While it’s still premature to suggest that Milan are facing a crisis, unless results pick up sooner rather than later, the pressure will certainly increase on Marco Giampaolo.
The calls for patience and more time are already becoming excuses for some given we’ve managed two wins and two defeats in our opening four Serie A games, scoring just two goals in those outings.
For all the talk over the summer of Giampaolo’s style of play and brand of football, it’s undoubtedly taking longer than expected to see it flourish and while it’s only right that a new coach is given time to get his ideas across before producing results, time quickly becomes a luxury that they’re desperate for more of.
While it’s by no means a must-win game at this early stage of the campaign, Milan’s trip to Torino on Thursday night is an important moment for Giampaolo and the players, as it could be seen as a pivotal turning point if they can get all three points in such a difficult encounter.
With that in mind, the Rossoneri have to get the starting XI right, and that means making key changes from the side that were so disappointing against Inter last weekend.
Bennacer must start over Biglia
The importance of experience should never be underestimated, but we’ve seen on countless occasions that Lucas Biglia simply can’t dominate a midfield battle.
Ismael Bennacer’s energy, tenacity and technical quality surely make him the stand-out option for the regista role, and it’s baffling to an extent how he started against Brescia but has since been benched.
The 21-year-old is surely an ideal player for Giampaolo to implement his preferred style of play given his role in the heart of the side, and if we are to stamp our authority on the game in Turin, Bennacer must start to give us a foothold in midfield and to set the tempo as we try to dominate proceedings.
Time for Hernandez to replace Rodriguez
In a brief outing against Bayern Munich in the summer and after his cameo appearance against Inter, Theo Hernandez has already shown enough to make a strong argument that he should be ahead in the pecking order.
Similarly to Bennacer, he offers the energy, tenacity and high-tempo play on and off the ball that would surely suit Giampaolo’s brand of football, while he is undoubtedly a bigger attacking threat than Ricardo Rodriguez, who has offered little going forward.
With a lack of pace and a vulnerability to being caught out at the back post which he still hasn’t addressed, it seems like an no-brainer for Hernandez to now get his shot in the starting line-up having got much-needed minutes in his legs last time out.
Rebic should get nod over Leao
There is no doubt that Rafael Leao impressed after his surprise start against Inter, and his pace, movement and directness are undoubtedly attributes that Milan must use more as the season progresses.
However, Rebic has shown quality at a high level and offers similar characteristics, and so if Giampaolo is to persist with Suso behind Krzysztof Piatek as part of a three-man attack, he needs to add the Croatian international to the equation to give us a different dynamic in the final third.
As per MilanNews, it’s suggested that it will be Leao who gets the nod ahead of Rebic in midweek, while incidentally they add that Bennacer should start although Rodriguez will keep his place.
Giampaolo has surely seen the positive signs displayed by the players mentioned above though, just as we’ve seen them make a positive impact thus far. If he wants to help himself to get us on track and avoid facing more difficult questions, those are changes that he arguably has to make this week.