After four games of misery, AC Milan finally managed to get the win, taking on SPAL at the San Siro. With that said, Gattuso will feel a bit more relieved heading into the new year, with his job (probably) intact.
The Rossoneri hadn’t scored for an incredible four games ahead of tonight’s clash: a spell which they, fortunately, managed to break. However, it didn’t start in the best way possible, as a Petagna effort took a wicked deflection off Romagnoli, putting it out of reach for Donnarumma in goal. The home crowd was certainly stunned as they away side ran away in celebration.
Luckily, though, it didn’t take more than three minutes for Milan to respond, as a sweeping ball from Kessie almost made its way through to Suso. The defender got there ahead of the Spaniard, but the clearance fell right at the feet of Castillejo, who fired a shot away on the volley. The goalkeeper could do nothing about it as it sailed into the top corner, and so the Rossoneri were back in the game.
As spoiled in the title, Milan did manage to find the winner as well. Calabria had just come on when he received the ball by Suso on the right flank. The youngster decided to cross it towards the back post, which turned out to be the right decision. Calhanoglu was on the end of it, and laid it off to Higuain, who broke his goal drought with a good finish. Down below are three things we learned from the game.
1. Bakayoko continues to be vital
The Chelsea loanee put in yet another great performance, certainly controlling the midfield along with Kessie. Not only did he get forward to support his teammates, but he also managed to do well as a sweeper, winning the ball back several times through tackles and aerial duels.
When going forward, it seemed like the ball was glued to his feet, as he rarely lost possession. In the second half, he got close to getting on the scoresheet, after a left-footed strike forced a good save out of Gomis. At this point, the Frenchman is absolutely crucial for Gattuso’s side, certainly living up to the €35m buy-out clause.
2. Donnarumma build on his heroics from previous weeks
The youngster seems like a completely different player, compared to the one who struggled during long periods of last season. Despite Milan being under a lot of pressure, for obvious reasons, Gigio has certainly managed to shake off all the nerves, playing an important role for Gattuso’s men as of late.
Just like against Frosinone, he made a great save in injury time, this time on Fares, whose header looked like a certain goal at the far post. Therefore, Donnarumma really deserves some praise for securing the three points. Couldn’t do much about the first goal, though, as it was certainly an incredible deflection on Romagnoli.
3. Calhanoglu might be on the way back
The Turk has certainly not enjoyed a good spell as of late, which he himself revealed during an interview earlier this week. Today, however, he was brilliant at times, dropping deep to direct the play. Since Castillejo occupied the left-wing, Calhanoglu was certainly allowed to have a more free role, which turned out to be a good tactical decision by Gattuso.
One of his main strengths, cross-field balls, was something we got to see a lot of today. For Milan’s attack, these are absolutely crucial as Calhanoglu is able to quickly change the side of play with pinpoint passes to the man on the right flank, which often happens to be Suso. Hopefully, he can build on this performance to come back even stronger, and prove the doubters wrong.
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