AC Milan May Have to Wait for Title Tilt4 min read
AC Milan have been here before. This time last year, they headed into a new Serie A season with renewed hope and ambition. Big money had been spent in the summer window, and so some pondered whether the Rossoneri could challenge once again at the top of the Italian game. This hopes was misplaced as AC Milan finished a lowly sixth.
This summer, though, saw the same cycle repeated, with new owners pumping cash into the San Siro outfit. Over £100 million was spent on the signings of Gonzalo Higuain, Mattia Caldara, Nikola Kalinic, Diego Laxalt, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Pepe Reina and Alen Halilovic, raising the prospect of a Rossoneri resurgence this summer.
That resurgence got off to a losing start at the weekend, though. AC Milan looked to be cruising to an away win over Napoli before allowing Carlo Ancelotti’s side back into the game, conceding a late winner as all three points slipped away from them. It left a familiar feeling for the Rossoneri, who have grown accustomed to crushing disappointment over the past few years.
Of course, the argument could be made that AC Milan were never expected to claim a result away to Napoli. There are questions over Ancelotti’s appointment there, but they still boast the third best squad in Serie A (at least on paper). But Gennaro Gattuo must find solutions for a number of problems that were experienced on Saturday.
For starters, AC Milan looked uncomfortable playing out from the back. Against a team as dangerous as Napoli in attack, this was a risky game to play, and they ultimately paid for it. Lucas Biglia also looked vulnerable in the centre of the pitch. The Argentinean was a key figure for the Rossoneri in his first season there, but his performance against Napoli was cause for concern.
Suso was impressive, but some will argue that AC Milan have become too dependent on him to create in the final third. Higuain needs service from more than just one source. Gattuso must work on bringing variety to his side’s attacking play, otherwise their big summer signing will be starved of the supply line he needs to thrive.
Then there’s Gattuso himself. Antonio Conte continues to cast a shadow over the former midfielder, with the 49-year-old, who is currently out of work after leaving Chelsea in the summer, reportedly lined up to replace the current AC Milan boss whenever he flames out. In that environment, it will be hard to succeed.
AC Milan are a club and team in transition right now. This season is too early for them to mount a serious title challenge, as demonstrated by their collapse against Napoli at the weekend. But what they do over this campaign would set the tone for what follows in the years to come.
AC Milan Odds:
Serie A Top 4 Finish
Seie A Winner without Juventus