Friday March 5 2021
Nothing to complain about with Milan’s penalty record

A clear handball committed by Udinese awarded Milan a penalty, but Matt Santangelo believes suspicion over the volume of spot kicks the Rossoneri have received this season is unjustified.

After Jens Stryger Larsen committed a late penalty on Wednesday night, Franck Kessie made no mistake from the spot, cooly depositing his attempt past Juan Musso to salvage a point for Milan who had no business taking anything from the match.

The Dane’s egregious handball was an indisputable penalty that required no video review or further consideration. That, regardless of what side of the Calcio aisle you reside, cannot be argued.

However, this occurrence fueled more suspicion over the amount of penalties the Rossonave received throughout the season.

The Italian side have now been awarded a whopping 16 penalties, easily the most in Serie A. Then, there is a pretty significant drop-off, with Sassuolo (8) and Roma (6), followed by Lazio, Juventus, Inter and Napoli are all on five apiece.

This difference is where the suspicion derives from. However, looking at the sheer volume of awarded penalties without context is not how to go about their penalties fortunes. Unlike last night’s dubious handball by Stryger Larsen, there have been instances where VAR has been called into action to determine a key moment in a match.

For the most part, each of these have been fairly given after further review. The clear and obvious penalties should be completely thrown out here, because contact in the box or an arm in an unnatural position like last night preventing a ball’s path is as cut and dry as it gets.

This is not to say that of the sixteen, a select handful cannot be analyzed or disputed. Ante Rebic vs. Benevento or Theo Hernandez against Martin Caceres back in November are two that immediately come to mind.

Owning a reputation for being a gritty, classic physical defender, the Uruguayan had his arm up near the Milan fullback’s upper chest, obstructing his run with the ball in the box. In years past, a less-stringent and more defensively-driven Serie A may have given the benefit of the doubt to Caceres.

Now, it appears the rules tend almost always to favour the attacking player. Then there are the instances against Roma, the first involving Gianluca Mancini and Hakan Calhanoglu earlier in the season.

There is contact from the Italian defender who bundles into the Turkish playmaker as he attempts to control the ball, but certainly nothing more than an effort to close down.

This can be easily deemed the softest of the 16 penalties this season, and one that strikes observers as a makeup call for a previous penalty called against Ismaël Bennacer earlier in the match.

Unlike the ruling against Federico Fazio last weekend where the Giallorossi defender stepped on Davide Calabria’s foot at the very edge of the box, Mancini should not have been penalized for making a fair and honest defensive act to get the ball.

The subject of penalties has been a widely discussed topic for decades and is one of the many reasons for the implementation of VAR into the modern game today. Its purpose, among other things, is to erase doubt and mitigate potential errors and narrow the grey area that exists as a result of human error or interpretation of the game as it is presented.

Who is favoured by the officials? Is the way in which they are given fair and balanced? The argument around which clubs have earned the most penalties tends to cause divide and stir debate.

Technology or no technology, it is improbable the controversy stemming from penalties will ever vanish from football. There will always be more clear and obvious penalties committed. Then there are those that are open to interpretation.

So, what is the solution? Is the intervention of technology too much and ruining the organic, human element of the game? Do the rules and their application need to be re-examined further in order to establish more consistency? At the end of the day, the goal is to get the calls accurate for all, no matter the name of the player or size of the club, and do so with transparency - or one would assume this to be the case.

By reviewing each of Milan’s awarded penalties, there is variety. Some clear cut handballs, obstruction or contact on the player in the box. Yes, the total penalties could come off skewed and show favouritism towards Milan, but they do create a good amount of chances and with that, probability and luck in receiving a penalty increases.

Would the conversation be different if Milan were not in the league position they are? Or, if it was a smaller club with the most? Hard to say.


Have your say...
@Maldini's Heir: I 100% agree with your observation. I think a corner not taken directly into the box is an absolute waste. Nothing frustrates me more than a short corner. In addition to too many short corners ending up at the half, there are quite a few that end up in opposition counter attacks when the ball is passed short and the receiver is tackled, or when the second rotational pass is intercepted near the top of the box.
on the 9th March, 2021 at 2:19pm

You must be the biggest cry baby around....Give it a rest.
on the 9th March, 2021 at 10:14am
@Maldini's Heir: Totally agree with you, its as if they don't take corners in training. Just an observation of mine that may go some way to explaining your point about short corners. I find myself pre-emptively groaning when a long corner is about to be taken because you know whats coming.
on the 8th March, 2021 at 5:09pm
@ DB Milan These are professional football players. They shouldn't leave the training around until they can clear the first man. If you compare these players to professional rugby players who get bashed around and then have to kick a penalty from the half way line to win a championship, it's absolutely pathetic that professional footballers can't clear the first man.
on the 8th March, 2021 at 10:19am
I understand Milanisti waited a looong time for a return to CL, but that's no excuse to act like complete trash.

I know my rant will make "normal" Milan fans resent me, but I don't care.
--Come to FI LiveBlogs & tame your dogs. The only normal Milanista there is Chris.
You are losing neutral fans by the day. Most already prefer spoiled crybaby Conte to win the league instead of Milan. That speaks volumes!

It's not controversial wanting soft PKs. It's wanting ones only for your team that is.
on the 8th March, 2021 at 8:16am
Kessie penalty claim - min. 17:19 (Slow-Mo in 18:45)
Frank pulled opponent's arm & they wrestled each other to the ground.
LAUGHABLE. Had Milan got a pen for that, an investigation would've been carried out to see if the league is corrupt.
You want to steal an undeserved win with a nonexistent penalty? Have you NO SHAME??
It just shows how accustomed to pens you've become.

Leao penalty claim - min. 65:54
A beautiful example of a Milan player trying to force a PK.
Does Pioli teach them this?
on the 8th March, 2021 at 8:04am
Rebic's yellow - minute 23:20
He intentionally, WITH MALICE, pushed Becão, continued his run & kicked the poor guy's face as if it was a ball!
Broken nose could've been avoided had Ante showed a shred of compassion/ care for his fellow man. --He was aware where Becão fell & didn't stop his run.
This foul inclines more towards a red card than a no card; A deserved yellow.

Theo's card - minute 30:59
He DID NOT get the ball first, you liars!
It WAS NOT a clean tackle, you freakin' trolls.
on the 8th March, 2021 at 7:54am
Pick any FI LiveBlog & see for yourselves. I'll take the last one for example; Milan-Udinese

Trolls whined Milan didn't win because they were denied a "clear" penalty & the ref showed them two "extremely unjust" yellow cards in the first half.
...How idiotic is that last reasoning?? (*Face-slap*)

Download the game or rewind it on TV; See for yourselves how BIASED these clowns are:
on the 8th March, 2021 at 7:51am
What I find annoying is the conduct of almost all Milanisti.

Even with so many pens gifted, they STILL CRY FOR MORE every game! Every extremely soft contact & dive is a penalty for them.
Every RIGHT call against their team is being crucified!

They show NO RESPECT to other teams! Whenever Milan loses, it's:
- refs fault.
- opponents had the best day of their lives & Milan had the worst. LOOOL
- Milan missed a player. Who cares if opponent did as well.

It's DISGUSTING. & I'm being modest.
on the 8th March, 2021 at 7:48am
Milan simply received the most penalties because:
I. Opponents gave them the most stupid, silly fouls imaginable!
II. Milan received the most amount of SOFT PENALTIES than any other team! --DOUBLE STANDARD.
III. Their players are looking for penalties. Every game they're rolling in the area, falling at the slightest touch.

I'm OK with it. Had Milan got less pens, Roma & Juve would be above them... & that would be an even WORSE INJUSTICE.
Milan, without injuries, played good football..!
on the 8th March, 2021 at 7:45am
Juve has FASTER & more gifted players. They've earned 6 penalties.

Verona, like Milan, hit goal frame 16 times. They got 3 pens.

Napoli & Atalanta have way more shots per game. Napoli received 5 pens.

Assigning it to Milan's "attacking style of play" is ignorant & pathetic --HAVE YOU SEEN ATALANTA?? Surely you, at least, witnessed the mauling they gave you?
Well, Dea has 3 penalties.

Milan's got SIXTEEN.

VAR is not responsible; Without it, Milan would still get multiple pens...
on the 8th March, 2021 at 7:43am
the complaints by most aren't the number of penalties given to Milan but more so the amount not given to similar incidents in other games, especially Juventus.
on the 8th March, 2021 at 7:16am

I've sit this one out so far but WTF?

"Milan fans are the worst and most delusional in Europe"

Im guessing you are a soccer fan? What do you base that on?
on the 7th March, 2021 at 8:04pm
@Jeremy Canuto: Just two things, JC. Proof of this "big fix" and your recommendation for a better Italian football site?
on the 7th March, 2021 at 12:45pm
@Maldini’s Heir: On your corner question, one thing springs to mind. How many corners have you seen that don't get past the first man? No matter the team or the league, it seems like every second corner gets cleared by the first man. I agree a corner should cause problems but its rare you fiond a player that takes a good, consistent corner.
on the 7th March, 2021 at 12:42pm
When conspiracy theorists are even infecting, yes, infecting the comments section on an article about penalties, you have to think Trump has a lot to answer for. He normalised madness and now people spew it freely. They'll be anti-mask and anti-vaccine too. Imbeciles, in other words.
on the 7th March, 2021 at 12:38pm
If you are looking for good journalism then this site is the last place you should be looking. Each of the guest 'writers' (not real journalists) has a favourite team and always defends them even when things are so apparent that there is a huge fix in the league. This writer sums up everything which has ruined our beautiful game for decades. Appalling writing and pop-up adverts everywhere. This site is is stuck in the 90's and has become worse with each passing year. Awful awful writing!
on the 7th March, 2021 at 12:11pm
be offside and can time their runs perfectly with the corner taker (I find a good time to start running is when the corner taker starts his run up). So why all the short corners that lose all of these advantages, and sometimes end up back at the half way? Sure, it gets the defence to move but, a well timed, well hit corner should be able to cause a few problems. I don’t get it.
on the 6th March, 2021 at 11:59pm
@ Al Exactly. That’s my main concern. To win a penalty requires someone else to make a mistake, and someone else to make the right (or wrong) call. Sure pressure can force mistakes but I’d prefer if we had had more control over our destiny which comes from creating goals from open play.

Here’s my big question: why are there so many short corners in professional football? A corner gives the player an opportunity to cross from the byline, without pressure, where the attacking players can’t
on the 6th March, 2021 at 11:57pm
Milan fans are the worst and most delusional in Europe
on the 6th March, 2021 at 10:25pm
Yeah, definitively something fishy going on maybe the "journalist" who was paid to write this is one of them... the lizard people.
on the 6th March, 2021 at 9:54pm
What happened to good journalism. The title of this piece wants to tell us rather than convince us of AC Milan’s penalty record.

Probably is also handsomely paid to pedal Pro Ac Milan narrative.
on the 6th March, 2021 at 7:02pm
Oh dear, Inter fans and Trump supporters are driving aluminium foil sales through the roof. You are winning, enjoy it. You sad, sad people.
on the 6th March, 2021 at 5:54pm
@bigduke6: Someone doesn't watch Italian football.
on the 6th March, 2021 at 5:06pm
@Vieri: Maybe we could implant chips in the players heads so we know what they are thinking during the game.
on the 6th March, 2021 at 5:01pm
If there’s any team that needs to complain about penalties is Inter over the years they have been some borderline crazy decisions. There’s no need to complain about Milan getting their last penalty because Pioli kill switch have been activated and from now they’ll be on a downward spriral. They need more than penalties to save them now. The worst decision was not to change Pioli when they had the chance. What kind of coach would build a team around an egoistical old guy and hope they’ll achieve
on the 6th March, 2021 at 3:52pm
milan last minute penalty goal:
when kessie kicked the ball,
there was already 4 or 5 players inside the
10 yard circle, ONLY milan players;
should have been retaken, but VAR officials were apparently
on their way ?
on the 6th March, 2021 at 3:37pm
they have way too many. they'd be top 6 maybe without shady calls. when people started to wonder about the amount and paid attetion in matches.. you could tell they go looking for them alot too. some are legit ones but that many no way.

whats changed for milan? new owners...
on the 6th March, 2021 at 2:21pm
Milan needs literally every single borderline call to go in their favor to sneak into champions league, truly an amazing club.
on the 6th March, 2021 at 12:59pm
Also, I would attribute our number of penalties to our poor finishing and lack of a final pass as we tend to hold the ball on or around the inside of the box.
on the 6th March, 2021 at 10:13am

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