Hellas Verona managed to leave the San Siro with a 1-1 draw in a game between two teams dreaming of European football. Verona set up in a 3-4-3 formation which would adapt to a deep 5-4-1 when out of possession.
Verona started the game controlling the game, applying pressure to Milan whenever they initially lost possession which eventually led to Verona taking the lead through the marauding wing-back Faraoni. After taking the lead, Verona looked to defend what they had by sitting deep and clearing their lines throughout. Milan then equalised through a Hakan Calhanoglu free kick then asserted their dominance on the game, enjoying 62% possession and registering 26 shots attempted.
- 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 in this match
- Nationality: Albanian
- Age: 19
- Date of birth: 08/02/2000
- Current Club: Hellas Verona
- Career: Hellas Verona
- Position: Centre Back
- Preferred foot: Right
Kumbulla started on the left of Verona’s back 3, while being given freedom to support the attack with overlaps like Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United. The Albanian contributed well when he supported the attack, with penetrative passes and dribbles that effectively built attacks for Verona.
He looked composed on the ball, combining good close control with smart passing. Kumbulla combined well with his wing-back as well as his winger to progress the ball on the left hand side that created Verona’s first goal.
With Verona sitting in a low block, Kumbulla excelled in positioning himself to cut out incisive passes as well as dominating in the air, constantly winning crosses sent in to the box and relieving the pressure on their team.
There are a couple of areas that Kumbulla struggled with in this game, with 1v1 defending in wide areas and his physical strength standing out as areas of improvement. Usually in a low block, there isn’t a need for central defenders to cover wide areas and become involved in 1v1 duels, however with the game having periods where both teams were open, Kumbulla found himself in these duels. He constantly found Rafael Leao making his was past him either using his strength or dribbling past him, often leading to chances for Milan.
The Albanian’s pace is something to be revisited as there weren’t many, if any instances where he was required to break into anything faster than a quick jog.
Overall Kumbulla paired good defensive positioning with solid quality on the ball. There is a need to improve physically, as well as defending wide areas, but there is enough to suggest Kumbulla could progress to a good centre back.
Rating – B2
- Nationality: Moroccan
- Age: 23
- Date of birth: 21/08/1996
- Current Club: Hellas Verona, on loan from Fiorentina
- Career: FC Utrecht (Y), Feyenoord, Club Brugge, Hella Verona (L), Fiorentina, Hellas Verona (L)
- Position: Centre Midfield
- Preferred foot: Right
Amrabat started on the right side of a midfield pairing with Miguel Veloso, but throughout the game the pair were fluid in their positions, often popping up on opposite sides of the pitch to get involved in the play.
Amrabat had a strong game against Milan prior to being sent off for a stamp on Samu Castillejo in the 68th minute. He was combative throughout, breaking up Milan attacks and screening the centre of the pitch well. He was strong in the tackle, as well as being well versed in the art of the tactical foul.
The Moroccan also showed good quality with the ball at his feet, dribbling well in tight spaces as well as showcasing a great range of passing. Decision making on the ball was what shone for Amrabat in my eyes, being able to open his body out and switch play at the right time throughout the game.
All in all, Amrabat was an all action midfielder against Milan, combining great quality on the ball with a strong work-rate and tackling. However this performance would be marred by the sending off for an incredibly rash stamp.
Rating – B1
- Nationality: Italian
- Age: 22
- Date of birth: 21/04/1995
- Current Club: Hellas Verona, on loan from Atalanta
- Career: Monza (Y), AC Milan, Lecce (L), Catania (L), Como (L), Atalanta BC, Spezia (L), Hellas Verona (L)
- Position: Centre Midfield
- Preferred foot: Left
For this match, Pessina was played out of position as a right winger instead of his natural central midfield berth. Unfortunately this showed as Pessina looked out of place and does not have the needed attributes for a wide man.
In the defensive third, Pessina showed excellent work rate to constantly contribute to the attack as well as assisting the defenders when Verona lost the ball. However once Verona won the ball back, he would try and dribble in areas that weren’t smart, often losing the ball. When he would attempt dribbles, he would be eased off the ball by more athletic players, highlighting his lack of physicality.
In the attacking third, his first touch would often let him down and eventually stifle Verona’s attacks. Alongside this, Pessina’s decision making left much to be desired as well, in one situation he had the option to square a pass for an easy tap-in for his teammate, but chose to take an extra touch allowing Milan’s defenders to get back behind the ball and wasting an attack.
Rating – D