·24 September 2023
·24 September 2023
It was a tight game with few chances and a lot of physicality. The Rossoneri claimed victory at San Siro and secured three vital points. Rafa Leão's goal - from Giroud's assist - was enough to beat Baroni's combative Hellas Verona side. Let's take a closer look at three factors that decided the 1-0 home win.
APPROACH AND TACTICAL SWITCH If we had to sum the game up in a sentence: the first half was one of positive football, the second one of game management. And AC Milan won it in the first half with a courageous approach and aggression - as has often been the case this season - despite the tactical changes in personnel and formation. The goal again came in the first quarter of an hour: a high press and a perfect through ball led to the opener, which is essential if you're to break down teams that defend deep and look to counter. Hellas struggled to get to grips with AC Milan's new-look 4-3-4 set-up, in which the widemen played a vital role. Florenzi played as an inverted wing-back on the left, coming inside to let Leão have space to roam and attack the gaps. On the other flank, Musah ran all day long, while Pulisic cut inside to attack the box. It was a newly-designed scheme meant to catch our opponents off guard. Mission accomplished.
DEFENSIVE AERIAL DUELS Pioli's men kept their second straight clean sheet (and third of the season). The Rossoneri's back three played particularly well against the Scaligeri. Simon Kjær made 14 recoveries and served as the rock at the heart of defence, while Tomori and Thiaw were more free to advance up the pitch, while still being aware and alert in the defensive phase. Our defenders were aggressive - and clean - when going for the loose ball, and hardly have the Gialloblù's forwards any breathing room. The key to the day was, however, dominance in the air in the defensive third. Counting crosses and corners, the Gialloblù put 21 balls in the box, to no avail. The Rossoneri's solidity was all the more marked given the guests' strengths in flick-ons and long balls, as well as from set pieces. Limiting Hellas' usual avenues of attack was key to keeping the clean sheet.
POSITIVE RESPONSES AC Milan went into Serie A matchday 5 with the odd key absentee. Sportiello, Florenzi and Musah - the latter having started for the first time for the Club - deputised well. They were lively, decisive and responsive. The Rossoneri's packed fixture list means that changes will need to be made game by game. Having a deep and talented squad is essential to manage minutes without a drop in quality. At San Siro against the Gialloblù, you could see that tiredness following the Newcastle game in midweek was taking its toll, but the Rossoneri did brilliantly to keep the Gialloblù at arm's length and retake control of the game, due also to the energy brought to proceedings by the substitutes. Okafor completed two dribbles in little over 15 minutes, Bartesaghi made his professional debut, and Jović and Pobega chipped in; the Rossoneri boss certainly has options.
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