AC Milan – Bologna: Big Game Motta Gives Pioli Problems (2-2)
Having lost to just two of the top-half teams so far this season, Bologna impressed at the San Siro through their dynamic deep buildup and switch to pragmatism. AC Milan found a route, but with two penalties missed and dry spells throughout, groans at the Pioli playbook rumble once more.
Tactical analysis and match report by Joel Parker.
The split between Scudetto sprinters and Champions League chasers is widening, AC Milan appears between those lines.
Milan entered the new year with an upturn in form, which has continued through to January. With five wins from their last six in Serie A, Stefano Pioli is still reliable at putting good off-ball plans together, whilst Olivier Giroud ages like a fine wine in the attack - seventeen goal contributions this season. Disrupting the bout between Juventus and Inter is a tough task, but not entirely out of Milan’s reach.
Having sat in the mid-range of Serie A for many years, Bologna has shown that they are ready to punch above it under Thiago Motta. Backline adaptations and effective high pressing have made Bologna tough to beat, only the top two teams have lost fewer games than Motta’s team. However, a run of three matches without a win had slowed the momentum down.
As Malick Thiaw and Fikayo Tomori remain on the sidelines, Milan has relied on the duo of Simon Kjær and Matteo Gabbia to fill in the center-back spots. Tijani Reijnders was a doubt, but he remained in the midfield and Pioli made zero changes, from the team that beat Udinese.
Four changes were . . .