internationals08 November 2021


Despite having to deal with injuries and unforeseen events, AC Milan have arrived at the final international break of the season with a historic points haul

From the comeback against Hellas Verona to the 1-1 Derby stalemate: the second cycle of matches between one international break and the next saw Stefano Pioli’s side pick up four wins and a draw. The Rossoneri have kept up the pace, building on what they’ve already done and remaining at the top of the table alongside Napoli. It’s AC Milan’s best-ever start to a Serie A season: the Diavolo have never done better than ten wins and two draws from their opening twelve matches of a top-flight season, with yesterday’s result meaning they’ve surpassed what they did at the beginning of the 1954/55 campaign.

The Rossoneri have picked up exactly the same number of points at home and on the road: five wins and one draw in both cases. It’s AC Milan’s best start to a Serie A season at San Siro since 2005/06, while the team’s current away record is a continuation of what they achieved last year and second only to the winning run at the start of the 1992/93 campaign. Particularly key is the fact that Coach Pioli has always been able to count on players who are ready to play, even when unforeseen events and absences have struck.

The first example that springs to mind is Tătăruşanu, who made headlines in the Derby following his penalty save and has really stepped up in the recent period after Maignan’s injury. Ciprian’s performances have been getting better and better, and the same goes for the rest of the backline, starting from Fodé Ballo-Touré and Pierre Kalulu on the flanks. They’ve always been ready to come in to give the starters a rest or, in some cases, replace them, like when Theo Hernández tested positive for COVID-19. But it’s not just the defence that has been important: Rade Krunić has also made his mark and shown himself to be more than capable of filling in for Brahim Díaz in the attacking playmaker role.

It means that Coach Pioli has valuable alternatives that he can use in his tactical setup alongside those who regularly start. The fact that so many Rossoneri players will be heading off on international duty in the next few days is testament to the high quality that the team possess. The Diavolo are enjoying a great spell, even if things didn’t go exactly to plan against Porto in the Champions League. Despite only picking up one point from two matches against the Portuguese side, there’s still the possibility of progressing from the group or transferring to the Europa League. The next cycle of games will determine what happens and bring 2021 to a close, with there being the opportunity for the Rossoneri to continue to grow and consolidate.

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