AC Milan Pre-season Shows Signs of Success

AC Milan Pre-season

The AC Milan pre-season is now over with the Rossoneri set to kick off their 2022/23 Serie A campaign on Saturday afternoon versus Udinese. Victories were a common theme throughout the pre-season, with Milan winning four out of five major matches. Those wins came versus Köln from Germany, Wolfsberger from Austria, Marseille from France, and Vicenza from Italy. Milan did suffer one loss, however, to Zalaegerszegi from Hungary.

AC Milan Pre-season is Successful

Goal Scoring Shines

Milan scored 15 goals in the four matches they won. In one loss, the Rossoneri even managed to score two goals.

If anything, this provides an early glimpse that Milan will not struggle with goal-scoring this coming season. This is a positive sign as Milan didn’t stand above the pack as a dominant attacking team last season. Although they emerged victorious in the elusive battle for the Serie A crown, Milan were outscored by Inter Milan, Napoli, and Lazio. Inter actually scored 15 more goals than Milan, and further upgraded their attack with the return of Romelu Lukaku.

Milan’s defence proved to be the deciding factor in the title race last season, but there are positive signs from the attack. The 17 goals came from eight different players. New signings in the form of Divock Origi and Charles De Ketelaere should only help.

Return to Form for Ante Rebic

A very important storyline throughout Milan’s pre-season was the success of Ante Rebic. The Croatian scored once versus Wolfsberg and bagged a brace in the 6-1 drubbing over Vicenza.

Last season was a disappointment for the 28-year-old. Although he managed to appear in 24 league matches, he was often injured and typically came off the bench late in matches. Rebic played 875 minutes, which meant an average of just over 36 minutes per match. In those matches, he managed to score two goals in notch two assists.

The season prior, 2020/21, saw Rebic score 11 goals and provide seven assists in 27 league matches. He was a constant threat for Milan going forward and known as a “big game scorer.” Rafael Leao’s emergence as a star made up for Rebic’s lack of good performances last season, but a healthy Rebic will only mean success for Milan.

Pierre Kalulu Is Viewed as a Starter

The young Frenchman started every single pre-season match for Milan. Fikayo Tomori is clearly Milan’s top centre-back, although Kalulu joined him as a starter late in the season last year. This was because of Simon Kjaer’s injury as well as the poor performances of former captain Alessio Romagnoli who has now departed to Lazio.

Kjaer made his return during the pre-season, which is encouraging as he remains a solid player and astounding leader, but it’s clear now that Milan views Kalulu as a starter. Of course, there’s no reason not to. He shined last season and looked quite good throughout pre-season.

Milan had been searching for centre-backs during the summer, most notably Sven Botman who eventually joined Newcastle United, but all doubts surrounding Kalulu’s status at the club have been put to rest.

New Midfielders Join the Fold

Milan also made it quite clear with their squad decisions that Sandro Tonali and Ismael Bennacer will likely be the top starting options in the midfield double-pivot. There were question marks around this due to Franck Kessie leaving to FC Barcelona.

Tonali and Bennacer are both experienced in Serie A with the Rossoneri and are a talented duo. The depth, however, was yet to be determined.

Yacine Adli was purchased by Milan last summer but spent last season on loan with Bordeaux. He looked promising in the pre-season scoring a goal versus Wolfsberger and providing assists in other matches. He provided eight assists in Ligue 1 last season and Milan will look for more of that creativity.

Tommaso Pobega joined the squad again after spending last season on loan with Torino. He just extended his contract with the club until 2027, meaning they view him as a solid piece.

Rade Krunic is a favorite of manager Stefano Pioli and continued to show his versatility. Tiémoué Bakayoko, on loan from Chelsea, even played his fair share of minutes.

It remains to be seen if Milan have anything else up their sleeve regarding the midfield, but for now, the depth doesn’t look too shabby.