Effective pressing and poor finishing: Tactical analysis of Milan’s loss against Napoli

By Rohit Rajeev -

AC Milan faced off against Napoli a week ago in a real top of the table clash at San Siro, but it was the away side who were left celebrating after a 2-1 victory.

A penalty from Matteo Politano gave the visitors the lead after Sergino Dest’s foul on Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, but Olivier Giroud equalised from Theo Hernandez’s cut-back to set up a grandstand finish. Giovanni Simeone came off the bench to win it with a late header for Napoli to move them three points clear of the Rossoneri. Below is an analysis of the game…

Creating but not finishing

One of the biggest problems for Milan against Napoli was their finishing. Milan xG (Expected Goals) was at 2.43 while Napoli only had an xG of 1.09.

Something Milan fans can be happy about is how the team has been performing well and creating chances and hopefully they keep continuing it.

The xT (Expected Threats) of both teams stood at Milan with 2.85 and Napoli at 1.04. it shows how Milan moved the ball with ease from less dangerous areas to areas of the pitch where scoring is easier.

Passing maps

Passing maps show how Napoli is dependent on Lobotka. He was the pivot on which Napoli functioned, and would be the one to initiate attacks, switch wings and lead the press.


A question that often results from big games is how well Milan pressed. The Rossoneri made a total of 160 pressing actions, and 43% of their pressing came in the middle half of the pitch. Milan’s PPDA (Passes Per Defensive Action) was 8.8 against Napoli’s 10.8.

A useful mark of how high and effectively Milan pressed is taking a look at how many high turnovers happened on Napoli’s side.


The data above reveals some all too familiar themes for Milan, particularly pertaining to last season. The performance was there and the attacking threat created multiple scoring chances that were simply not taken.

Napoli were more clinical on the night and walk away with a big win, but there are several positives for Milan such as how the team fared without Rafael Leao and how they limited their opponents in terms of chances, when Spalletti’s men had been free-scoring in the run-up to the game.

Tags AC Milan Milan Napoli
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