AC Milan managed to grab all three points against Dudelange, in front of their home fans. However, they certainly didn’t make things easy for themselves, conceding a second goal at the beginning of the second half. Here are three things we learned from the game.
1. Bakayoko is decisive for AC Milan’s midfield
Once again, the Frenchman put in a great shift in the centre of the pitch. It seems he’s gaining some self-confidence after a tough season in London, as well as a heavy start to his adventure at San Siro. Nevertheless, he’s starting to prove his real worth, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Milan decide to make use of the €35m clause in June, should he continue this way.
Tonight, he was decisive in the midfield, playing alongside Bertolacci. The latter didn’t have the best of games so Bakayoko was forced to take on more responsibility, which he did really well. In fact, according to WhoScored, he was the man of the match. Not surprising, considering that he completed 11/11 tackles, winning back the ball for his team on numerous occasions.
2. Calhanoglu performing after recovering from injury struggles
After having struggled with an ankle injury in the past few weeks, Calhanoglu has seemingly recovered. Against Lazio last weekend, we saw a glimpse of the Calhanoglu who did so well at the end of last season. Tonight, he returned, being a vital part of Milan’s turnaround. In fact, he was involved in all five goals, scoring one himself with a great low-driven strike.
Should he build on the game against Lazio, as well as tonight’s clash, then Rossoneri fans can expect to see the Calhanoglu of last season. Considering the number of injuries this squad has, his return is much needed, as his creativity would raise the overall quality of Milan’s left side.
3. Simic took his chance, Halilovic mediocre
On a more exciting note, with all due respect to Calhanoglu, Stefan Simic made his senior debut tonight. The 23-year-old has never really gotten the chance at the club, being loaned out multiple times, but Gattuso decided it was enough of that. Playing from the first minute, Simic paired up with Zapata in defence. The two did relatively well throughout the game, but surprisingly, Simic outperformed the Colombian.
In fact, in my opinion, he was probably one of the best players on the pitch, which is staggering given that he hasn’t played senior football since February. Now, of course, we shouldn’t get carried away: after all Dudelange was the opponent. However, his performance is a good sign for the upcoming games, especially given the lack of central defenders at Gattuso’s disposal. If he didn’t deserve playing time ahead of the game, then he certainly does deserve it now.
Unlike Simic, Halilovic failed to make the most of the opportunity. With that said, he wasn’t exactly bad, but neither was he fantastic. A few good twists and turns here and there, but that was all. Understandably, he was replaced by Suso in the second half.
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