Updated: 11 Jan 2021, 8:37 CRISTIANO RONALDO continues to close in on becoming the highest goalscorer of all time after netting in injury-time for Juventus in a 3-1 home win against Sassuolo. email protected January 12, 2021 No Comments The first breach of truce was made around 11.30am with Pakistan resorting to unprovoked firing and heavy mortar shelling along the LoC, targeting forward Indian posts and civilian areas in Shahpur.
AC Milan continue to score goals but most importantly they also persist with being very difficult to predict.
With so many key players missing for the trip to face Sassuolo on Sunday like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Simon Kjaer, Matteo Gabbia, Ismael Bennacer and Ante Rebic, many were predicting an in-form Neroverdi side to finally end the Rossoneri’s long unbeaten run.
Confident punters might have even had a bet on the prospect using a sign-up offer, but Milan again put their struggles to one side to prevail 2-1 thanks to goals from Rafael Leao and Alexis Saelemaekers.
As MilanNews reports, the Rossoneri have scored two or more goals per game in each of their last 15 league games, beating the Grande Torino record (still at 13). Just a year ago, one of the biggest problems facing the days of work at Milanello was the poor goal scoring, yet today it seems so natural that it doesn’t even make the news anymore.
Scoring with this consistency means that the team works well and follows the coach’s orders with pleasure, as well as the fact that every element of the group is always ready to give a little something extra to lend a hand to their team-mates.
Pioli continues to dismantle all criticisms aimed at his Milan, with the latest one being an addition to Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swede entered the group with the right attitude, managing to make a difference at Milanello as well as on the field in games, and he has netted 10 times in six league games.
However his body has – for the time being – told him to rest, and many thought that the goals in such a young team without a natural centre-forward to step in would dry up. Far from it.
With Rebic still not adapting the role of striker well and Leao still not at his best from a physical point of view, the goals came from midfielders and defenders, but then things seemed to unlock.
Pioli himself spoke of his choices after the Sassuolo game: “Today we almost wanted to play without a centre-forward, with Diaz and Calha between the lines without giving references. Strong teams know how to adapt to characteristics of those who take the field without losing identity and characteristics.”
Milan have changed their way of attacking in a clear way compared to when they can rely on Ibra, with far fewer long balls from the defence and from the full-backs and instead lots of sharp passing moves on the ground to utilise the speed, movement, awareness and intelligence of the forward group.
The game focused on the flanks by exploiting the ability of the wingers and Leao in one-on-one situations, with the central players entering the spaces created by their team-mates. The search for depth was evident, as was the desire to never give the ball away.
The team was very good at coping with the absences, at adapting to a dangerous opponent and above all at adapting to the ideas of Mr. Pioli.
Milan battled to a 2-1 win over Sassuolo this week and it took a huge effort from the players to dig deep and find a way to claim all three points as tired legs set in.
The Rossoneri have been superb since the restart, and that’s despite having to play almost every three days as they have put in one brilliant shift in after another in each game that they’ve played.
It looked ominous early on at Sassuolo, as the hosts were looking threatening as they found spaces in our half in between the lines and created some opportunities.
Fortunately though, we were able to settle and get a foothold in the encounter before Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s opener certainly gave us a boost to go on and dictate proceedings for the most part. There were two key reasons behind that…
A key factor behind why were able to get ourselves in the game after the opening 10 or 15 minutes, was how we pressed high up the pitch and did so very effectively.
As seen in the first image below, this was in the build-up to the first goal with Franck Kessie and Ismael Bennacer pushing into Sassuolo’s half and the pass was in fact intercepted by the former, who then began our build-up play which resulted in Ibrahimovic heading home our opener.
In the second image, it was the same story in the second half as we forced Andrea Consigli into an error with Kessie again pouncing having pressed high up the pitch, and on that occasion it led to Bennacer hitting the post from distance.
Generic lateral. This flipped the pressure that was being put on us in possession onto Sassuolo, who then made mistakes and were punished as we continue to produce clinical performances in the final third.
The Milan pair linked up for both goals and as seen in the images below, it was a ‘simple’ one-two punch as they carved Sassuolo open with a decisive pass and Ibrahimovic put the ball in the back of the net.
An important factor behind why this is so effective is that Calhanoglu is now playing in a more natural role which makes the most of his qualities. For both goals he found space between the Sassuolo midfield and defence, is able to pick his head up and find the pass and his technical quality and passing ability does the rest to find his teammate.
Credit must also go to Ibrahimovic on both occasions though, as he still had a lot to do to find the back of the net, but he did so expertly to bag a brace and keep our great run rolling on ahead of facing Atalanta on Friday night.
From the high press to the link-up play between our attacking players, it was another excellent shift from all concerned as we certainly looked tired and sluggish in the opening stages.
With Bennacer and Theo Hernandez suspended vs Atalanta and Alessio Romagnoli injured, we may have to tinker and adjust our approach accordingly, but it’s imperative that Kessie, Calhanoglu and Ibrahimovic continue to have a major influence on games and that in turn will undoubtedly give us a better chance of keeping our winning streak going.