AC Milan's successful youth movement alters expectations in Serie A
"Milan Baby Boom" was the Gazzetta Sportiva headline after an attention-grabbing 1-0 win for AC Milan over Juventus on Saturday, which pushed the Rossoneri into second place in Serie A. The "babies" it alluded to included Manuel Locatelli, the 18-year-old breakout star who followed up his debut goal earlier this month in the 4-3 win over Sassuolo with the winning goal against the Serie A champion and current leader, an arguably better strike form the edge of the area.
Then came the intervention of Gianluigi Donnarumma, the 17-year-old goalkeeper whose injury-time save from Sami Khedira ensured the points. The result was not without controversy, as Miralem Pjanic had a free kick disallowed for what looked a questionable offside.
Does this mean that there is a new contender for the Scudetto this season? With Napoli missing Arkadiusz Milik for the next five months after his knee injury, there is a chance for this upwardly mobile Milan side to bid for a top-three spot. Coach Vincenzo Montella, celebrating his 200th game on the touchline, warned his players that this result will change how other teams now approach it.
“I told the lads a new season begins now, because after this the opposition and everyone else will have different expectations of us,” he said. “They will approach us a different way and the pressure on us will also be different.”
How this young group copes with that remains to be seen–but it’s nice to see a storied club as Milan is back among the top.