Frosinone 2, Milan 3: Momentum

Milan are unbeaten in the league since just before Christmas, a streak of eight matches with six wins and two draws. I lead with this because the media and fans on social media have already declared this season over and have moved on, regularly discussing who will be managing the team next year. This, in spite of the fact that Milan have the same points total as they did the same week during the Scudetto winning season. But, as Mauro Suma pointed out in his editorial on Friday, the league runs through May. This comeback 3-2 win over Frosinone at the Stadio Benito Stirpe after being down 2-1 was an important win for multiple reasons. For one, Frosinone's form at home has been daunting this season, and only two other teams have managed to win there all year. Secondly, it displayed an improving mentality that Milan have been lacking for much of the season in the second half of matches. This is the perfect time of the year for Milan to be building momentum.

An increase in goalscoring and a decrease in injuries has produced some momentum.

The first goal was a brilliant Giroud header from a perfect Leão cross in just the 17th minute to make it 1-0 Milan. Mariani in the VAR booth reviewed the goal, and it stood. There is a reason that both of them are such integral players in this team. Marco Brescianini was a Milan youth player, having been sold to Frosinone this past summer, and he seemed determined to leave his mark on this match, forcing Maignan into a relatively easy save in the 19th minute. That was followed by a brilliant save on Seck, who took a powerful shot from distance, forcing Maignan to tip it over the bar.

Giroud has now been involved in more than 20 goals for Milan in all competitions this season. 

Disaster struck in the 22nd minute when Leão apparently wanted another assist, but this time at the wrong end. He was whistled for a handball just on the edge of the box and Frosinone were given a penalty, which was confirmed after a VAR review. Frosinone have a 100% penalty record this season, having converted all seven of their penalties now, unlike our unfortunate record after last week's match. Soulé converted this one, with Maignan guessing the right way, but unable to quite get to it. 1-1 all. 

Milan created more chances, as Giroud especially was determined to both create and score, with excellent crosses for both Pulisic and Leão, the first forcing a good save by Turati. Frosinone's Seck troubled Milan the most, but also allowed brilliant moments like Gabbia's perfect tackle on him around the 35th minute. Loftus-Cheek received the only yellow card of the half, and Reijnders' chance from the top of the box was saved in stoppage time. One of the most exciting chances was a Leão shot from a difficult angle that was deflected and still forced a save from Turati at the end of the half.

Leão with an assist for each team.

The first half started with Reijnders begging for some time off, as he was carded for a foul on Seck and will be suspended for the Napoli match. It is actually unfortunate timing for a player that has played in every match and has been so essential for us this season. Pioli subbed early, taking off the two midfielders on yellows, Reijnders and Loftus-Cheek, and bringing on Bennacer for his return, and also Okafor for more attacking power. 

In the 65th, Mazzitelli scored a goal to put Frosinone up 2-1. Everyone is talking about how poor Maignan was on this goal, but he was great for the rest of the match.. No one mentions how Bennacer was completely beaten by Mazzitelli, because he also had a great game aside from this play. Had the outfield done their job, Maignan would not have even had to do anything. The conversation about how good or poor Maignan is this season based purely on goals conceded fails to include his spectacular saves or the performance of his other ten teammates.

Gabbia highlighted his return and great form with an important goal.

Things improved just seven minutes later, however, when Giroud headed the ball over toward an onrushing Gabbia, who scored with a diving header for his first Milan goal to equalize. 2-2 all. What a great way for the lifelong Milanista defender and Milan youth product to be rewarded for his excellent performances since his return from loan at Villareal. And Giroud's intensity in celebrating was amazing, too. That assist brought his total to a massive 21 goals that he has had a hand in this season for Milan, 12 goals and nine assists in all competitions. 

We needed another goal, though, so Pioli brought on Jović the Decider in the 80th minute. And in the 81st minute, with his killer instincts, he scored. 3-2 Milan. That brings him to seven goals and an assist in all competitions for Milan this season. He actually also scored his first goal for us in December vs. Frosinone, along with an assist, leading Di Francesco to lament, "When Jović sees us he is reborn."

Jović the decider has been decisive in several matches for Milan now.

Pioli also gave Florenzi and Musah about five minutes, replacing Calabria and Giroud, respectively, while Milan were fighting to hold the lead until the final whistle. And, while the team were successful in that quest, Florenzi could not help but get himself a yellow card in the very final minute of stoppage time for screaming at the linesman. The man is just overflowing with grinta

While many have continued to count Pioli out, many have speculated ad nauseum on potential coaching changes, and some have gone so far to pronounce a death sentence on Milan's season, this match was actually a great sign of change for the team. They have struggled with second half mentality for so long, but this time, they managed to come back after being down 2-1, and pull off the win against a team that have dominated in their home stadium. I have been cautiously optimistic in predicting that the tide is finally turning, and barring further injury nightmares, this second half of the season should really be much stronger for Milan. Certainly this match demonstrated that everything from mentality to goalscoring is building momentum.

This post inspired by the music of Cake's "The Distance"

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 24
Milan vs. Napoli
Sunday, February 11, 2024 • 20:45 CET (2:45 EST)

Frosinone 2, Milan 3: Momentum Frosinone 2, Milan 3: Momentum Reviewed by Elaine on 11:00 PM Rating: 5
Powered by Blogger.