5 things from AC Milan's slim win over Sassuolo
Milan get a result in ugly circumstances
The final whistle brought sighs of relief from a crowd that witnessed some unpleasant football. Milan again ceded possession, dropping deep even after Sassuolo 'keeper Andrea Consigli was sent off. Entertainment was never the end goal here. Milan took a cautious approach, and with third place up for grabs, the result certainly meant more than aesthetics. But there were concerning sights all over the pitch. Milan didn't move particularly well or pass the ball with any fluency. Worse, the midfield struggled to connect with the front three. Wins like these are important, but they're not sustainable. Milan have to play a lot calmer if they want to continue this run.
Boga causes all kinds of problems
Jeremie Boga was an absolute menace on the left wing, showing off his dribbling ability as he took on defender after defender. He was unlucky to hit the post in the first half, and would've scored minutes later had he stayed onside. Boga's runs were difficult to trace and his footwork was sensational. No one on the pitch came remotely close to Boga's 11 dribbling attempts; the next best was Hakan Calhanoglu with three. The 22-year-old was sensational in one-on-one situations and turned Sassuolo's sometimes-sterile possession into something much more meaningful.
Lack of rotation has consequences
Gennaro Gattuso started 10 of the 11 players from Wednesday's lineup against Lazio, so it was no surprise to see them tire so quickly. Paqueta, who made some inventive passes in tight corners in the first half, looked exhausted as he came off in the second. But he wasn't the only one who showed fatigue. It's easy to understand why Gattuso has trusted many of the same players - he's always one loss away from scathing criticism - but the lack of rotation is catching up with his team.
Bakayoko forced out of the game
Gattuso had no choice but to sub off Tiemoue Bakayoko, who was one foul away from being sent off. Bakayoko wasn't poor by any means, releasing some excellent passes down the field's gullet, but the game was slowly escaping his control. Once he received his first yellow card, he couldn't go into tackles as he usually does. He has to be completely uninhibited to play his game, but Sassuolo did a great job disturbing the Frenchman's peace.
Wingers need to offer more
It looked like Calhanoglu, Suso, and Krzysztof Piatek had never met each other before. They were out of sync and out of ideas against Sassuolo, hardly combining in the final third. Suso was again shuttered on the right side and Calhanoglu often made the wrong pass. That left Piatek to feed off the scraps, which he was forced to do midweek against Lazio. Calhanoglu sacrificed himself quite a bit - no other Milan player covered as many kilometers - but he wasn't enough of a force in attack. Gattuso has to find a way to get these three players up to speed, or else opponents will have an easier time defending against them.
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