The youthful – AC Milan
League position after Matchday 7: 2nd (19pts)
Top scorers: Brahim Diaz & Rafael Leao (3 goals)
Early star: Mike Maignan
Key man in title charge: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Widely regarded as a mere balancer, Stefano Pioli’s tactical prowess was on full display as AC Milan outplayed Atalanta in their recent 3-2 victory. Pioli oversaw a distinctly fluid attacking performance that often saw Theo Hernandez rotate into central positions.
The ploy completely compromised Atalanta’s man orientation in defence as the Rossoneri raced into a 3-0 lead.
Nevertheless, that triumph depicted just how far this Milan side have come in such a short space of time. Remember when they were thumped 5-0 in Bergamo less than two years ago? Thanks to shrewd recruitment and their common sense coach, the sky’s the limit for this young Milan side. Only Spezia (24.1) boast a younger average squad age than the Rossoneri (24.5).
Brahim Diaz has sprung to life as the number ten, the Brescia Sandro Tonali has finally arrived, while Rafael Leao looks poised to fulfil his superstar projection at the San Siro. Let’s not forget the stout centre-back pairing of Simon Kjaer and Fikayo Tomori, arguably one of Europe’s best recovery defenders, as well as the safe hands and tidy distribution of Mike Maignan.
This is such a well-balanced unit that execute so many aspects of the game superbly, especially pressing. They’ll be there or thereabouts come May.
Could Zlatan Ibrahimovic be their x-factor down the stretch?