Although sitting one point behind fourth place, it’s been another disappointing start to the season by AC Milan. A few big names have flopped while injuries have ravaged the squad.
To make matters worse, the Rossoneri were eliminated from the Europa League after poor efforts in the group stage. There have been some shining moments that have brought hope, however, and with that being said, let’s take a look at Milan’s midseason awards.
Milan’s Midseason Awards
Most Valuable Player: Suso
Suso started off the season in scintillating form and was the main reason why Milan looked to be an early-season Champions League quality team. It’s no surprise that Milan’s form has dropped recently as Suso’s has as well.
With that being said, Suso has still been directly involved in 13 goals this season. In Serie A and the Europa League, the Spaniard has tallied five goals and eight assists.
When going forward, the majority of Milan’s players always look to Suso to create something. Although he has proven time and time again that he can create something out of nothing, a team of this calibre can’t rely on one player.
Suso, however, remains the focal point of the attack. Whether whipping in dangerous crosses or curling in an effort with his left foot, expect Suso to find his form after the break and continue to put up admirable performances.
He is Milan’s key to Champions League qualification.
Biggest Disappointment: Gonzalo Higuaín
The Argentine was supposed to launch Milan into the Champions League. Although the Rossoneri currently sit in fifth place, Higuaín has not lived up to expectations. He currently leads the team with eight goals in 20 appearances, but more was still expected.
For the past few years, Milan have struggled to find a true striker that they can rely on to finish a game. Higuaín was supposed to be exactly that but has just looked slightly above-average. Milan still struggle to score and even get chances on target.
Furthermore, Higuaín has shown a disgruntled attitude in many of his games in red and black. Milan has been a major step below Juventus in recent years, and Higuaín knew this when he opted to transfer. His guidance and leadership are key to uplifting a young squad like Milan’s.
Higuaín scored his first goal in a two-month span in Milan’s most recent victory over SPAL. This, alongside dismissing transfer rumours, creates hope that Higuaín will live up to expectations in the second half of the season.
Biggest Surprise: Tiemoué Bakayoko
Bakayoko’s arrival in Milan was not met with much excitement. Once an exciting prospect at Monaco, the Frenchman flopped at Chelsea and was arguably the team’s worst performer last season. Desperate to get him off the books, the Blues loaned Bakayoko out to Milan.
The midfielder’s start at Milan was awful, to say the least. He looked lost on the pitch, so much so that he received whistles from Milan fans. Bakayoko showed great willpower, however, and vowed to change the whistles into cheers.
He has done just that with his recent newfound position in the starting XI. Milan manager Gennaro Gattuso had no choice but to start Bakayoko when Milan lost Lucas Biglia and Giacomo Bonaventura to injury.
Bakayoko has been very consistent and earned various “Man of the Match” performances from Milan as voted on by fans. He has been a small shining light in the past few weeks of struggles, and is slowly but surely convincing Milan’s management to consider purchasing him outright this coming summer.
Best Goal: Patrick Cutrone versus AS Roma
This decision was not very easy. Milan seem to enjoy keeping their fans on the edge of their seats as the team has often waited until the dying moments of matches to find game-winning goals.
Cutrone’s goal, however, was versus a top team in the league, unlike Romagnoli’s two goals. Milan has struggled versus teams of equal or better calibre in recent years, and this looked like as a turning point early on in the season. What makes this goal great is not just Cutrone’s sublime and calm finish, but the surrounding work by all the Milan players.
The Rossoneri were hungry for a goal and were in the final third. With possession lost before the final whistle, the players pressed hard which lead to a Davide Calabria interception.
Calabria was then wise to pass the ball to Higuaín, as he is supposed to be the “big moment” player. Opting to avoid selfishness and shooting a long-range shot, Higuaín saw Cutrone’s perfectly timed run and provided him with an assist.
Cutrone, Milan’s wonder boy, calmly converted and the San Siro went mad. This was a vintage Milan moment, one not seen in years.
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