Milan got back to winning ways on Monday night as we secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Torino at San Siro with Ante Rebic proving to be decisive again.
The 26-year-old struck in the 25th minute with what turned out to be the winning goal, as we moved up to joint sixth place in the Serie A table.
Importantly, the gap to fourth spot is back down to 10 points, and it’s hoped that we can now put together another winning streak to keep ourselves in contention while there were several talking points from the win over the Granata.
Rebic continuing impressive form
That’s now five goals in his last five Serie A games, while he’s also bagged a goal and an assist in two Coppa Italia outings since the turn of the year.
He looks a real threat in the final third when he’s in possession, but it’s his killer instinct in the box which is making him pivotal for us right now.
His finish to break the deadlock was a composed, controlled effort into the back of the net to show the level of confidence he has in front of goal now and he’s firmly established himself as a decisive figure in the side who simply can’t be left out.
🔴⚫ Milan get the breakthrough!
👏 And who else would get the opener but the in-form Ante Rebić!
🔥 That's 5 league goals since the start of 2020 for the Croatian pic.twitter.com/b0jsP1PJpV
— Premier Sports 📺 (@PremierSportsTV) February 17, 2020
Castillejo adding quality to work ethic
That’s now four assists this season for the Spaniard, and similarly to Rebic, his upturn in form has come in 2020 as three of those have been delivered in the last few weeks.
Castillejo offers a superb work ethic as displayed in his defensive work off the ball, but the big test was always going to be if he could couple that with quality in the final third.
He’s starting to show more positive signs, and although there is still plenty of room for improvement, as seen with the second-half chance he squandered, he’s moving in the right direction. Having snapped up the chance to cement his place in the side on the right flank, he’s starting to deliver consistently.
Paqueta struggles to take chance
It was a big night for the Brazilian as he got his chance to play off Zlatan Ibrahimovic with Hakan Calhanoglu ruled out due to injury.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t a particularly positive performance as there were too many sloppy moments and misplaced places which outweighed the positive bits of play that he was involved in.
It remains to be seen when he’ll next get a chance in the starting XI, or perhaps in the line up at all, as he simply wasn’t able to grab his opportunity and prove his worth with a much-needed big performance and that is a real disappointment given I was rooting for him to produce.
Bennacer could be dominant with right midfield partner
The bookings are an ongoing concern and he does need to tidy up that aspect of his game, as that’s now 11 cautions for the season.
However, his positive play in possession coupled with his combative work off the ball continue to see him shine in our midfield, and it could be argued that if he gets the right partner in the heart of the side, he could be even more dominant.
Tiemoue Bakayoko’s name has been mentioned a lot on social media as an ideal midfield partner for Bennacer, but whether it’s a return for the Frenchman or the arrival of a player with similar characteristics, Milan will perhaps be considering a signing in that department to really allow the Algerian international to fulfil his full potential.
Serie A debut for Gabbia, bright future ahead
There was a big moment for the 20-year-old as he made his Serie A debut, and judging from this performance, Stefano Pioli will surely have no concerns over showing faith in him again moving forward.
For those that followed our pre-season campaign, Gabbia already looked impressive and could arguably count himself a little unlucky not to have featured this year.
However, he slotted in really well after Simon Kjaer was forced off with an injury, as he showed good awareness, positioning and looked comfortable playing it out from the back too.
We’ve seen a number of our young talents come and go in recent years with Manuel Locatelli and Patrick Cutrone coming to mind. It’s hoped that Gabbia can carve himself out a permanent spot in the squad moving forward and if Kjaer and Mateo Musacchio are sidelined, he has a big chance of doing so in the coming weeks.
— AC Milan (@acmilan) February 17, 2020