Milan are in safe hands with that centre-back pairing.

Hernandez (7): It was a very good game from the Frenchman who, once again, showed that he has a lot of adrenaline on the pitch. He was involved in quite a lot of attacking moves and also did well in defence, making for a very good overall score.

Tonali (5.5): It wasn’t his night unfortunately and that mostly had to do with Napoli’s defending, as they applied a high pressure which cut the midfielder off. Rightfully subbed off quite early as his impact wasn’t huge.

Bennacer (7): Bar a few shaky moments at the start of the game, he was really good this evening and showed just how good he is with the ball at his feet. The ball seems glued to his left foot sometimes and that’s very nice to see.

Messias (6): It was an okay display from the Brazilian with some nice touches and combinations, but there were also a few misplaced passes. Nothing spectacular but certainly not bad either.

Kessie (7): This man deserves a lot of praise for the final stage of the game. In the last 15 minutes, he was quite dominant in the midfield and made use of his incredible stamina to disturb Napoli in their attacking efforts. He also did incredibly well to shield the ball by the corner in the final minute.

Leao (7): His moves opened up a lot of space for Milan and although it didn’t result in anything concrete, it was still important to have his x-factor to be able to keep the ball and, most importantly, keep the Napoli defence working.

Olivier Giroud celebrates his opener

Giroud (7.5 – MOTM): It seemed like a copy of the first goal against Inter as he was once again at the right place at the right time. It was his first goal away from San Siro and it came just when Milan needed it the most.

Substitutes

Rebic (6.5): He looked much better this evening and always applied pressure on the Napoli players. Some of his runs allowed Milan to breathe a little and he should have had an assist in the dying minutes, but Saelemaekers somehow missed.

Krunic (6): It was exactly what you would expect given the circumstances. Pioli clearly brought him on to add physicality and energy, which he successfully did.

Florenzi (6): Just like Krunic, it was a very tactical appearance off the bench and you cannot really complain about that.

Saelemaekers (5.5): While he had some success on the ball, he really should have scored the second for Milan with just a few minutes to go. He was left with just Ospina to beat, with a great angle, but still somehow missed.

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


READ MORE – Napoli 0-1 AC Milan: Giroud decisive again as the Rossoneri go top

Tags AC Milan Olivier Giroud

31 Comments

  1. Congratulations to the boys. It was a close one, the entire team was nervous. The referee was strict and careful not to let any flimsy controversies dictate the result of the game. He made balanced decisions regarding both sides.

    It was always going to be a two-man marking against Leao and we saw it, and it looked like he’s still suffering from fatigue. Tonali looks burned out as well. Messiah just does enough but really doesn’t produce the much needed spark on the right. For a huge part of the game I wished Florenzi played instead of Calabria, but Calabria was instrumental in the only goal. Great instinct by Giroud to deflect it in for a goal. The defence held their own once more today. No disrespect to Romagnoli and his pace, but the Kalulu and Tomori pairing was what we needed against Osimen and the Napoli frontline. We could have been in more trouble if Romagnoli played.

    Our double pivot had a great game too, I only wish we did give up possession to often as we did. Great hold up play too at the end of the game by Kessie, it reminded me of the Atalanta game at the end of last season. He could be the best player he wants to, if only he puts in the effort like he showed last season. I wish things would work out well for both parties in their negotiations. It’s sad things had to turn sour with the player.

    There’s no escaping or hiding from the fact that our attack is the fundamental problem. We can try all our current players in the #10 role, but we don’t have the right player. I wonder who the next experiment would be….lol. Hats off to the experience and skill of the Veteran Ibra to pick that pass to Rebic less than a minute coming on; Salemeekers had all the time in the world to pick a spot on that one-on-one, and it takes great technique to thread the ball into the goal with that sort of volley, and we all know he was never going to bury it that way. I hope Ibra can pick up the pace going int the final games of the season.

    The attack needs a serious facelift to be more dynamic. This cannot be overstated. An actual #10 and a skillful RW and a striker should be priority at this point as all our returnees already have their spots tied up… My only words to Maldini and Massara is “Quit the experiments”.

    Let’s enjoy the win guys. We hope for the best. Forza Milan!!!

    1. If Romagnoli played, osimhen would have skinned him alive, literally roasted him. He beat Fikayo for pace, and had to be double marked before he was shut down.
      Saelemekers? Ain’t no striker, he is the new borini. All skills are YouTube skills. Mess I as would have buried that shot easily.
      We need a reliable RW asap. I.hope to see Lazetic soon.

  2. I’ll give Calabria a 6. Despite his errors, he gave important contribution with an assist to Giroud.

    And yes Saelemakers needs more clinical in finishing. He could end the game if he scored. But i’ll give him a 6 too. His defense still pretty good.

    Overall the team have improved their performance compared to Udinese and Salernitana and i hope Milan players practice more finishing cause we needs all goals we can get.

    Forza Milan!

  3. We won today but in an unconvincing way. Leao has to know that the essence of dribbling is to create space and better opportunities for the team, it makes no sense that after the task of dribbling, the end product is zero, that was the trademark after all dribbles from the left flank today. Messias is a good player but not Milan quality, we need those quality players ASAP next season, and I hope management can see that too.
    Our midfield and defence continue to shine. For me the rating of Kessie was generous.

  4. Vamos
    Great game by all standard ,if they can continue to play like this they will surely lift a trophy by the end of this season

  5. Very objective grading. Almost all Milan sites act like fan boys when it comes to Tonali, grade him high even if he played bad. Kudos on that.
    I still would give the motm award to Benacer. I know Giroud scored but Benacer was everywhere, great defensively and pulling the strings offensively

  6. Kalulu shines again. I told you guys kalulu he’s so good playing CB, he reminds me Marcel Dessailly a lot. He should play at this position now, no need Romagnoli. Calabria did very bad today but we won and it’s the most important.

    1. I said Lilian Thuran but I would try Kalulu to at DM. If Kalulu be 6’2or 6’3 he be my 1st choice for CB, DM etc. AC Milan need a tall DM. Gabbia & Maldini need to be loan out next season etc.

  7. Proof that people giving out these ratings do not watch the matches : it wasn’t Rebic who passed the ball in the dying minutes, it was Theo.

  8. Ac Milan need to get the right talk with kessie because we need him in the long run, Tonali can do better, saelemakers and jur messias are not what ac Milan need in this life, how on Earth we ac Milan give saelemakers and messias contract and not give the money to kessie and Hakan well good job tonight we need more of play like this for the players, as for kalulu pls let him grow with the game he is a very importan person to ac Milan history, the next generation to win a cup for ac Milan is now, nice one guys we need the next game too very important.

  9. Rebic maybe 3
    Saladmaker between -12 and -15, He is a donkey.
    Assias a 5 as well, just blah
    Tonli was maybe a 5 (his worst performance this season)
    Not counting that assist, Calabria was god awful.

  10. How does Messias get a 6?? He gave the ball away to Napoli at least 6 different times and he adds nothing to the press/defending. He made ONE tackle in the 2nd half on a sliding tackle. Otherwise he contributed NOTHING. he should have a 3. Saele always seems to lack composure in final third on that shot or final pass/cross; but at least he defends well while Messias does not.

    It’s hard to give too much credit to Calabria for that “assist” — I love Calabria, a Milan man who will bleed black & red until the day he dies; but that was a shot (and a very poor one actually) and he was lucky that Giroud was so alert to redirect it. Lately, Florenzi has been much better than Calabria and I was honestly hoping Pioli was going to make that switch right at halftime.

  11. Shiva I agree with everything you said except I disagree Rebic as a 3 from your post. Rebic was actually good. His pressing was good (as it usually is), he had a nice flick pass at 83:30 mark sending Leao forward down the left side; at 85:40 mark he had a great thru ball sending Theo forward into space, had nice dribbling on a break that drew a yellow card at the 90+1 mark. I thought he made quite a positive impact (finally — after a couple of absolutely terrible games by him).

    1. He needs more time on the pitch and Leao needs a game or two to rest, maybe come in from the bench. Though if Oli is injured, Rebic might need to start and Ibra would come in from the bench so again, more play time for him.

      He cant get back in shape if he doesnt play.

  12. agree Shiva — he needs the minutes and I do hope he gets a start… he can play for Oli or maybe even start at RW…

    Oh, and one other thing on the ratings … Bennacer, to me, was MOTM. His rating they gave was good-ish; but deserves to be higher. Every game people fail to talk about how great he is. He makes great tackles taking the ball away from great players like Mertens or Insigne or Ruiz. He has fantastic first touches receiving long balls, hard passes, opposing goal kicks — with his chest, thigh, etc.; he makes very clever changes of direction with the ball; shields the ball well with his body and makes good forward passes. Why don’t people talk about him enough, I don’t understand.

  13. Congratulations. Is Giroud okay? I hope to Lazetic soon. Stick with this 433 formation with Tonali as regista. Try Diaz at RW

  14. If it come to castillejo, he wouldnt miss the chance like saelemakers did tonight. So so so fucking bad composure and no calmness

  15. What a display especially by Kalulu. Can see why Maldini is in no hurry to re-sign Romagnolli. Next season a CB rotation of Tomori, Botman, Kalulu and Kajer (with Gabbia #5) is solid – as would a mid with Tonali, Bennacer, Poegba, Sanches and Kamara (dump Bakayoko). Pls sign a RW and striker. Belotti on a free is fine – although I would prefer a younger more dynamic player – but if we go that cheaper route and bring Ibra back again – then we must at least invest heavily in a RW. Leao cannot continue to be our only dynamic player up front. He needs help. ACM will be Adli’s position to lose and if he struggles, Sanches can play in that role as well. Great win lads!

    1. If I understand you correctly, Instead of looking for a natural #10 in the summer, lets spend all of next season on experiments like we are doing now. It’s different when injuries force you into making temporary fixes, but starting the season with the hope that any one or two of you midfielders is just going slot into that #10 role on call is just insane.

      Adli and Sanchez are midfielders and they should man their positions in the double pivot.

  16. Bennacer un gran partido, moviendo los hilos en ataque y defendiendo bien, creo merece una mejor calificación… Forza Milan… Sempre Milan… Più Più Milan… Siempre Milán

  17. Good grades, except for Giroud who did not deserve 7,5. At best a 7. I would also say that Bennacer was MOTM. I would have given him an 8. He was everywhere.

    Milan is the best team in the league against the big boys.

  18. I think Hernandez or Bennacer should be MOTM.
    They put so much pressure on Napoli players’ shoulders and kept them busy which is good against attacking teams to keep them silent. I love Theo’s cannonball style.
    Kalulu and Tomori duo was good. Kalulu is a really promising players. I think if there was Romagnoli we could have conceded 2 goals at least. The cap is not good against athletic forwards and he is not with AC Milan anymore in his mind, whilst Kalulu sticks to opponents like a wet leaf and able to play like that whole 90 minutes.
    I think sometimes we should use Castillejo instead of Messias/Saelemakers. He could bring for us penalty kicks playing against aggressive defenders like Coulibali.
    Rebic is completely disconnected. He doesn’t look like he plays there. No communication with partners, no proper pressure on opponents. I don’t know what happened to him. He was a zebra-hunter last year but lost it.
    Overall game was good against the team with the least conceded goals. We still have a lot of problems to solve.
    I loved that Pioli added more attacking players instead of parking ‘Italian bus’. To win a game against big teams you should keep attacking them.

  19. I was relieved to see Calabria didn’t get a 6, awful first half and the review above is spot on, needs to calibrate his mind and deliveries.. and the other RB, not Florenzi, makes me confused again what his natural position is.. kudos.

    Dear Saelemaekers, we’ll get more points than Napoli in the end but you just can’t be unlucky so many times.

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