AC Milan won their first game of the pre-season last night, excluding the Lumezzane clash, as they prevailed 6-5 on penalties against Monza. So, what were the three main takeaways from the game?
Christian Pulisic opened the scoring for the Rossoneri in the 29th minute, converting the rebound of his own penalty miss. However, Milan didn’t have the lead for long as Monza equalised in the 32nd, and that ended up being the scoreline after 90 minutes.
Milan converted all six of their penalties in the penalty shoot-out, while Monza missed their sixth. Stefano Pioli’s men thus got to lift the Silvio Berlusconi trophy for the first time. Below are three takeaways from the game.
1. Pulisic best position is not right-wing
The American was decisive in the sense that he won the penalty and then scored Milan’s only goal of the game. However, besides that one sequence, he struggled to beat his man on the right flank and wasn’t really that impactful.
Now, having said that, it’s clear that he’s still very comfortable on the ball and that does make things easier for Milan, but right-wing doesn’t appear to be his best position. It’s still early days, of course, and he could improve but maybe Pioli should start thinking about another position for him.
Samuel Chukwueze will most likely be occupying the right flank soon and Rafael Leao’s spot on the left, despite his poor performance last night, is cemented. Pioli stated after the game that he could play Pulisic as an attacking midfielder.
2. Midfield signings looking good
Tijjani Reijnders and Ruben Loftus-Cheek got the highest scores in our player ratings, both at 6.5/10, as they looked very good in the midfield. Reijnders always seemed to be in the right position, also making use of his skills when in possession, and Loftus-Cheek showed great strength in the duels.
It’s clear that the new signings slowly but steadily are adapting to Milan’s style of play and yesterday’s game was further proof of that. Reijnders will be a key player this season with his movement between the line, picking out the right passes as well, while Loftus-Cheek gives the midfield a much-needed physical presence.
It will be very interesting to see Yunus Musah in action as well and, above all, which position he will be deployed in. Pioli stated after the game that he believes the midfield department now is ‘complete’ and while the fans may have a different opinion on that, last night’s clash was a step in the right direction.
3. Giroud, where are you?
It has almost become tiring to mention the Frenchman after every single game, but he continues to struggle big time up front. He was involved in the sequence that led to the penalty, in fairness, but didn’t do much more than that.
He got the ball in the box a couple of times but his efforts were blocked, apart from one overhead kick that almost ended as a throw for Monza. Lorenzo Colombo came on in the second half and looked much brighter, dropping down when needed and involving himself in the game.
Giroud has just under two weeks to get ready for the season opener and one can only hope that he will look better then. Comparing this pre-season to last year’s, the fans are right to be a bit worried.