The return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the Stadio San Siro in December 2019 got here with a way of trepidation for a lot of AC Milan followers and his opening 4 months on the membership provided little in the best way pleasure.
Nevertheless, because the starting of the 2020/21 marketing campaign the 39-year-old has proven that he’s nonetheless one of many world’s finest strikers as he has led the Rossoneri to the highest of Serie A with ten targets in six video games.
Ibrahimovic’s impression on Stefano Pioli’s crew has by no means been extra evident than on Thursday night because the Rossoneri stumbled their technique to a 1-1 draw with Lille within the Europa League. With the previous Sweden worldwide lacking by way of harm Milan seemed nearly toothless in assault as they managed solely a solitary shot on course over the course of 90 minutes.
There was a definite lack of presence within the Rossoneri’s entrance line and so they couldn’t discover the innovative to interrupt open the strong Dogues defence regularly, with Samu Castillejo’s objective lower than a minute into the second half offering their solely notable attacking second.
In stark distinction Milan’s defence continued to indicate the brand new discovered self assured ease that has seen them lose just one recreation because the starting of the season. Even when beneath heavy stress within the last quarter of the competition they seemed unwavering and if it wasn’t for a heavy deflection serving to Jonathan Bamba’s effort previous Gianluigi Donnarumma they might have left the Stade Pierre Mauroy with all three factors.
Nevertheless, with Ibrahimovic anticipated to be sidelined for the Rossoneri’s subsequent two video games Pioli might want to discover a technique to stability his crew’s defensive dominance with a unique type of assault in the event that they’re to additional their lead on the high of the Serie A desk.
Ante Rebic was the person chosen to interchange Ibrahimovic in Lille and he did little to fill his boots as he struggled to make an impression on the competition. The Croatia worldwide, who has solely made 5 league appearances to date this season because of an elbow harm, has been unable to search out the shape that noticed him rating eleven targets in a 15 recreation span on the tail finish of the 2019/20 marketing campaign and he seemed rusty on Thursday night.
He provided little in the best way of a bodily presence for the Rossoneri and he was unable to play himself into the sport in opposition to the onerous nosed Dogues defence, Pioli finally changed him with Lorenzo Colombo on the hour mark.
POSSESSION DOESN’T MEAN PRIZES
Regardless of the rating line Milan managed the competition for over an hour as they’d the lion’s share of possession and seemed snug on the ball. Nevertheless, you don’t get factors for possession and their incapacity to create alternatives price them on the night because the Dogues compact defensive position simply handled any threats.
Ibrahimiovic was as soon as once more the lacking hyperlink, his capability to carry the ball up and convey these round him into the sport is second to none and the Rossoneri seemed misplaced with out him.
SOLID AT THE BACK
The Rossoneri’s defence has been rock strong to date this season and so they offered one other tremendous show on Thursday night as they held agency when known as upon. They might have been forgiven for being nervous after being on the top of a shock 3-0 defeat, Milan’s solely lack of the season to date, by the hands of the Dogues solely 21 days earlier, however they seemed calm and managed all through the competition.
Having solely conceded eight targets in Serie A to date this season, with solely Juventus and Hellas Verona having conceded much less, Pioli’s crew have grow to be a pressure to be reckoned with.
PIOLI’S ATTACKING OPTIONS
With Ibrahimovic and his typical alternative Rafael Leao each lacking for the quick future Pioli is left with a troublesome resolution on the subject of filling the attacking void. Though Rebic provided little to the crew in opposition to Lille it might be anticipated that he continues to steer the road in the interim, however with Daniel Maldini and Colombo each providing a mixture of youthful exuberance and tempo the coach nonetheless has loads in his attacking arsenal ought to he want it.