Milan

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Round 4

Internazionale 1 - 2 Milan
2020-10-17 18:00 More Reports
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2020-10-22 21:00:00 More Previews
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Season Guide
2020/2021

Milan

In


Pierre Kalulu (def)(Olympique Lyonnais); Alexis Salemaekers (mid)(Anderlecht, loan made permanent); Simon Kjaer (def)(Sevilla, loan made permanent); Pepe Reina (gk)(Aston Villa, end of loan); Ricardo Rodriguez (def)(Psv, end of loan); Alen Halilovic (mid)(Heerenveen, end of loan); Sandro Tonali (mid)(Brescia); Brahim Diaz (mid)(Real Madrid)

Out


Suso (att)(Sevilla); Ricardo Rodriguez (def)(Torino); Gustavo Gomez (def)(Palmeiras); Asmir Begovic (gk)(Bournemouth, end of loan); Alessandro Plizzari (gk)(Reggina, on loan); Marco Brescianini (mid)(Virtus Entella, on loan); Giacomo Bonaventura (sp)(mid)(released); Lucas Biglia (sp)(mid)(released)

Milan lived a double-faceted campaign last season as they were hopeless at the beginning, with coach Giampaolo at the helm, and improved just a little once Pioli was given the reins. Then, football stopped due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the Devils changed radically. In fact, they were the ones who benefited the most from a return to the competitions, going undefeated in the last 12 and achieving qualification to the Europa League. Their results were so impressive that the management had to change their minds about Pioli’s future. They had already chosen guru Ralf Rangnick as his successor but eventually opted to confirm the former Bologna and Lazio coach at the helm. Had the German coach been in charge, Milan would have invested a massive amount of cash over the summer: with Pioli at the helm, they decided to be slightly more parsimonious. First of all, they managed to turn into permanent deals Kjaer’s and Salemaekers’s loans. Both players offered surprising performances last season and their permanence at the club is well deserved. Then, they obtained Diaz on loan from Real Madrid and he is expected to earn himself a start as a winger in the long run, in a 4-2-3-1 formation that worked so well just a few months ago. However, they invested the most on Tonali, the young Brescia holding midfielder who is set to become a protagonist of Italian football. Last but not least, they were more than pleased to convince 37-year-old Ibrahimovic to remain one more year at the club, after he had made the difference last season with his goals, 10, and assists, 5. In terms of departures of note, Milan only let go Biglia, who spent most of the time injured, and Bonaventura. The latter’s exit could turn out to be a mistake as he left a big mark on last season, serving 6 assists in the last 9 games despite starting mostly from the bench. At the moment, Milan are still searching for a right-back, Conti is not entirely reliable; a back-up goalkeeper, with Begovic returning to his parent club, one more alternative for the heart of the defence and for the midfield.

Target


Milan are aiming at a return to the top 4 but a lot will depend on Ibrahimovic and Rebic, last season’s main scorers. If they prove capable of repeating themselves, the Devils might have an opportunity to fight for a return to the Champions League as they should be solid in all departments.

Season Review
2019/2020

№6: Milan

AC Milan finished one place and a couple of points worse off than last season but there seems to be more optimism around the club at the end of this campaign - which is surprising given the way it started. Marco Giampaolo was appointed manager after overachieving at clubs like Empoli and Sampdoria but the Milan hotseat proved a little too much for him. The warning signs came in the first game of the season as the Rossoneri limped to a defeat at Udinese without having a shot on target. Giampaolo failed to reproduce the attractive football his previous sides had displayed and lost 4 of his first 7 Serie A matches before being shown the door. Stefano Pioli was the surprise choice to replace Giampaolo and his appointment was met with disdain by the Milanista - having previously managed bitter rivals Inter and never really turned up any trees at his previous clubs. Pioli initially struggled - losing 3 of his first 5 games but those were all against top sides. The coach then managed to steady the ship and, aside from an embarrassing 5-0 defeat to a rampant Atalanta, Milan went unbeaten in 11 games across all competitions before another poor result in a big game when they surrendered a 2-0 lead to lose the derby to Inter. The Coronavirus break came at a good time for Milan who won just once in 7 games before the lockdown. When action resumed in June - Il Diavolo were a completely different animal and didn't lose a single game across all competitions (W9 D4). They began scoring goals for fun and the slayed the demon of the derby capitulation by coming back from 2-0 down themselves to beat champions Juventus 4-2. A huge catalyst for Milan's change in fortunes was the return of the prodigal son Zlatan Ibrahimovich. His departure from the club in 2012 led to the Rossoneri's decline from the summit of Italian football but the Swede lifted spirits when he arrived from the MLS in January. His personality both on and off the pitch gave Milan some much needed character. Despite only playing half the season - no one made a bigger impact than Ibrah who scored a very respectable 10 goals in 18 games. He made others around him better including Ante Rebic who ended the season as the club's top scorer. Franck Kessie started to show glimpses of the powerful box-to-box midfielder he was at Atalanta whilst Theo Hernandez was the best summer signing, providing thrust from left-back with 7 goals and 5 assists. Milan's late season run saw them qualify for Europe but it was still largely expected that Pioli would only be a temporary solution until former RB Leipzig coach Ralf Rangnick arrived as the new manager. However, the club made a sudden u-turn and decided to offer Pioli a new contract. No one can say he didn't earn it but they must now back him in the transfer market if they want to return to former glories.


Player of the Season: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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