After their disappointing title defence last term, AC Milan got their Serie A 2023/24 scudetto hopes off to the perfect start on Matchday 1 with a dominant 2-0 win over Bologna at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara. The victory and performance showed clear signs of their intentions this season.
Goals from Olivier Giroud and Christian Pulisic inside the opening quarter of the game in Emilia-Romagna gave the Rossoneri a commanding lead that they never looked like relinquishing. Their only issues on the night came with the visiting dressing room, as they were forced to spend the half-time break out on the pitch because of an air conditioning problem.
Timeless Giroud still the main man for Milan
Although the Frenchman is fast approaching his 37th birthday at the end of September and the Milanese giants have reinforced their striking options with Noah Okafor and Samuel Chukwueze, Olivier Giroud remains as influential as ever at the Stadio San Siro.
The France Men’s National Team’s all-time record goalscorer was once again setting the tone for the Rossoneri attack and despite the stifling temperatures in Emilia-Romagna and across the peninsula on the opening weekend, and will his experience will be crucial for coach Stefano Pioli as he looks to integrate the others into the squad.
On 11 minutes, a deep cross to the back post from Pulisic was kept in play and volleyed low across the six-yard box by Tijjani Reijnders, and Giroud showed his experience by pulling away beyond the other post and firing the ball home first-time. While the legs might tire across a long and challenging campaign, his influence is unlikely to diminish.
Are AC Milan the 2023/24 Serie A title favourites?
While Napoli, Inter and Juventus made winning starts to the 2023/24 campaign, some smart recruitment by the Rossoneri this summer has made them the most dangerous-looking challenger for the Partenopei’s crown this season. And Milan were quick to signal their intent in Bologna.
Pioli was bold enough to start summer signings Pulisic, Reijnders and Ruben Loftus-Cheek against the Rossoblu and the trio looked as though they had already far more than one pre-season together learning to operate in a new 4-3-3 formation being used.
The fast start could have influenced their game plan, with the temperatures at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara guaranteed to slow down the play as time wore on. But, unlike last term, Milan now have the additional threat of Okafor and Chukwueze to call upon.
Pulisic off to the perfect start with AC Milan
After an injury-interrupted last season at Chelsea, which brought just one Premier League goal, Pulisic made a great start to life in an AC Milan shirt, playing a role in the opener for Giroud and then scoring a stunning second. The USMNT captain collected the ball by the halfway line, drove forward and exchanged passes with the Frenchman and sent a shot arrowing past goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski.
The 24-year-old is the most likely man to fill the void left by Brahim Diaz‘s return to Real Madrid. As well, despite being the same age as the Spaniard, the American brings a wealth of experience to the Rossoneri, having made almost double the number of competitive appearances during a career that kicked off at Borussia Dortmund in 2015.
It will be interesting to see if he can improve his goalscoring output in Milan after his debut strike, though, having only once reached double figures for a season – during his first season with Chelsea. A career best of seven was twice achieved by Diaz with the Rossoneri, and they will expect Pulisic to provide a bigger goal threat, and he has made the perfect start.