Last season, AC Milan powered their way to their first Serie A title since the 2010/11 season and the former European powerhouse was touted to relive the glory days in the seasons that follow. However, all signs this season point to a stiffer opposition to Milan’s return to dominance of Italian football.
In the 90s, AC Milan was the giant of Italian football, winning five league titles between 1992 and 1999. However, the tide turned on them after that and they only managed three titles between the year 2000 and last season. It has definitely been a bumpy ride for the Italian giants.
This season, after seven matches, clear cracks have been seen that should really concern the Milan fans. The biggest of all their concerns, especially coming against the league leaders Napoli in the last game, will be in the finishing. Milan were effective in their passing but poor in finishing.
Over the past seasons, a blunt attack has always come to be the difference between securing a place in Europe, and in which particular European competition. This is a concern that can’t be overlooked, especially with a number of key injuries among forward players at the team.
Such a concern comes when teams that would be glad to play in the Europa League threaten AC Milan’s dominance and placing in the Serie A table. Lazio and Roma, who rate highly in the Europa League predictions on SportyTrader are all over AC Milan, while Atalanta and Udinese, who don’t have European football this season also pose big threats to Milan’s chances.
While their finishing is a key concern, Milan will also have to worry about defence. No side in the top six has conceded more than them after the opening seven matches. Eight goals conceded in seven matches is not so good for the defending champions and with Inter Milan and Juventus already seeming subdued, Milan could also be victims of the new Serie A order.
The traditional Italian top four, that had Milan, Juventus, Inter and AS Roma is slowly disappearing as Napoli and Atalanta threaten to take over dominance of the league with Lazio also showing glimpses. All these being teams that would previously be playing with the Europa League their target, means there’s a shift that needs to be addressed in good time by the giants, led by Milan.
Stefano Pioli is the man to craft Milan’s way out of the current lows. His next assignment after the international break will be against Empoli, an opponent that ranks low and hasn’t been superb against Milan in recent matches but can be sticky at times. In preparation for this game, Pioli will have a number of injury concerns to deal with, exacerbated by the international break.
Frenchman Mike Maignan suffered a calf injury on international duty and is definitely out of this game. He adds to concerns over the fitness of Davide Calabria, Theo Hernandez, Simon Kjaer and Sandro Tonali. Meanwhile Divock Origi could be on the bench for this game, alongside Ante Rebic.