SPAL 2-2 AC Milan: Tops and flops for the Rossoneri – Paqueta bounces back with impressive display

After the impressive 2-0 win against Roma, AC Milan failed to make it three out of three as SPAL scored two early goals to shock the away side. The Rossoneri eventually found a way back but it took an own-goal to seal the draw, which will leave them disappointed as the two extra points would have been crucial. 

In many ways, Stefano Pioli’s men were unlucky but they should have done better against a ten-man SPAL. The first goal came too late (79th minute) and you could also argue that the manager shouldn’t have done that many changes, bringing in five players to try and revive the attack. 

Tops

Paqueta: The Brazilian hasn’t been given many chances this season, although it’s safe to say that he hasn’t shown enough when faced with an opportunity. This evening, however, he played from start and was probably the Rossoneri’s best player, putting in an impressive display.

We saw a glimpse of the Paqueta that did so well during Gennaro Gattuso’s reign, using his skills to advance on the field and create opportunities for both him and his teammates. On a few occasions, he could have made better decisions but overall a very positive performance.

Calhanoglu: The Turkish international was once again involved in a lot and it’s clear that Stefano Pioli sees him as a key player. Seemed to have equalised in the first half with a nice finish but the goal was ruled out for offside, and just before that he forced the goalkeeper to a really good save.

He managed to hit the post with a long-range effort at the beginning of the second half, but then dropped down when Ismael Bennacer was brought off. He did well in that role too, leading the Rossoneri’s attacks from scratch. His passing was also put to the test during the game and he responded with some lovely long-balls to switch the ball.

Flops

Gabbia: The youngster was given the chance from start, faced with the tough task of replacing Simon Kjaer, who was rested for tonight’s encounter. He never managed to live up to the Dane’s standards, certainly showing his inexperience on more than one occasion.

He should have done better on the first goal but certainly can’t be blamed for the second one. However, it’s clear that Kjaer is very important in the build-up phase and Gabbia was unable to fill his shoes. There are some things to improve on for the 20-year-old and he’s probably brutally aware of this.

Hernandez: We are used to Theo being one of our best players, if not the best, but tonight was nothing like that. The Frenchman looked sluggish and never really had an impact on the attacking phase, which is where he needs to be at his best. Was rightfully subbed off in the end.

Excluding the penalty he won against Roma, we haven’t seen what Hernandez is capable of and this will have to change as soon as possible. After all, Milan need their powerhouse on the left flank as Hakan Calhanoglu and Ante Rebic can only do so much in that phase.

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