Milan secured a 1-0 win over Verona on Sunday night, with Krzysztof Piatek’s second-half penalty securing all three points for the Rossoneri.
After a dreadful opening half in which we struggled to show the quality required to break down a Verona side reduced to 10 men after just 21 minutes, things improved slightly after the break.
However, there is still huge room for improvement for Marco Giampaolo and his players as the lack of quality in attack is a concern having toiled for large parts of the game to even threaten a breakthrough.
Importantly, it’s another three points and a morale-boosting win, but with the Derby della Madonnina next weekend, Milan must be better if they are to get anything from that game.
Romagnoli effortlessly in control
The 24-year-old makes it all look so easy now as the experience and maturity that he has gained over the years is starting to show.
As well as reading the game brilliantly, he remains composed and alert off the ball to step in and intercept when required and quietly goes about his business with minimal fuss and continues to excel in the heart of the defence.
That’s 10 clean sheets in Serie A in 2019 for Milan, the most of any side in the Italian top flight in the calendar year, while the statistic below shows how good the Italian international is on the ball too in building out from the back.
95 – Alessio #Romagnoli has completed 95 passes against Verona, his record in a single Serie A match (his previous record was 92, against Udinese in MD1 current season). Fulcrum.#VeronaMilan pic.twitter.com/7JHTZpFiz1
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) September 15, 2019
Rodriguez weak link in defence
Frustratingly, Rodriguez continues to show a limited attacking side of game even though we know he can be dangerous on the left flank given the quality of his deliveries.
Instead, he often plays within himself and looks back rather than forward too often, while he’s always vulnerable to being caught out by pace and movement whether it’s on a counter attack or at the back post from a cross from the opposite flank.
Theo Hernandez is closing in on a return to action after suffering an injury in pre-season, and it’s difficult to see how Giampaolo doesn’t bring him straight in when fully fit to replace Rodriguez.
Biglia passenger after Bennacer switch
Surprisingly, Bennacer was left on the bench despite his impressive full debut against Brescia, with Biglia coming back into the line-up after recovering from an injury blow of his own.
Given the Argentine stalwart was steady and impressive in pre-season, the decision itself wasn’t a major issue, but it became one given how passive and off-the-pace Biglia was.
While he should be commended for some decent interceptions to offer coverage in front of the backline, too often he was seen trotting around the midfield and not making himself available to take on the role of building out from the back and instead it was left to the two centre-halves.
With that in mind, it would be ideal to see Bennacer come back in next weekend.
Suso, Calhanoglu disappointing again
In these type of games where Milan dominated possession and the emphasis was on us to create chances, more is needed from the creative players in the side, namely Suso and Calhanoglu.
Lucas Paqueta was equally as poor and after picking up a booking, he was replaced at half-time. Nevertheless, neither Suso nor Calhanoglu improved a great deal in the second half to grab hold of the game and make the difference.
Especially with the opposition reduced to 10 men, the pair needed to find more space and show their quality to unlock the Verona defence. Wasteful in the first half and lacking a decisive touch in the second, Giampaolo needs more from the pair or it could be a constant struggle for us to break teams down.
Piatek drought over
It may have been from the penalty spot, but Piatek will undoubtedly be a relieved man after ending his goal drought which stretched back to the start of pre-season.
Despite his struggles, he confidently dispatched his spot-kick into the back of the net to secure all three points, while he had another goal disallowed shortly after.
It still wasn’t the most impressive of performances, but the Polish striker showed signs of being a threat again and it’s hoped that the goal will give him a confidence boost to get back on track and start firing in the half-chances that come his way with the clinical edge we saw last season.