Monday February 18 2019
Piatek what Milan were missing

Krzysztof Piatek is not just a classy finisher, explains Sam Wilson, but brings a new dimension to Milan with his movement, pace and aerial ability.

Milan have lacked a true quality striker over the past five and a half seasons in which the club failed to qualify for the Champions League. The most goals scored by a single Milan player in a season since 2012-13 is 20 – the number netted by Colombian Carlos Bacca in his debut season with the club. Aside from that, in the 2014-15 season, Jeremy Menez had 16 and for the past two seasons their top scorer managed only 14 goals.

To compare with the stars of Milan’s past, this is just not good enough. Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored 35 goals in the season before he departed for PSG and Andriy Shevchenko and Filippo Inzaghi had several 28+ campaigns in the early noughties.

When they paid €35m for Krzysztof Piatek, some wondered if it was wasteful to spend on someone with just six months of Serie A football under his belt. It’s easy to score goals at Genoa, they said, with no pressure and an entire team playing only to supply you. It’s safe to say he has silenced those critics very quickly.

Piatek brings an extra dimension to Milan’s attack that was previously not achieved by Gonzalo Higuain and Patrick Cutrone this season, and the likes of Bacca further back. Piatek is fast, perhaps not on the same level as the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Timo Werner, but fast nonetheless. He spearheads Milan’s counter-attacks and his speed allows him to drag defenders around, put himself in the ideal position to score and wait for the supply to come to him.

Piatek has also proven, in his time with Milan so far, that he is the perfect target man as well as a poacher, using his body and his head to help the Rossoneri on more than one occasion. Before his goal against Atalanta, the Diavolo had only one headed Serie A goal all season and hadn’t found the net this way from a corner since Leonardo Bonucci.

Milan have fantastic wingers in their side such as Suso, Hakan Calhanoglu, Lucas Paquetá and Diego Laxalt, all of whom are competent at delivering balls into the box, and having a talented target-man and goal-scorer lurking inside is never a bad thing.

Where Piatek benefits Milan primarily is not through his physical abilities, although they are a certain help, but instead through his intelligence and mental attributes. The Polish forward is very clever in regards to his movement and positioning, always in the right place to receive the ball in a quick break or, alternatively, using his movement to create space for other players when he is being tightly marked or closed down.

His brace against Atalanta provide perfect examples. On the initial volley, Piatek drew Berat Djimsiti out and then cut back to ensure he was in front of the defender, then had no need to look at the goal, as he had his bearings already. With the corner, he got to the ball not by out-jumping Duvan Zapata - which would've been pretty much impossible - but by timing his run perfectly to get in front and attack the ball.

Piatek loves running into space and this gives Milan a perfect outlet to play incisive attacking moves. With the talented midfielders and playmakers the Rossoneri have, it is no wonder that Piatek is succeeding as much as he is.

It is not too much of a stretch then to say that Milan’s revitalisation and subsequent chase of Champions League qualification could be a direct result of Piatek’s signing. Although credit must be given to the whole squad, Gattuso and fellow new boy Paquetá, Piatek has given the fans something to cheer for again and the Pole shows a genuine passion and motivation to return the club to Europe’s biggest competition.

Have your say...

"Bakayoko is terrible at best"

This is the typical armchair comment from someone who only reads match reports and watches 2 min highlight reels.

Go back to school you utter muppet, you're embarrassing yourself son.

Bakayoko has been consistently performing in one of the most underpraised roles in the team! His stats each game are boss.

I sincerely hope we buy him.
on the 24th February, 2019 at 11:12pm
"Bakayoko is terrible at best" - This is some sick joke, right? Otherwise, i just don`t understand. Maybe last Milan game you`ve seen, was in October? :-)
on the 22nd February, 2019 at 3:17pm

"Bakayoko is terrible at best"

Are we watching the same sport??
on the 22nd February, 2019 at 9:48am
Great effort you...
They players you defend are average. Bakayoko is terrible at best.
I would love Milan to keep piatec but they wont if 90mil offer comes in
on the 21st February, 2019 at 10:02pm
"Caldara is probably the only 1 I'd keep." he hasn't played a game, yet you encourage to keep, don't get me wrong but his def not the only one. Wow, this the third post in a row you posted and I had to reply to every single of them since they are so utterly weird and wrong.

on the 21st February, 2019 at 5:08pm

"Buy Bakayoko are you on drugs? He is the biggest waste of space in this team"

ARE YOU ON DRUGS? his been by FAR our best player for the last 4 month, what are you talking about???
on the 21st February, 2019 at 5:06pm

"iatek won't be at Milan long enough. If we manage to keep hold of him until the end of next season then miracles do happen "

That might be true, however I get the feeling milan is rebuilding and I doubt they will let him go for 90, add another 60 and then yes, which would mean we made 100 mill profit.
on the 21st February, 2019 at 5:05pm
Piatek won't be at Milan long enough. If we manage to keep hold of him until the end of next season then miracles do happen but we know they don't.
PSG, City or Real will throw a 90mil offer and Milan will crumble and sell.
This is Modern football; unless you are a team owned by Russians/Arabs you don't have a chance of keeping quality players. Contracts mean nothing and the only thing players are loyal to is money.
on the 21st February, 2019 at 8:17am
Thank goodness you are not on Milans bench. Buy Bakayoko are you on drugs? He is the biggest waste of space in this team, And then Buy Coman, Ndombele and Deulofeu... congratulations you made a boy band.
Don't be so ridiculous, i take back my original comment- the first thing they should do is hire you and do the opposite of what you say. The players you listed that need to play more should be sold! Caldara is probably the only 1 I'd keep.
on the 21st February, 2019 at 8:07am
@AnonMilan apologies for i was not clear enough about zapata. what i mean is that we should renew his contract so he would be a back up not a starter. he would be behind romag, musac & caldara. so our 4th choice cb. to be fair to zapata, he performed very well during our injury crisis. hence, i think he deserves a renewal. i agree with ALL your other points though. we need SPEED on the wings
on the 21st February, 2019 at 8:00am
As far as Piatek, I have been hugely impressed with him (likewise Paqueta). Hopefully these don't prove to be flash-in-the-pan strong starts that peter out as the season continues,the way Cesc did at Barca for example. I also hope that Piatek's performances don't stifle the development of Cutrone and push him toward the exit, the way Milan has recently done with other promising youngsters. If the P's keep this up, and Milan bring in some proper wingers, we can hold some real hope for the future.
on the 20th February, 2019 at 3:21pm

"renew zapatas contract & defence is sorted." LMAO. Zapata has hung around well longer than is deserved; whenever he actually makes a correct play always shocks me since he's shown time and again what a liability he is. He makes schoolboy errors and doesn't have the concentration or strength of personality that a top CB needs. I've never seen another defender shy away from an opposition player's staredown after a challenge the way he does, like a puppy with his tail tucked.
on the 20th February, 2019 at 3:16pm

"Coman, Ndombele, Deulofeu"

They would all sit on the current bench and would not start. Deulofeu, are you kidding? Milinkovic Savic is x5 times better but would also cost tons.

Rodriquez has been one of our best performances.
on the 20th February, 2019 at 8:29am
renew zapatas contract & defence is sorted. kessies misses v atalanta could have cost us the game. he needs competition. bakayoko is a must buy. laxalt needs more game time as he has quality. we need to improve by bringing speedy wingers in who can dribble past defenders, cross the ball accurately and also track back. this may mean selling some starters
on the 20th February, 2019 at 8:12am
Also Milan's priority should be buying Bakayoko first who reminds me Deisally a lot. Sell Suso (who doesn't even help to defense and so slow in offensive actions), Rodriguez, Castillejo, perhaps Calhanoglu and buy players like Coman, Ndombele, Deulofeu instead of Milinkovic Savic and Gareth Bale. See then how many Piatek is going to score. This guy is so special, the first goal that he scored against Atalanta speaks about his quality. That was Van Basten-ish strike.
on the 20th February, 2019 at 12:14am
This guy has something extraordinary. He doesn't need lots of chances to score. His finishing skills are fatal. But, Milan can't keep play with Suso and Calhanoglu (as a left winger). There are rumours that Milan are going to buy Milinkovic Savic for €120M and Gareth Bale for €100M. What kind of joke is that ? I'd go with that money for Kingsley Coman blindly and sell Suso, Castillejo. Also Laxalt, Conti and Caldara should get more minutes! Piatek could score a lot more if he gets enough support
on the 20th February, 2019 at 12:09am
The additions of Piatek and Paqueta are proving fundamental. Qualifying for the CL is now also fundamental, regardless what Scaroni says. If they DO qualify then keeping Bakayoko is paramount. I'm ambivalent towards Kessie. Then two top wingers and this squad will be great. Poor Calha isn't his best out wide, and I'm just not a fan of Suso (the Penguin). He's slow, has one move (cut inside onto his left), and I find that he's a bit clumsy on the dribble. It's gonna be a crazy last 3 months!
on the 19th February, 2019 at 9:53pm
@Anonymous: Lazio has been punching above their weight for the last few seasons. This has to do more with Inter and Milan being the under-performers. Immobile, SMS, and Berisha are the only good players on that squad. The rest are hacks. I agree that Roma is under-performing this season. I'm excited for next. Milan and Inter are improving, Napoli and Roma are in transition, Atalanta and Fio have lots of young talent, and if Juve don't win the CL I think a bored Allegri will leave.
on the 19th February, 2019 at 9:45pm

Ahahah so cute..bunch of nonsense. "trainwreck"? LOOOL

"it's not even sure they get to play CL even if they qualify, "

Of course they will, what are you talking about. and "t's not because Milan is so much better now, but more to do with Roma, and Lazio not being up to their usual standard.

have you even watched our last 8 game? We play twice as good football.
on the 19th February, 2019 at 8:42am
Milan is a train wreck waiting to happen. They spent 70m in January, and need to spend 60m more in the summer to make their first 11 permanent, As Kessie, and Bakayoko is only on loan. So with all the money Milan is spending it's not even sure they get to play CL even if they qualify, and if they qualify it's not because Milan is so much better now, but more to do with Roma, and Lazio not being up to their usual standard.
on the 19th February, 2019 at 2:28am
Piatek has hit the ground running. I worry about Suso and Çalhanoğlu getting balls into the box. We don't create enough chances in games. In the first half against Atalanta we only created 1 chance. I like Cutrone but he's average. We need to ask ourselves which of our players would get in Juve, Madrid, Barca's teams? We can push for the league next year if we get 2-3 additional players. I'm confident we will reach top 4. Maybe even 3rd given the turmoil Inter are in at the moment!
on the 18th February, 2019 at 11:14pm
I love how Inter, Juve, Napoli fans are death silenced as they know how much of a big deal this striker is.

When Higuin failed, all you did was trash talk, same goes for Bacca, Silva, etc etc... As soon as someone performance you run. Shows character.
on the 18th February, 2019 at 5:39pm
The first paragraph mentions Jeremy Menez... Jeremy who? The 2014-15 season wasn't all that long ago, and I completely forgot about him.

It would be nice if Milan could put an end to this revolving door policy with their squad members. So far it doesn't look like Leonardo and Maldini have taken any steps in that direction. I hope they will soon be more satisfied with the players available so that they can keep a coherent team.
on the 18th February, 2019 at 3:13pm
Please remember K. Piątek came to Genoa CFC from KS Cracovia Kraków, not from Craiova (the latter is village in Transylvania I guess).

Craiova is a City in Romania and Transylvania is part of Romania
on the 18th February, 2019 at 11:40am
Please remember K. Piątek came to Genoa CFC from KS Cracovia Kraków, not from Craiova (the latter is village in Transylvania I guess).
on the 18th February, 2019 at 9:59am
The only concern I have with Piateks arrival and its quiet frankly a huge concern is how we suppose to integrate Cutrone. I'm worried the lack of gaming time will affect him and the risk of losing I'm eventually is not far off
on the 18th February, 2019 at 8:12am
So far so good, I love his mobility which is what we need with a less than creative midfield. What he needs is a clever midfielder to supply the balls, someone with a bit more movement to assist Paqueta. I love what Paqueta brings to the team, however he has the same limitations as what Robihno used to have, skills and no real speed.I do fear that Piatek might be man-marked if we do not have another consistent scorer to assist. Cutrone is blowing hot and cold leaving Milan at risk of options.
on the 18th February, 2019 at 6:44am
Not too sure about fantastic wingers. One of the great things about Piatek is that he loves balls crossed from behind him so the fact that Milan's wingers can almost never beat their man to get to the byline and cross isn't a problem. Of his goals in open play, Paqueta assisted with a cross from the byline, but the first against Napoli and first against Atalanta were assisted by Laxalt and Rodriguez, both from the left back position, Laxalt's with a very long cross/over the top ball from deep in
on the 18th February, 2019 at 6:12am
years? Piątek could be our man upfront and Cutrone could be his automatic replacement/strike partner when needed. Give them 5 years and I bet you between them they'll hit about 50 goals a season. Focus on improving other areas of the team (hint LW, hint pace, hint imagine if Cutrone was given as many chances as Çalhanoğlu). Messi's been at Barca for 15 years, Lewandowski at Bayern for 5. This is the sort of long term stability that delivers success.
on the 18th February, 2019 at 4:16am
long terms solution. But spare a thought for Cutrone. He's my favourite player at Milan and after three failed attempts to block his career he's finally met his match. We will need to be careful about writing him off just yet but we can expect him to be getting 15 to 30 minutes off the bench in the remaining games of the season. This will mean that he probably won't score that many goals but I still see a long term place for him at the club. Imagine if Milan didn't sign another CF for the next 5
on the 18th February, 2019 at 4:10am

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