For the first time this season, Milan have made it three wins on the spin. While performances can improve, there are clear signs of progress on the results front. While the narrative hasn’t changed defensively - Gennaro Gattuso’s side still can’t keep a clean sheet - the pressure has lifted on the Rossoneri somewhat.
The 3-1 victory against poor Chievo takes Milan into 10th with 12 points, one behind, Fiorentina, Sassuolo and Parma. There were so many ifs in Milan’s campaign last season and fans will be pointing to a few in the current campaign. If Milan had taken advantage of their leads against Napoli, Atalanta and Empoli, they would probably be in second place with 19 points. They’d have been three points behind Juventus with a game in hand, if they had also buried Cagliari. When you look at their defensive record though, it’s hard to argue that the Diavolo are not exactly where they deserve to be.
The chief importance of Sunday’s victory is the psychological boost it gives the squad ahead of another significant fixture of the season, the Derby Della Madonnina. Milan play ‘away’ to Inter at San Siro on October 21 after the international break, with the best betting offers already available, and Ladbrokes are offering 3/1 on the game to be a draw.
Luciano Spalletti’s side is beginning to look the sum of their parts now, showing the dominant form that many expected this season. After struggling to find the right mix earlier in the league, it’s fair to say that the new players have now bedded into the Coach’s system and assimilated his ideas. The Nerrazuris are oozing with a lot of confidence after a run of six games without defeat in all competitions. They’ve made a significant step into third place in the league after beating Spal on Sunday at the Stadio Paolo Mazza
One player that has been key to Inter’s upsurge in recent performances has been former Roma midfielder Radja Nianggolan, who has given the Beneamata a more competitive edge in the middle of the pitch, whilst providing a threat from outside the box with his long range shots. The 30-year-old has scored two goals in seven appearances for the San Siro outfit, while Mauro Icardi is still scoring and assisting.
While their city rivals may be in great form though, Milan have nothing to fear in the Derby della Madonnina.
Suso finally has a top quality striker in Gonzalo Higuain who can make his assists count. The Spaniard tops the league in the assist chart with six and has found the net on two occasions. The Rossoneri still need Bonaventura and Kessie in particular, to improve on their goalscoring in the opponents half though, as both players are capable of giving more in attack than their statistics suggest. Bonaventura has three goals with Kessie scoring two. The Ivorian international has had a more clear cut goal scoring opportunities that any of the Milan players this season.
Winning breeds confidence and securing three consecutive victories means the Rossoneri will be full of confidence when they play Inter.