Points, goals, injuries, big games and signings: The stats that put Milan’s season in perspective

By Oliver Fisher -

How has AC Milan’s 2023-24 season gone so far? Of course, like many things in football, it depends on perspective and whether the person in question chooses to take an optimistic, realistic or pessimistic outlook.

We have to start with the facts: Milan are currently second in the league and have no chance of catching Inter in the Scudetto race, they exited the Coppa Italia at the quarter-final stage and were knocked out of the Champions League in the group phase.

The Rossoneri are now hoping to avoid another trophyless season with a deep run in the Europa League where Roma await in the quarter-finals and the likes of Liverpool and Bayer Leverkusen may follow.

However, we can delve beneath this and find some of the trends that might put a different spin on things, depending on how you choose to interpret them.

The points

The most basic and obvious metric when it comes to measuring a team’s performance is the amount of points they have accrued in the league, because over the course of a 38-game season the table does not lie.

It is here that the first interesting statistic comes into play: Milan have 62 points after 29 Serie A games this season, and only in the 2021-22 Scudetto-winning campaign did they amass more (63).

Last season the Rossoneri were on 52 points at this stage of the season – a whole 10 points less, admittedly after a torturous January and February – while in 2020-21 the total was 60 points in what was Pioli’s first full season.

What the more cynical fans will perhaps rightly point to is the fact that Milan are currently 14 points off their city rivals Inter who are coasting to a second star. However, as has been highlighted plenty already, they are on a pace that takes some matching.

With attention thus turning to the fight for second, two months ago the Diavolo found themselves seven points behind Juventus but from late-January onwards the free fall of Max Allegri’s men began.

Juve not only gradually lost contact with Inter – who are now completely off the radar at +17 – but began to watch their backs as Pioli and his side caught up and, recently, overtook them.

The gap is three points and that return game at the Allianz Stadium will have a big bearing on who finishes with the prize of runners-up to Inter, which does actually have some financial incentive.

A final point, if you’ll pardon the pun: Milan are among the most in-form teams in the league today, with 17 points in their last eight games. Only Daniele De Rossi’s reborn Roma (19 points), Thiago Motta’s Bologna (22) and Simone’s Inzaghi’s Inter (22) did better.

The injuries

So why haven’t Milan been able to keep up this fantastic pace for the duration of the season, and what was the main reason that the Scudetto challenge derailed before the end of the year?

There are many factors of course, from a drop in the general performance levels of star players like Theo Hernandez, Rafael Leao and Mike Maignan, to the inability to rotate effectively and, as mentioned, the incredible pace of the Nerazzurri.

One thing that stands out above all and has been highlighted by Pioli as being more on the side of causation than correlation is that the Rossoneri’s defensive record simply hasn’t been good enough. More is to come on that specifically.

The injury date tells its own story as Milan have barely ever been able to field their strongest back four this season due to a collective emergency in the department, one that even saw Theo Hernandez shifted to centre-back.

Milan’s defenders have missed a combined 74 games this season due to injury. Pierre Kalulu (29), Malick Thiaw (14), Fikayo Tomori (13) and Simon Kjaer (10) have all missed over 10 out of the 41 games across all competitions.

Thiaw and Tomori have missed almost a third of the season, Kjaer 25%, while Kalulu’s 29 games missed will increase by a few more after his ligament injury. The Frenchman’s story is emblematic in a way as he spent four months out only to get injured quickly after he return.

Having all the starters available at Milanello (except Theo) over the break should help improve the mechanisms even more after a March that went against the trend in terms of the number of goals conceded, with five goals let in across five matches, at an average of one per game.

The goals

The broader topic of goals is an important one, because the amount scored and conceded each tell their own story in terms of how stretches of the season have gone, which when put together then paint an accurate picture of where that team should be.

This fits like a glove for Milan, who have scored 55 goals so far in the current Serie A campaign at an average of 1.9 per game. That gives them the joint-second-best attack in the entire league, level with Roma.

However, they have also conceded 33 goals. Only Monza in 10th (36) and Roma in fifth (35) have shipped more than that, and Milan have comfortably the worst defensive record in the top four.

Looking at the other teams in the top five (fifth will likely get a Champions League spot this time) it is quite easy to see why each team have failed to really get close to Inter.

For example, Roma as mentioned have scored plenty but have let in too many, ditto Milan. Bologna and Juventus have a good defensive record with 25 and 23 goals conceded respectively, but have scored 44 and 42.

Inter, and we promise this is the last time we will mention them, have scored 71 goals and let in 14. They have the best attack by a mile and the best defence by an even bigger mile.

As the Scudetto in 2021-22 showed for Milan balance is needed, but defence tends to win championships because having to score three and four goals to win games is unsustainable, as nice as it is if you can do it.

The signings

It has already been well documented that Milan’s 2022 summer transfer window ended up being a nightmare. What should have been a fine-tuning after the Scudetto win turned into a situation that probably played a big role in Paolo Maldini and Ricky Massara losing their jobs.

Divock Origi was meant to provide competition for Olivier Giroud but he got just two goals and an assist. Charles De Ketelaere was tipped to be the creative force of the future in the playmaker role, yet got just the one assist.

Sergino Dest was a complete bust, Malick Thiaw showed promise in fairness but is of course a centre-back, and Aster Vranckx got the only other goal contribution (an assist) to leave a grand total of five (two goals, three assists) for the 2022 summer additions.

The Rossoneri’s summer signings have 57 goal contributions in 2023-24 so far. Yes, you read that right, fifty seven. Of the 77 goals scored by Milan in total this season (all competitions), 40 of them were from them, which is precisely 51.9 percent.

The breakdown is as follows for goals: Pulisic 12, Loftus-Cheek 9, Jovic 8, Okafor 5, Reijnders 3, Chukwueze 3. Assists: Pulisic 8, Okafor 2, Jovic 1, Loftus-Cheek 1, Chukwueze 1, Reijnders 3, Musah 1.

Sunday’s win in Verona was symbolic in a way. Theo Hernandez scored the opener before Christian Pulisic and Samuel Chukwueze – both signed last summer to compete for the same spot – each got their name on the scoresheet.

Even the likes of Luka Jovic (eight goals at one every 121 minutes) and Noah Okafor (five goals at one every 155 minutes) have been very productive off the bench, and the €36m bargain of the ‘Blues Brothers’ deserves its own piece.

The big games

We wrote a feature not that long ago which put forward the notion that Pioli’s time at Milan – for all the records he has broken in terms of longevity and the things he has achieved – might be remembered more for the games he lost than he won.

That brings us to Milan’s record in the ‘big games’ in 2023-24, i.e. those in the Champions League and against teams that are or were considered to be rivals for a top-four spot, or potentially for the title. The games in italics were UCL or Coppa Italia.

➤ Roma 1-2 W
➤ Inter 5-1 L
Newcastle 0-0 D
➤ Lazio 2-0 W
Dortmund 0-0 D
➤ Juventus 0-1 L
PSG 3-0 L
➤ Napoli 2-2 D
PSG 2-1 W
Dortmund 1-3 L
➤ Atalanta 3-2 L
Newcastle 1-2 W
Atalanta 1-2 L
➤ Roma 3-1 W
➤ Napoli 1-0 W
➤ Atalanta 1-1 D
➤ Lazio 1-0 W

Of the 17 games listed above, Milan won seven. This is largely boosted by the victories in 2024 in the league, and against two opponents in Napoli and Lazio who were in crisis at the time. Six losses and four draws complete the picture.

Some might argue that isn’t too bad, yet it was the timing and the magnitude of those defeats which have essentially derailed the various trophy quests.

Then of course there is the 5-1 derby defeat to Inter, which made the hierarchies very clear in round four of the Serie A season and made it five losses to the Nerazzurri in the 2023 calendar year.

This article is of course about this season’s stats, but Milan’s record in derbies under Pioli deserves mention: three wins, two draws, nine losses, 12 goals scored, 29 goals conceded.


What should fans take from all of the above? Whatever they want, as is their right. However, it does present an interesting counter-balance: the idea that Milan are going at a pace in the league that in most other seasons would have them fighting for the title, despite having some obvious defects.

There is the plus side of the 10 new signings generally adapting well to playing in Italy given so many came from abroad, then the downside is that the injury problem has not been fixed and thus has contributed to some of the crises.

It feels as though a lot depends on the Europa League. If the Rossoneri were to hoist the only trophy missing from their showcase in Dublin it would help feel that the rollercoaster was all for something. Otherwise, there are simply good fragments to pick up and try to piece together a better jigsaw in 2024-25.


Tags AC Milan


  1. Here’s some stats…(some impossible to verify stats!):

    We have used 37 (THIRTY SEVEN) players this season (so many that Wikipedia forgot to include Leao in their list!).

    We have something like 25 players out on loan (this is purely going off Wikipedia and I can’t be bothered fingering out if the same players were loaned out in summer and January).

    (Ok official source) According to the Milan website we have 31 (THIRTY ONE!) players in our Primavera squad.

    We apparently need to sign 2-3 (or 10 or 12) new players this summer.

    Add up all of those players and you have…..a mess.

    1. Big clubs have big squads. With a lot of players out on loan. Most are young players. Some are older transfer failures loaned out in an effort to move them on.

      It’s just the way modern clubs work. You try and get a stake in a lot of young players and some will pay off with a big jump in value or as a key member of the senior squad.

      The lean squad you keep advocating for is just not the way most large to elite clubs operate. Right across Europe.

      1. Why are you defending this???

        First we have bigger first team squad than Man City.

        Man City have nearly as many out on loan but THEY”RE MAN CITY!

        And those players don’t include players who have no futures at the club like, most of the 25 that we have loan!

        Second WE ARE NOT AN ELITE CLUB!

        Third, again, why are you taking time out of your day to defend this mess?


        Do you feel someone obliged to defend the transfer market?

        Have I somehow cut to the very core of who you are as a fan?

        I mean I can insult the coach or the players or even the owners, but if anyone even questions why we have close to 80 players on our books…well how dare they!


        1. “Man City have nearly as many out on loan but THEY”RE MAN CITY!”

          And your point? What have they’ve won? Do they have multiple UCL-trophies and Club WC’s? I think not.

          1. Again with the defending….

            The players Man City have on loan are mostly youth team players gaining experience elsewhere.

            The players we have on loan include Ballo-Touré and Origi.

            But what is the thing that has triggered you to respond about my post?

            Are you just so delighted having 80 odd players on our books?

            What’s the deal with all the anger when I criticise the transfer STRATEGY?

            Who knew STRATEGIES could be this emotive.

          2. “Again with the defending….”

            Please point the sentence in my last comment which was even remotely defensive 🙂

            It seem it’s YOU who’s defensive here. 😛

        2. And why are talking like Man City with 1 UCL won recently and 9 EPL is a big club but Milan with 7 UCL and 19 scudetti isn’t ?
          Again this is modern football, this isn’t your 3 subs per game anymore, now you can pretty much sub half the team, you have longer competitions, more tournaments,…
          This is not the 80s where the scudetto was 30 games, the EC like 10 games and where you can’t have more than 3 non italian players.

        3. “Why are you defending this???”

          You understand people have differing opinions from yours right? Takes all sort of folks to make this world go round.

          We all know how you feel about the mercato. Nothing against you, but you are in danger of becoming a broken record player.

          Mercato isn’t a sure thing. We’ll buy winners, we’ll buy flops, we’ll buy players and loan them out. We’ll sell players. That’s what clubs do: Filter out the sand and the rocks until you end up with gold.

          As much as you have criticized our summer mercato, it is mostly the new signings that are keeping us relevant this season…

          1. Agree.
            The current UCL/UEL squad rules mean you need a good quota of domestic nationality players and ex youth team players.
            One of the major reasons so many players are tried in youth squads and then loaned out. Trying to build a quota of first team players who can meet these criteria. This includes players non Italian young players like Simic who could one day be a senior player who is ex academy.

            Serie a rules are heavily encouraging EU nationality players and limited slots for non EU players. Playing this game means using players like Devis to occupy a non EU slot and then later loaning him out until you can sell him.

            It’s all just part of navigating the rules for the best outcome.

            I’d suggest we ate failing on the front of having enough Italian nationality players and ex academy players in the first team at present.

          2. No I don’t accept that people can see a squad of 30 odd players, 20 odd players out on loan, and 30 odd players in our primavera and think ‘awesome, well done everyone’.

            I find that utterly bizarre.

            It’s not just about last summer, it’s the fact that we have nearly 80 players on our books!

            And I have literally never made that point before because I’ve only now got out the excel spreadsheet and tried to figure it all out. Because it requires an excel spreadsheet to figure out how many players we have on our books.

            And again I don’t find that remotely acceptable. And I really cannot fathom how anyone could.

        4. What I am “defending” is that I don’t believe Milan is doing anything significantly different to any similar clubs across Europe. By similar clubs I mean; other teams from the biggest 6-8 leagues who are regularly playing UCL/UEL and are capable of challenging fir their domestic title.

          Yes we have used a lot of players this season but that is mostly due to the injury crisis:
          – about 5 primavera players used.
          – 3 GKs used
          Plus we’ve had January transfers (like most clubs). So extra players used who:
          – left in January on loan (Krunic, Romero, Traore)
          – players arrived immediately used (Gabbia, Terracciano)

          I never said we are an elite club. I.e rich. But we are a big club that tries to compete at the highest level.
          One way to bridge the gap is to punt on a lot of cheaper young players. Or experienced players who have an injury cloud or current lack of opportunity at an elite club.
          Some will work some won’t.
          Milan can’t just rely on a youth sector and buying $100 Million value players like Real.

          Most similar level clubs have a lot of players on loan. They are either:
          – younger players who may still pay off.
          – experienced players who you want to move on but cannot as yet sell outright (Origi, Ballo-Toure, Salemakers)

          I would suggest most of your complaints about the transfer market (much of which I agree with), are more about the overall state of the game. Than anything Milan is doing significantly different.

          1. We have a bigger squad than Man City, Barca and Real Madrid.

            It’s literally indefensible.

            And injuries are one thing – one concerning thing – but even just counting “first team” players we have a squad of nearly 30 (7 more than Man City).

            Why do we need 7 more players than Man City?

          2. Reply to below.
            Disagree. Man City, Barca & Real can all rely on a great youth sector plus buying whomever they want.
            I.e. far less gambling on transfers.
            It makes total sense to me why they could have a leaner squad of more especially chosen players.

            It’s nothing to do with total value of the club.

          3. 1. Mike Maignan
            2. Marco Sportiello
            3. Antonio Mirante
            4. Lapo Nava
            5. Davide Calabria (captain)
            6. Théo Hernandez (vice-captain)
            7. Pierre Kalulu
            8. Fikayo Tomori
            9. Simon Kjær
            10. Malick Thiaw
            11. Mattia Caldara
            12. Filippo Terracciano
            13. Alessandro Florenzi
            14. Matteo Gabbia
            15. Álex Jiménez
            16. Jan-Carlo Simić
            17. Ismaël Bennacer
            18. Yacine Adli
            19. Ruben Loftus-Cheek
            20. Tijjani Reijnders
            21. Tommaso Pobega
            22. Yunus Musah
            23. Olivier Giroud
            24. Rafael Leão
            25. Christian Pulisic
            26. Luka Jović
            27. Noah Okafor
            28. Samuel Chukwueze

            PLUS at the start of the season we had:
            Rade Krunić
            Luka Romero
            Marco Pellegrino

            So we had a first team squad of 28-30 players this season (as we have had most seasons).

            We have bigger squad than Man City.

            Now why doesn’t Milan have as good a youth sector as Man City or Barca or Real?

            Is it something in the water?

            And isn’t the whole point that we focus on quality over quantity?

            Whatever our budget, we should be focusing on quality over quantity.

            And how do we even know what quality players have if they don’t get a run of games because the massive squad?

            We end up rotating 7 players at once and losing to Monza.

            And that’s just first team. We also have about 25 players on loan most of which have no futures at the club and are just problem players we can’t sell.

            Surely as a club with less money than Man City we can’t afford to waste any?

          4. Re the squad list you are not comparing apples with apples. You are mixing up comparisons of squad lists and total number of players used.

            As per my last comment our current senior squad is 26 players. Two of the players listed are primavera who only temporarily helped the senior squad due to an injury crisis.
            15. Álex Jiménez
            16. Jan-Carlo Simić

            Other players in your count left on loan.
            Rade Krunić
            Luka Romero
            Marco Pellegrino

            Most clubs will have players move in and out in January.

            You appear to comparing the current senior squad numbers from clubs like Man City. But you are not comparing it to our current senior squad list. You are including players loaned out and youth team players used in a crisis. I’m sure the clubs you are comparing too likely had players leave in January too. Possibly even some youth players used occasionally too.

            I’m not here to defend our youth sector but we are in a UCL youth semi final. So I think we are doing alright currently. But are suffering at senior level from not have enough successful academy products that are now i the 23- 30 age bracket.

            Re rotating 7 players v Monza. I would suggest that is more a squad management issue from Pioli. Not list management from Moncada & co. I hope you’re not being critical of Pioli? He’s one of our most successful ever coaches isn’t he? According to winning percentage.

            Re quality v quantity / club with less money shouldn’t waste money.
            The club appears to favour spreading the risk via quantity and then selling a lot of players. I can understand why they take that approach because we don’t have the money to buy players that are a perfect fit. A focus on quality with our budget could see us falling short on enough squad depth. I can’t say that I love the strategy. But I can understand it and it doesn’t give me sleepless nights like yourself.

          5. Also. Just because I don’t share your outrage. Doesn’t mean I am necessarily saying that I am endorsing and advocating for all aspects of our transfer strategy.
            Simply saying that I can understand why they want to gamble on so many different players. And that I don’t think we are different to most similar circumstance clubs in our approach

    1. Again why?

      What have I triggered in you for you to respond like that?

      It really is bizarre just how defensive people are on here about the TRANSFER MARKET!

        1. A normal response would be:

          “Wow that’s a lot of players. We really need to get some of those off our books”.

          But sure it’s much more normal to call for the manager to be sacked after every win….

  2. You can try to spin this any way you like, but the harsh reality is:

    * We could have won the Cup, but we failed
    * We could have gone to knockout stages of UCL, and from the toughest group there ever was, but we failed
    * We could have given Inter a run for their money, money they don’t have btw, but we failed
    * We still can win UEL, but we won’t.

    Now I know there is glass half full and glass half empty folks out there, but not only is our glass completely empty, but glass itself is gone. We failed or we are going to fail to win any silverware, and that doesn’t sound like a successful season to me.

    1. – Cups are a lottery and we haven’t won it since 02/03 so I guess you could say every season has been a failure since 02/03…..

      – for the reasons you’ve said it was a tough group so it could’ve done either way;

      – Inter are having the season of their lives and there’s only been a couple of times in the history of the universe that more than one team has had the season of their lives e.g. like the Juve and Napoli rivalry;

      – unless you can predict the future you don’t know what will happen in the UEL so why don’t you stop being so pessimistic?

      1. Did we win anything worth mentioning this season, any trophy? No. But are we gonna win anything worth mentioning this season, any trophy? Also no. So, season is a failure no matter how you spin it.

        Unless Milan became Lazio or Atalanta overnight, in which case woohoo, we’ll qualify for UCL!!! OMG we’re so awesome!!!!

        1. Yes. According to this guy we should celebrate Pioli and each victory like we won the scudetto. “Milan – Empoli 1-0. Wow, we’re the greatest team ever!!!” Non-stop partyyyyyy!

        2. Winning is extremely difficult, and we’re only in 3.5 comps (the .5 is for the EL).

          One bit of bad luck can cost you.

          That is why the league is always my main focus because luck plays less of a role.

          And we’re 2nd in the league. So there’s only 1 team better than us!

          If we build on what we have this season we might make first.

          The problem with attitudes like yours is you write off seasons then we need reset – fire the manager, change half the squad – and then we go again and oh, another reset, and reset and reset and reset, and this is what happened for 10 years and we kept going backwards.

          So show some patience and stop moaning out about being ‘only’ second in Serie A.

    2. I’m going to say that if (and that’s a hell of an if) we win the EL, we can more or less say we had a successfull season (european trophy, UEFA supercup this summer, UCL pot1, more money,…).
      Should we fail to win the EL, I’ll agree a 100% with your assessment. A big club like Milan who spent more than 100M on summer transfer should not, by any measure, consider a trophyless season to be half a good one.

    3. BTW I’ll also add this to my comment, inter’s season is overrated by many folks here. inter is having a good season yes, but not exceptional like many here are saying
      – They won a supercoppa (1 game) against pretty much the weakest Napoli in 5 years or more.
      – They were eliminated early in coppa italia
      – They were “supposedly” a top 3 team in Europe and all it took to eliminate them is Atletico Madrid. They were second to Sociedad in their group as well.
      – They steamrolled the scudetto but many teams like Lazio and Napoli are weaker than last season. Juve didn’t improve and Roma was worse until they sacked Mourinho.
      So overall it’s like the 1988/89 season where they won the scudetto comfortably and done nothing else. A good season, not an outstanding one.
      I feel like many try to elevate inter’s season to justify our own failure which is very misleading IMO.

  3. For reference (and for the shake of completeness), hereby also the xStats (after 29 gamedays) of the last 2 seasons:

    Year xG xGA xPTS
    2023/24 50.08 35.29 50.78
    2022/23 54.11 31.79 53.66
    Source: Understat
    * xStats is the way that modern football is analysed/assessed.
    * This (and many other like this) is the data that a “data-driven” management (like ours) uses.
    * Moneyball is based purely on this – and especially the difference between Stats and xStats.
    * xStats slightly differ depending on the xStats model.

  4. Man, they really beat this horse to dea.th
    We get it, replace half the starting attack/subs, bought literally an entire team of players – mostly mids and attackers- score half the goals 🤷‍♂️🤦‍♂️. I’m still trying to figure out what exactly were we supposed to be expecting.
    Last year is seeming like an anomaly in the league when you look at it and that’s mostly due to the dismal Jan-Feb not due to the idea that we didn’t have the ability to score (**probably because we prioritized the UCL**). Early on in our current season we were tracking at just about the same rate as in 22/23 before we hit that rough patch and I kept saying we did all this to be about the same as last year 🤷‍♂️. Well we’re round about the same as the prior year and the year before that in terms of goals and so on. And that team was largely in tact, not the overhaul we had in the summer (btw we also finished 22/23 strongly only conceding 7 in the last 10).

    Rd 29
    YR F A
    20/21 54 34
    21/22 55 29 (Scudetto)
    22/23 48 36
    23/24 55 33

    So then the question is what have we really accomplished/improved if were tracking at a rate of the old team. That’s where u get into, rightly or not, glass half full/empty debates. Imo, basically we’ve been “made whole” as we were before from all these changes. However, we still haven’t solved the problem of a leaky defence as we really need to win games by our defence. And I’m strictly speaking here about the midfield..we bought a bunch of mids and still didn’t address that aspect of that area. We have the qualities clearly to score now as we did before. But we’re just missing that one piece…still.
    Man I wish I didn’t bite at this

    1. There has been some key improvements especially with Pulisic.

      It’d be really interesting to see the squad from last season with just say RLC, Pulisic and Okafor (or My Metaphorical 40 Goal A Season Striker).

      Also without Tonali getting banned….

      Basically it’s only speculation and nonsense.

      But it seems nobody’s bothered we have 80 players on our books!

      1. Yes Pulisic is an improvement in quality on the RW for sure. But overall the results are tracking the same as 2 years prior and the year before that in terms of +/-. And I think it’s because we lost defensive quality in the middle and gained in other areas so it evens out.

    1. Oh lol. I didn’t notice. The glass half full/half empty wasn’t for you directly btw. It was independent of that. Btw, deep down I fully agree with you anyways. I think lots of these articles coming out are glossing over many failures as you said (Copa, league, UCL). Ok, we have 40 out of 77 goals from new signings….well duh we replaced half of starters with new signings. We’re doing better in the league than last year…well duh, we prioritized UCL last year at the expense of the league (btw they glossed over the fact that we haven’t improved substantially on our ‘regular’ years 20/21 and 21/22 where we had almost the same team as last year’s).
      We’re doing better in the UCL than last year…..oh wait ooops 🫢. We said we’re more European but those guys failed us in Europe when we need them the most in that competition..and no one’s talking about it. Puli only scored one, RLC, Okafor, Jovic, Musah, Reijnders big fat zeroes. Poor Chuk the flag bearer.
      So when we say we’re better, what do we really mean? We like the new signings or we’ve accomplished more?
      To me this isn’t about the signings themselves, it was more a pompous, we can do better than you attitude when clearly the results aren’t as easy or straightforward as they might think it is to achieve. It’s spin as you said. Do I like the squad going forward that we have right now? Of course I do. But let’s not make it out like we’re far superior than before. We’ve improved in certain areas and lost in certain areas. With time they’re going to get better but hopefully we can keep it in tact, and that’s the real issue here

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