Four crucial positives for Pioli as Milan prepare for Sassuolo clash

Stefano Pioli AC Milan

It hasn’t always been convincing but Milan have registered back-to-back wins over the past two games and will hope to extend that winning run against Sassuolo on Sunday.

This particular run of games was singled out as an opportunity to build some momentum heading into the winter break, as it could have a significant impact on and off the pitch when we return in January.

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While there are certainly still things for Stefano Pioli and the squad to work on and improve, there have also been several positives in what we’ve seen from the team since he was appointed and it’s hoped that we can pick up three more points this weekend to continue to climb the Serie A table.

Theo Hernandez vital attacking dynamic

While he still needs to improve defensively and better coverage is required when he attacks down the left flank, the summer signing is having a significant impact on our attack.

His tireless work ethic and ability to run with pace and control to beat his man and create dangerous situations on the left is becoming a hallmark of our overall play, while he’s also got four goals and an assist in 12 appearances so far this season.

After seeing so much of our play go down the right flank in recent years, we’ve got more of a balance to the side now and Hernandez has established himself as a key figure who will hopefully continue to provide Pioli with a real reliable source of goals and assists.

Bennacer showing signs of settling into role

After a difficult start to life at Milan, the 22-year-old appears to now be winning his battle with Lucas Biglia for a starting spot in the heart of our midfield.

That’s now five consecutive starts in games that he has been available for as he was suspended for the encounter with Napoli, and there is little doubt that he is having a big impact on our play.

From his improved defensive work and reading of the game to his combativeness and technical quality to start attacks and move the ball quickly, there was a lot of excitement over his arrival and he’s starting to show why as he can be the heartbeat of the side moving forward.

Piatek shows improvement

After weeks of criticism and scrutiny, and rightly so given his struggles in front of goal, Piatek produced arguably one of his better performances last weekend.

Aside from winning and converting a penalty to give us the lead, he did a better job of dropping back and getting involved in the build-up play while showing improvement in holding it up and bringing others into the game.

It’s a start considering how ineffective he has been previously, but he’ll hopefully be boosted in confidence by his performance last weekend and that will lead to another big display against Sassuolo as it would be such a huge relief if he can rediscover his prolific goalscoring form from last season.

Bonaventura return proving to be crucial

Having missed his presence so badly last season, it’s a real delight to see Bonaventura back healthy, fit and in form as he is starting to establish himself as a permanent piece in the XI after a string of appearances.

The 30-year-old has now scored two superb goals in three starts, and there is surely no discussion required over whether or not Milan should offer him a new deal given his current contract is set to expire at the end of the season.

His intelligence, technical quality and influence on the rest of the team on and off the ball is pivotal to our success moving forward, and he’ll no doubt be key in our attempts to unlock the Sassuolo defence this weekend as his creativity and attacking threat from midfield adds a dangerous dynamic to the side as a whole.

Those are four hugely important positives for Pioli and there are others from certain individuals and the team as a whole. However, it’s essential that we continue to get those crucial contributions and pick up results if we are to still have a chance of turning things around this season.