Categories
Serie A

Can AC Milan Win the Serie A Title This Year?

Can AC Milan win the Serie A title this year? The short answer to this question is yes, but the long answer is a little bit more complicated. Today we’ll be taking a look at AC Milan in order to answer the question of whether they can realistically win the title this season.

Defense

When taking a look at Milan’s defense, it’s clear to see they are much improved from years past. The resurgence of both Simon Kjaer and Davide Calabria is a big part of that improvement. It also seems Milan have found a solid defensive partnership with Kjaer and Alessio Romagnoli. Alongside goalie Gianluigi Donnarumma, this is a very sturdy back line. Theo Hernandez is one of the better attacking fullbacks in Serie A. He should provide additional help both in defense and the attack. But the main weakness for Milan’s defense comes with their depth. At center back they currently have Matteo Gabbia and Mateo Mussachio, neither of which brings a whole lot of confidence. At fullback their main depth is Diogo Dalot who joined on loan from Manchester United. While he’s been playing very well so far there really isn’t too much behind him. Overall, it’s a very solid starting group but the lack of depth could end up hurting Milan.

Midfield

The midfield may be the current strength of this Milan team. In Franck Kessie and Ismael Bennacer, Milan has one of the strongest midfield partnerships in the league. Recent signing Sandro Tonali has loads of talent and should receive consistent playing time behind the starters. In the attacking midfield positions, Hakan Calhanoglu and Brahim Diaz have both shown the ability to create chances and score goals. This will be vital for Milan moving forward as they try to compete with teams that have more attacking firepower.

Forwards

The most important player currently at AC Milan is also their oldest. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has gotten off to a roaring start this season, showing that he can compete at any team in the world at the age of 39. Behind him Rafael Leao has shown a lot of promise and will look to improve throughout the season as he learns from Zlatan himself. Ante Rebic is another forward who has shown tons of quality but unfortunately found himself injured for the beginning of the season. He will be very important for Milan as they don’t have a ton of quality depth in attack. On the wings Samu Castillejo and Alexis Saelemaekers are the main players. This is probably Milan’s greatest area of need in the January transfer window as they will need to improve in both quality and depth.

January Transfer Window

In the transfer window there a few clear areas of need for AC Milan. In central defense they need to bring in someone who can be a strong third option. They will also probably look to move on from one of their options, either Mateo Mussachio or Leo Duarte. Milan could also potentially use another fullback on the left side who can give Theo Hernandez a rest every now and then. Finally, AC Milan will need to strengthen in attack. They will likely need another striker for depth behind Zlatan and Rafael Leao, as well as another winger. They did bring in Jens Petter Hauge at the end of the summer window, so if he can become a focal point on the wing then it may not be a huge need.

Conclusion

At the start of the season, AC Milan looked like a team that would compete for a Champions league spot. The narrative has changed as they find themselves at the top of the league through games. AC Milan can definitely compete for the title this season, but it will depend on how well the starters can continue to play. With a lack of depth at a few positions, it’s important for them to fill in some gaps in the January transfer window. But overall I think Milan look like a team that is ready to compete right now.

Here is a quick link to the updated Serie A table where you can track AC Milan’s progress: https://www.skysports.com/serie-a-table

If you are interested in other Beer Belly Soccer Serie A content: https://www.beerbellysoccer.com/category/serie-a/

Categories
Serie A

Top 10 Best Players in Serie A

As with the recent top 10 Premier League players article, this is completely based off of my own opinion. Please feel free to disagree with me. So here it is, the Official Top 10 Best Players in Serie A:

10. Theo Hernandez

Theo Hernandez is one of the most important pieces to this year’s AC Milan side, and it can be argued he is the best left back in Serie A. Able to make marauding runs up the field and then track all the way back to make important tackles, Theo is really a perfect example of the modern outside back. If he is able to continue his development then we may be talking about Theo as one of the top left back’s in the entire world.

9. Lautaro Martinez

Lautaro Martinez has spent plenty of time in the news being linked to every major club under the sun. He will continue to star for Inter Milan for at least 1 more season. He was able to break out in the 2019-20 season to the tune of 14 goals and 5 assists. Not only that, but he has started off this new season in great form with 3 goals in as many games played. He is certainly one of the best Serie A players.

8. Paulo Dybala

Paulo Dybala got off to a rough start at the beginning of last season. There were rumors linking him away from Juventus making life difficult for him. But soon enough he was able to get back into the first team and prove why many (including me) consider him to be a world class player. Dybala was able to finish the season with double digit goals and assists. Although he has been hurt to start, I expect him to be one of Juventus’ most important players.

7. Gianluigi Donnarumma

Donnarumma has been a known commodity in Italy for a lot longer than one would think for a player his age. It can also be stated that many consider him to be the best goalkeeper in Serie A. Last season he was able to keep 13 clean sheets even though Milan struggled to a 6th place finish. To start this current season he has been able to keep the ball out of the net during the first 3 games. I believe it is the season where he can cement himself as the top goalkeeper in Serie A.

6. Romelu Lukaku

What a first season it was for Romelu Lukaku! After making an expensive move from Manchester United to Inter Milan, Lukaku had about as good of a start as you could possibly hope for. He was able to finish the season with 23 goals to his name, finishing amongst the top scorers in the league. With his strong start to this season (3 goals in as many games), it’s not hard to see him forming a potentially lethal strike partnership with the aforementioned Lautaro Martinez.

5. Kalidou Koulibaly

Kalidou Koulibaly is probably the most important player to Napoli and should probably consider himself the best center back in Serie A. Like with most center backs, there aren’t really any traditional stats to pull up in order to show just how dominant of a defender he really is. In what was truly an up and down campaign for Napoli last year as they finished 7th, Koulibaly still was able to show that he is a world class defender, and he will have a huge role in Napoli’s campaign to get back into the Champions league.

4. Josip Ilicic

Josip Ilicic is probably one of the most underrated players in all of Europe and playing for one of the most underrated teams in the Serie A, but that might not last for too much longer. Ilicic was fantastic last season contributing 15 goals and 8 assists for Atalanta. Currently Ilicic is unavailable for Atalanta as he is currently dealing with some personal issues, but if he is able to return then he will clearly be a major part of the current campaign.

3. Alejandro “Papu” Gomez

Another member of Atalanta’s fantastic side, Gomez might be the most important player. For the past few years, he has been seen as one of the better players in Serie A but he took his game up to another level in this past season. 7 goals and 16 assists is quite an impressive haul, and he’s started off this season in even better fashion with 4 goals and 2 assists in only 3 matches. The 32 year old might still have a few tricks up his sleeve yet.

2. Ciro Immobile

Ciro Immobile is a name that many Italian soccer fans will be quite familiar with, and he has taken his scoring prowess up to new levels over the past few seasons. Last year was his best one yet as he notched an incredible 36 goals and 8 assists for a Lazio team that was able to break through and qualify for the Champions League. It really is amazing what Immobile was able to do last season and seeing if he can do it again will be one of the more intriguing storylines to watch this year.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo

It really wasn’t going to be anyone else in the top spot here. There’s not even too much to say as Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the greatest players of all time and on his day he is still unbeatable. At the age of 35, it’s fair to say that most everyone is just waiting to see if he will slow down anytime soon. I don’t believe this year will be the year that it does. So for now, he is the best player in Serie A.

Here is a current link to the Serie A table: https://www.skysports.com/serie-a-table