Milan secured all three points against Udinese in dramatic fashion on Sunday as they eventually sealed a 3-2 win in injury-time thanks to Ante Rebic.
It was a nightmare start at San Siro as Gianluigi Donnarumma’s rash decision to rush out of his goal led to Udinese’s opener, but goals from Rebic and Theo Hernandez swung the game back in our favour.
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However, it looked as though after that stirring comeback we would drop two points after Kevin Lasagna’s late equaliser, but Rebic stepped up to emerge as the hero deep into injury time to spark wild scenes of celebrations amongst the home faithful.
Rebic relief after big impact
It has been a real struggle for Rebic since his move last summer as he has had limited playing time and has failed to make a positive impact when involved.
Finally, he was able to have an influence off the bench this weekend as he showed his goalscoring instincts and quality finishing to bag a brace and secure a vital win for us in the process.
He showed more confidence too with his direct running and taking on defenders after his first goal, and it’s hoped that this is now the start of seeing much, much more from him in the coming weeks if he has earned a more prominent role in Stefano Pioli’s plans.
Theo Hernandez continues to shine
His goal deserved to be the winner such was the quality of his strike, but ultimately that wasn’t to be. Despite that, he continues to make a huge impact for us in attack and it’s great to see.
Constantly motors down the left flank to provide us with width and while he still needs to improve defensively as Udinese had some joy in the space vacated by him after going forward, his contribution and overall influence on our performances is vital.
That’s now five goals in 16 Serie A appearances so far this season, and with goals being a problem for our attack for the most part, he’s proving to be a crucial and smart signing from Milan.
Bonaventura struggles in 4-4-2
There’s no denying that Giacomo Bonaventura can still play a pivotal role for us, but in a 4-4-2 system on the left flank, he’s going to struggle.
Many Milan fans won’t like to read this and will disagree, but Hakan Calhanoglu’s energy and work-rate off the ball is absolutely crucial on the left flank specifically in this formation, similarly to what Samu Castillejo offers on the opposite side.
Rebic did a great job after coming on to suggest that he should now get a chance instead, but it’s hard to see Bonaventura keeping his place in this system as he doesn’t have the legs for it to put in the defensive work needed.
Credit to Donnarumma
His decision to rush out which led to Udinese’s first goal was really poor, and it did appear to adversely affect his performance thereafter with some wayward distribution of the ball.
However, he deserves credit for the key saves he made after that as it kept us in the game and put us in a position to go on and win it.
Naturally, in an ideal world Donnarumma wouldn’t make such mistakes. He’s not perfect, but it was reassuring to see him bounce back from that early disappointment.
Pioli half-time talk does trick
Whatever was said at half-time worked a treat, as Milan played with more tempo, urgency and intensity on and off the ball to pick up the pace after a drab opening 45 minutes.
While we took a backward step defensively this weekend as Udinese had several great chances to put the game away, our attacking play was much better in the second half.
If the players can learn from that and replicate the success they had in the final third with sharper and quick passing moves to open teams up, we’ll have a much better chance of scoring more goals moving forward as that has been a real problem for us so far this season.