Milan were held to a goalless draw by Napoli at San Siro on Saturday night, but there were positives to take away from the encounter with Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
The Rossoneri were firmly in the game and had control of the clash for large periods, although both sides did create chances and will feel as though they could have claimed all three points.
While there were some stand-out performances, others struggled too as we pick out five of the big talking points from the game.
Donnarumma in great form
That’s now five clean sheets in his last seven Serie A games as the 19-year-old continues to step up when needed. He’s had a turbulent time in the last couple of years with question marks over his future, but he’s settled again and is proving his worth.
From his shot-stopping to his improved distribution out from the back, he looks calmer and more at ease now, and as we continue to underwhelm at one end of the pitch, he continues to impress at the other.
Bakayoko earning permanent move
The turnaround continues. From looking like a genuine flop in his first few outings for us, Bakayoko has established himself as a fundamental figure in our midfield right now.
From his energy and tenacity to protect the backline to his improved passing which has become sharper and quicker without trying too much, he has struck the perfect balance and continues to impress. It could be argued that he’s well on the way to earning a permanent move.
Kessie should be at risk of being dropped
Hakan Calhanoglu appears to be the scapegoat both inside and out the stadium currently, but Franck Kessie’s level of performance is nowhere near where it needs to be.
Although he’s still only 22 years of age, he hasn’t seemingly progressed as expected over the last 12 months, and as harsh as it sounds, his footballing IQ has to be questioned. Statistics show that he ran just over 12km on Saturday night, more than any other Milan player. However, unless he starts doing something useful with the ball too, that really isn’t enough.
Promising Piatek debut
It was only brief, but there were plenty of positive signs from the 23-year-old as he came on for his debut in the second half.
As expected, he looked lively and eager to impress, but importantly there were flashes of good play from a decent first touch as well as good movement off the ball to find himself in good positions. It’s still too early of course to make a definitive opinion, but he looks like he’ll fit in well.
Milan must be more ruthless in final third
Especially in the big games, Milan have to be clinical in the final third. Chances aren’t going to come in abundance, and so in order to edge out the top teams in closely-fought encounters, they have to pounce when the opportunities arrive.
It’s an issue that has plagued us for much of the season, but with Suso, Calhanoglu and Lucas Paqueta all looking a threat to go along with the frontman, it’s hoped that they make the necessary improvements moving forward to show a more prolific touch in attack while making the right decisions in dangerous situations.
The fear is that the problem has been ongoing for so long, it doesn’t seem as though they are improving in training and so it comes down to how they manage to execute their passes in a game environment.