The past few months have been an era-defining period for the Rossoneri. Berlusconi and Galliani have left the throne, the Chinese takeover, after several delays and complications, finally went through. Fassone and Mirabelli have been working very hard and showed great commitment to bring back AC Milan to the top of Europe.

The transition isn’t going to be easy but it is promising. So, with that said, Maurice Sauma has prepared a series of analysis assessing:

  1. How did AC Milan perform during 2016/2017 season? (Broken down into positions)
    • Part 1: Goalkeepers has been covered. (Click here to read the article)
    • Part 2: Full Backs will be discussed in this article.
  2. Which players left? Joined? Joining/Leaving soon? (Broken down into positions also with rumor assessment)
  3. How will they all line-up tactic wise?

Season 2016/2017: Full Backs

Ignazio Abate

Our best full back in the squad, Ignazio Abate was the vice-captain in 2016/2017. He was consistently going up and down the right flank, showed great crossing abilities on the first matchday but it is safe to say that all Milan fans are very frustrated on how Abate never could cross a ball. Abate linked up very well on the right flank with Suso cutting inside and he would overlap to offer an option.
Mister Montella found a good opportunity to use this combination to make some damages in the oppositions and overloading the left back on the other team. Unfortunately, the captain, named after Montolivo’s long-term injury, got injured in the eye and it prevented him to contribute in the last stages of the campaign. And this is how he did:

 

Games: 23
Assists: 2

 


Mattia De Sciglio

 Mattia De Sciglio, the product of our youth have been linked with a move away, but he has performed throughout the season. Tactically speaking, Abate on the right side would shift as an extra winger, and De Sciglio would shift into a left-sided Central Defender, so it would be unfair to judge on his attacking stats. Although, sometimes Mattia was nervy in possession and wouldn’t offer much bombing forward when called upon.
Once touted as the next “Maldini”, the versatile full-back has fallen and drowned in the fans expectations, he never lived up to his potential. He is still fairly young to prove his abilities, although it may not be at Milan.

 

Games: 25
Assists: 2

 


Luca Antonelli

 

The Milanese youth product has barely been involved in this season, he was regularly injured and not a favorite in Montella’s plans. Antonelli’s involvement has been limited to 9 appearances in all competitions. in 2015/2016 campaign he played a bigger part in the squad. It is interesting to see how his experience will be useful in next year’s campaign or if he will leave and contribute elsewhere.

 

 


Leonel Vangioni

 

Vangioni joined Milan as a Free Agent from River Plate, he didn’t make a single appearance until January. He showed great determination and aggression when called upon in the second part of the season. De Sciglio’s injury opened up some opportunities for the former River Plate left-back and showed the lack of defensive positioning awareness. Nevertheless, he offered good pace and some nice whipped crosses at times. He made 15 appearances and didn’t record a single assist or goal.

 

 


Davide Calabria

 

Another youth product, Calabria showed great promises going forward, he surely played less than Abate and De Sciglio but still showed he can be very useful. The youngster has pace, determination and good positioning awareness but he is a bit of an injury prone and Davide has a lot to learn, certainly from an experienced member of the team like Abate, and he even said it himself that Abate is his idol. He recorded 12 appearances in the Serie A and made 1 assist. In the contrary to his idol Abate, Calabria has impressive crossing abilities. You can see his highlights by clicking here.

 


The team’s full-backs have had their highs and lows, although tactically they were extremely important to Montella’s gameplan. The first thing the new ownership has addressed is the lack of quality in this department.

The reason why we bought one of the best Left-backs in Germany (Ricardo Rodriguez) and on the verge of signing the impressive Atalanta Right-Wing-Back (Andre Conti – Yet it isn’t official at the moment of the article being written), see how they did against each other and then how they measure up against the best in Serie A:

Note: *The data above are expressed in total*

From a tactical point of view Abate has been our best full back, he offered the most offensively, although De Sciglio was a more solid defensively. As mentioned above Abate offered an option while combining with Suso but still didn’t measure up to the standards of Montella’s fluid and possession-oriented system. Full-backs are key to the positional dominance, they offer width and options out wide. In the early stages of the season it was working for Milan, but after their loss to Roma in December, their system was too predictable and since the pair of Full-Backs is too limited technically their outcome has diminished.


Here you can see our best Right-Back compared to the others in the same position across the Serie A:

Note: *The data above are expressed per 90 minutes.*

Abate and Hysaj were only the natural full-backs, the rest (Daniel Alves, Bruno Peres & Andrea Conti) have performed as wing-backs in 3-5-2 formations (or derived from) which are more advanced, hence their attacking stats are higher and defending stats are average. Nevertheless, you can almost immediately call that Abate stats aren’t the best neither in attack nor in defense. But just quick thought, look at Conti!


Here’s the left-back position comparison matrix as I have chosen De Sciglio as our best player in that role, let’s see how he did in comparison to the others in the same position in Serie A:

Note: *The data above are expressed per 90 minutes.*

 

The comparison between De Sciglio and the others might be unfair but it is important to assess the defensive contributions throughout the season, even though tactically he was instructed to stay back and keep a strong defensive shape by Vincenzo Montella. It is believed that these instructions have been there for a reason, if he was useful in the offensive phase of the game, it would’ve been more obvious when called upon. De Sciglio might be leading in blocks but the rest of the stats he is below average.

 

The Full-Backs issue have been addressed as mentioned above with Rodriguez and (most probably) Conti it is interesting to see how they will improve the current squad and check the stats against the other Full-backs of the Serie A. Rodriguez is crossing specialist and Andre Conti contributed with 5 assists and 8 goals. The future is looking up Milanistas!

This is the end of Part 2 covering the full-backs, stay tuned for the Part 3 assessing the midfielders and how they did throughout the season 2016/2017!

The post AC Milan: The Season Assessment – Part 2 appeared first on ACMilanSwiss.

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