Date: 19th December 2020 at 7:19pm
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AC Milan clung on to top spot in Serie A on Wednesday evening as they were forced to come from behind twice by relegation candidates Genoa in a 2-2 draw at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

It was the second straight game in which the Rossoneri have found themselves staring at a defeat, Theo Hernandez’s 91st minute strike rescued a point for Stefano Pioli’s men against Parma just four days earlier, and with every stumble their fierce cross town rivals Inter are closing the gap at the top of the table.

Before Sunday’s fixtures got underway Milan held a five point lead over the Nerazzurri, but with the blue half of the city producing back to back wins over Cagliari and Napoli that gap has shrunk to just a solitary point.

The main issue for the Rossoneri appears to be their inability to convert chances, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic still missing through injury they have been less clinical in attack and all of their last four goals have been scored by defenders.

However, it’s not just up front that the Rossoneri are having problems with their usually unflappable defence also starting to show uncharacteristic cracks when under pressure.

Despite their recent stumbles Milan still remain unbeaten after 12 games in Serie A, but if they’re to remain in top spot they will need to find a way to convert draws into wins or they will find themselves falling behind their housemates.

THE ZLATAN EFFECT

At 39 years old Ibrahimovic is still the most domineering character in the Rossoneri squad and he continues prove that he is still a world class striker with every appearance.

The former Sweden international has scored ten goals in just six Serie A appearances so far this season and his current absence from the team has left a gap up front that Milan can’t seem to fill.

Since Ibrahimovic left the field against Napoli at the end of November 13 of their 14 goals have been scored by either midfielders or defenders and with the striker expected to be out until mid January this is a cause for concern for the club’s technical director Paolo Maldini.

ANONYMOUS REBIC 

Ante Rebic has been Pioli’s choice to lead the line in Ibrahimovic’s absence, but he has failed to find the form that saw him score 11 goals in Serie A last term.

The 27 year old has been largely anonymous and is yet to find the target in nine appearances for the Rossoneri in the 2020/21 campaign. With Milan’s other striking option Rafael Leao also suffering injury problems of his own and Rebic failing to find his feet it has been reported that Maldini will look to bring another striker to the Stadio San Siro when the transfer window opens in January.

Soccer Football – Serie A – Genoa v AC Milan – Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris, Genoa, Italy – December 16, 2020 AC Milan’s Davide Calabria celebrates scoring their first goal with teammate Ante Rebic REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

DEFENSIVE LAPSES

The Rossoneri’s back line started the season with a new self assured confidence that appeared to be unshakeable under pressure, but in recent weeks cracks have started to appear.¬†Both of Parma’s goals came as a result of lax marking, as did both of Genoa’s, and the back four have started to look frantic when under pressure.

The addition of the very inexperienced Pierre Kalulu to the back line against Genoa did little to change their fortunes as he failed to deal with Mattia Destro, who scored both of the host’s goals. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Maldini looks to add a more experienced centre back to play alongside captain Alessio Romagnoli when the transfer window opens to tighten things up.

IT’S NOT ALL DOOM AND GLOOM

Despite only taking two points from their last two league games the Rossoneri still occupy pole position in Serie A and along with Juventus they are the only team who remain unbeaten in the competition.

The mark of all good teams is their ability to take points from games when they are not at their best and Milan have continued to do that despite some sub par performances. If they can master the art of sneaking a win from those contests rather than a draw they could be in line to win their first Scudetto in a decade.