How ‘predictable’ AC Milan can get back on track

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For the first time since 2006 AC Milan have played out two consecutive goalless draws. While they remain fourth in Serie A standings, the failure to register goals as of late has bred serious concerns amongst Milanisti. With many fans looking towards high-profile forward, Gonzalo Higuain for goals, the Argentinian striker has largely disappointed this year. Arriving in Milano from Juventus on deal which could see the Rossoneri pay up to 55 million euros, Higuain has only managed to find the back of the net on five occasions across twelve Serie A appearances. In addition to this, it should be noted that as a collective Milan have struggled on offense. Suso, who started this season as one of the best players in the league, has failed to register a single assist in his last five games (previously posting a league high eight assists). Furthermore, the blame must also be shared by those in charge. Head coach, Genaro Gattuso, once again showed his inexperience against Bologna, as he approached the game seemingly under-prepared. However, despite their recent issues, fans shouldn’t take this as anymore than a bump in the road, although it remains imperative Milan do take action in order to ensure success throughout the season.

In order for Milan to get back on track, change must once again occur. Milan began the season struggling defensively, failing to keep a clean sheet until round 11 of the season, but since fixing that issue the Rossoneri have begun struggling offensively. Scoring only three goals in their last five games, Gattuso lamented his team’s performance on Tuesday night against Bologna as, “sterile and easy to decipher”. Comments such as these beg the question as to whether the team was fully prepared or not?

The attitude of the squad should not be called into question, as under Gattuso the players have proven their commitment and dedication for the red and black jersey. This leaves the root of the issue to stem from a tactical and individual level. From a tactical standpoint Milan have recently left much to be desired. Majority of the offense tends to run through the individual abilities of Higuain and Suso. While both players are capable of producing and scoring, too much of the heavy lifting is being done these two players. Gattuso should aim to involve more of his players offensively and work heavily on the teams ability to transition into offense. Often the transition from midfield to attack lacks any real fluidity and drive. Players like Kessie and Bakayoko have both shown their ability to break lines with their passing and running, however often fail to link up in dangerous ways with the forwards. With the coming fixtures growing tougher and tougher Gattuso needs to figure out the teams offensive struggles soon if he hopes to maintain or improve their current standings in the league.

Kessie during Milan v Bologna (18-12-2018)

As Milan fans demand success and grow impatient with results, there have been many requests for change. Most notably with coach Gattuso. While its easy to understand much of the frustration being voiced, sacking Rino may not be the best option for the club. Since his promotion from the youth team in November of 2017, Milan have slowly began finding their identity as a team. Playing a gritty never say die brand of football, Milan have managed to grind out results in difficult conditions, while also showing they have all the potential to play beautifully at the same time. While the lack of consistency has definitely harmed the Rossoneri, the history of removing a coach at such an inopportune time speaks for itself at AC Milan. Over the past five years the Rossoneri have shuffled through an alarming six coaches, giving only one Vincenzo Montella a whole season in charge. Such displacement makes any sort of consistency impossible for a team, as players are constantly forced to adapt to a new system and style of play. Factoring in all of this, I plead with you to ask yourself whether or not removing Gattuso is truly best for the club. For the sake of the players, the club and for any success Milan intend to have this year, keeping Gattuso as head coach for at least the remainder of the season should be a top priority for Milan.