Five key talking points as Milan held by Napoli amid delight for Bonaventura

Milan Pioli Bonaventura Napoli

Milan were held to a 1-1 draw by Napoli at San Siro on Saturday night with Giacomo Bonaventura on the mark after the Rossoneri fell behind.

After the positive signs against Juventus prior to the international break, it was hoped that Milan would pick up from where they left off in Turin, but also match the performance with three points.

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It was a potentially crucial encounter in our bid to move up the Serie A standings, and while it was a deserved point, time will tell whether or not it proves to be a costly missed opportunity to secure a win.

Delight for Bonaventura

From being named in the starting line-up to replace the suspended Hakan Calhanoglu to firing in a superb strike to grab an equaliser, it was a real joy to see Bonaventura score and celebrate with the fans.

His technical quality and class on the ball is matched by a great work ethic and most importantly an obvious intelligence on the pitch that many of his teammates lack, on and off the ball.

It’s hoped that he can now avoid any further injury setbacks and get a long run of games under his belt, and if he can, there’s little doubt we’ll see him make a crucial contribution moving forward.

Biglia a passenger

While the midfield stalwart did his job for most of the game, albeit a very limited one, the way in which he fades is a real concern as he ultimately becomes a bystander.

For most of the second half he was simply watching play go on around him while we were in and out of possession as he jogged around his zonal area and in fact surrendered possession a couple of times too which led to some dangerous situations for Napoli.

That makes Ismael Bennacer pivotal for us moving forward, as there are surely real question marks over Biglia’s influence on games, especially against the top sides.

Rebic confidence draining

While he did pick up a knock in the first half after being drafted in as a late replacement for Suso, the Croatian international needs a big moment in a game soon.

From his headed miss at the back post to giving away possession cheaply on countless occasions, he struggled to have a positive influence on the game.

That in turn is leading to a negative reception from the fans every time he gives the ball away and his confidence is surely being drained the longer it goes on.

Piatek goal drought a problem

Milan’s No.9 has now scored just three goals in 13 appearances this season as his troubles in front of goal continue and it’s starting to become a real worry.

He did show signs of improvement in his link-up play and was more involved in our build up by dropping deeper, but from snatching at chances to lacking a real menacing threat in the final third, he doesn’t even look a problem for opposition defences right now.

As noted by Calciomercato, we continue to be linked with making an offer for Zlatan Ibrahimovic to join us in January, and it’s hoped a deal can be done as not only would his quality, experience and mentality make a huge difference in itself, but he could help the likes of Piatek on and off the pitch to also take the pressure off.

Milan need to move through to next gear

While we’ve put together impressive performances under Stefano Pioli, Milan need to now kick on and start putting results together and begin to move up the table as we’re stuck languishing in the bottom half.

There is arguably little doubt that the standard of our play has improved, particularly going forward as we look to have more of an identity, urgency and direction to our work, but the weeks can’t pass by with the same positives being discussed and no wins to go with them.

With Parma, Bologna and Sassuolo to come next, Milan have to be targeting nine points, and then we’ll perhaps see the pressure lessen, the tension dissipate and even more good football come our way.