AC Milan – Match Report vs Genoa 08/03/2020

Ac Milan suffered a 2-1 defeat to relegation threatened Genoa, which leaves the Rossoneri 3 points behind Napoli in the race for Europe. Milan set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with their wingers moving inside and their full backs overlapping, aiming to break down the low block of Genoa.

The defensive 5-3-2 of Genoa looked to soak up pressure before counter attacking in the spaces behind Milan’s full-backs. Genoa were effective on the counter attack, scoring early on before grabbing a second towards the end of the first half. However the story of the game was the sheer wastefulness of the Milan frontline, only managing 4 out of 22 attempts on target.

Ratings

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average, don’t follow up

Matteo Gabbia

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Italian
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 21/10/1999
  • Current Club: AC Milan
  • Career: AC Milan (Y), Luchesse (L), AC Milan
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Secondary Position: Defensive Midfielder
  • Preferred foot: Right

Gabbia started only his second game for Milan as the right sided centre back in Milan’s back four. Gabbia was very composed on the ball, choosing to play safe passes to open teammates, finding them regularly.

Physically, Gabbia has a lot of the credentials for a top centre back. Standing at 6 foot tall, the 20 year old is aggressive in the air, winning a majority of the long balls aimed in his direction. He is quite slim in build, however it is to be expected that he would naturally bulk up as he ages. His pace was rarely tested in this match so should be revisited in the future but as a whole, Gabbia is more than capable of dealing with the physicality of the level.

With Milan dominating a majority of the game, there were few things for Gabbia to do. Throughout the game, his positioning and reading of the game allowed him to break up Genoa counter attacks as they were forming, by intercepting passes aimed in behind. Whilst his team conceded two goals, both were out of his control in terms of affecting the play.

Although Gabbia did not stand out as exceptional on the day, he showed glimpses of what could be another on the conveyor belt of quality Italian centre backs.

Rating – B2

Theo Hernandez

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: French
  • Age: 22
  • Date of birth: 06/10/1997
  • Current Club: AC Milan
  • Career: Atletico Madrid (Y), Alaves (L), Real Madrid, Real Sociedad (L), AC Milan
  • Position: Left Back
  • Preferred foot: Left

This wasn’t one of Hernandez’s best performances, as both Genoa goals came as a result of the Frenchman’s mistakes. The first goal for Genoa came from Hernandez being outmuscled then not chasing back, while the second goal stemmed from a cross from the right hand side that Hernandez did not close down.

However, the 22-year-old showed throughout the game why he is so highly touted in Europe. His sheer athleticism throughout the 90 minutes to work up and down the left hand side was phenomenal, providing an offensive option as well as his defensive duties.

Throughout the 90 minutes Hernandez found himself time and again in space on the left wing, highlighting his brilliant offensive positioning. Unfortunately, his end product left much to be desired, either overhitting crosses or not getting them past the first man.

Overall, Hernandez provided an excellent offensive threat for the Rossoneri and showed glimpses of quality, but his end product and defensive inconsistencies hindered his performance. Based on this performance it is clear that Hernandez can become one of Milan’s best players if he can become more consistent in the final third.

Rating – B1

Ismael Bennacer

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Algerian
  • Age: 22
  • Date of birth: 01/12/1997
  • Current Club: AC Milan
  • Career: AC Arlesian, Arsenal (Y), Tours (L), Empoli, AC Milan
  • Position: Centre Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Left

Bennacer started on the left of a double pivot with Franck Kessie, tasked with being the creative force in midfield. He was vital in progressing the ball for Milan, consistently picking the ball up deep from a defender before looking to fire a penetrative pass between the lines. He was very good at finding and creating space for himself before finding a teammate with a pass.

Throughout the game, Bennacer was the glue that held the left side of the Milan attack together, by linking up with Hernandez as well as Ante Rebic to attempt to break down the defensive block of Genoa. The Algerian was also very good at switching the ball to an overlapping Andrea Conti with sweeping diagonal passes.

A downside to Bennacer’s performance was his inability to hit the target from distance. He attempted 3 shots all from the edge of the box without a single one testing Mattia Perrin.

A further detriment to what was a solid performance from Bennacer was his inability to win tackles. When tasked with winning the ball back, Bennacer was not strong enough in the tackle at first which then led to him constantly committing fouls out of frustration.

On the whole, Bennacer was one of many Milan players that struggled to break down Genoa’s backline and ultimately take their chances. However it is clear that he possesses great creativity on the ball, an excellent range of passing and should be rewatched.

Rating – A2

Franck Kessie

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Ivorian
  • Age: 23
  • Date of birth: 19/12/1996
  • Current Club: AC Milan
  • Career: Stella Club, Atalanta BC, Cesena (L), AC Milan
  • Position: Centre Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

While Bennacer was tasked with supporting the forward line with creativity, Frank Kessie set out to provide the balance and steel to what was a pretty dominant Milan side.

With Milan pushing their full backs into advanced areas, Kessie showed incredible footballing intelligence, covering for the marauding Conti throughout the 90 minutes. Kessie broke up a number of Genoa counter attacks in the game highlighting his defensive prowess.

The Ivorian also showed his class on the ball too, in the few times during the game that Genoa looked to press he would use great body positioning as well as one and two touch passing to alleviate any pressure and build attacks for Milan.

With Milan’s wingers tucking inside and the full backs to making overlapping runs, it was crucial that there was a link between the defence and attack, Kessie provided the link brilliantly between Conti and Castillejo by utilising a range of passing either to feet or into the space out wide.

The only downside to what was a great showing from Kessie was losing his man for Genoa’s second goal. The Ivorian was left chasing shadows as the attacker he was marking turned in the cross following a flick on.

All in all it was a quality performance from Kessie, carrying out his defensive duties brilliantly for the most part as well as contributing to his teams attacks when possible. It is clear that Kessie is definitely seasoned in how to perform in Serie A, and at 23 years old could potentially move on to even bigger things.

Rating – B1

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