Milan eventually found a breakthrough and secured all three points at Parma on Sunday, as we claimed an important win which lifts us up the Serie A table.
Heading into a favourable run of fixtures prior to the festive period, the Rossoneri had an opportunity to start to build some momentum this weekend, and it looked as though it would slip away.
However, up stepped Theo Hernandez late on to seal the win, but such were the struggles and issues across the attack during the game, there are still lingering concerns for Stefano Pioli.
Milan dominate but no cutting edge
On a positive note, we dominated the game in terms of possession, creating chances and limiting Parma’s threat. With that in mind, Pioli can see this as an important step forward.
However, with a lack of quality in the final third to convert our chances into goals, we failed to kill Parma off as the opportunity to do so was there, and in turn ran the risk of dropping points.
Fortunately we eventually found the breakthrough, but unless Milan improve in front of goal and show an ability to score goals consistently, we’ll continue to struggle to prise inferior sides open and will make life difficult for ourselves against the top teams.
The Piatek, Calhanoglu and Suso problem
It’s easy to point the finger of blame solely at Krzysztof Piatek, and he certainly hasn’t helped himself with his poor form in front of goal and lack of quality in possession.
However, there is arguably a much bigger issue up front and that’s the lack of chemistry and understanding in the final third between the front three, as there seems to be a lack of awareness as to what Piatek’s strengths are and how he can potentially be more effective.
On several occasions the ball was begging to be played in for the Polish international as he made a clever run off the ball or was in a dangerous position in the box for the cross. Each time whether it was Hakan Calhanoglu or Suso, they chose a different option, and then ultimately chose the wrong option to go to Piatek where he isn’t going to threaten.
Suso disappointed as we await his bit of magic every few games, and while Calhanoglu’s work ethic can’t be questioned, he must show more quality to be decisive as he was when Pioli first arrived.
Theo Hernandez continues to shine
It’s rather damning that the summer signing is our joint top-goalscorer so far this season with three goals after 14 league games.
Nevertheless, he deserves the plaudits this weekend that come with his winning goal, as while there was a bit of good fortune involved, Hernandez made his own luck by being in a position to pounce on the chance and showed great composure to find the back of the net.
Coupled with his relentless running on and off the ball down the left flank and an improvement in his defensive work, he’s undoubtedly making a key contribution to the team.
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) December 1, 2019
Krunic deserves nod over Kessie
Being physical and an engine in the midfield isn’t enough from Franck Kessie anymore, and he’s struggling to show any real improvement and development in his overall game.
He’s making the same mistakes in front of goal and in attacking positions, while errors creep in as games go on as he seemingly drops physically and mentally.
Rade Krunic did a decent if not stand-out job of filling in for him in recent weeks, and it could now be argued that he deserves the nod in midfield ahead of his teammate moving forward.
Conti continues to build good form
There were real question marks hanging over Andrea Conti as after being plagued by serious injuries, there was concern as to whether or not he could return to the player he was at Atalanta.
While we’re not there yet, he’s showing a clear improvement in his performances both defensively and going forward, starting with cutting mistakes out.
Perhaps the consistent run of games and getting minutes under his belt is having a big impact, but it’s hoped he can now stay on this path and show that he can still be a key figure for us and a reliable presence at right-back.