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AC Milan

How Milan Primavera have started 2022-23

While taking stock of the start to the season that AC Milan have had, it would be remiss not to mention the Primavera side and what has been a mixed beginning.

The best way to summarise the start that the Primavera have had under their first full season with Ignazio Abate as head coach could be perfectly symbolised in the last two league games. Milan beat Atalanta 4-0 in one of the best afternoons of the year for them and hoped to go into the break with another victory against Lecce, but instead they lost to remain on 15 points after 12 rounds of league action.

Indeed, the record of seven defeats, no draws and five defeats tells its own story: either the young Rossoneri have too much for their opponents or they are unable to grind out a useful result in the most difficult challenges.

The feeling is that Abate’s boys have demonstrated their talent well in the opening part of the season and probably deserved more points on the board, with a red card for goalkeeper Lapo Nava strongly influencing the defeat against Lecce in the last game for example.

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However, the fact is that they are stationed in the bottom half of a tight table, albeit five points above the relegation play-off zone that they only avoided dropping into during the last round of action in 2021-22. Moreover, Milan have the third-best attack with 22 goals scored so far.

The Rossoneri’s journey in the Coppa Italia Primavera ended early, again largely down to a red card (this time against Genoa) perhaps showing an issue with discipline, but the real yardstick of where this team are at has come in Europe.

Due to the fact Milan won the Scudetto last season and thus qualified for the Champions League again, the Primavera were in the Youth League again hoping for better than finishing bottom of last year’s group with Liverpool, Atletico Madrid and Porto like the senior side did.

They passed the test with flying colours, ending the group with four wins, two draws and zero defeats, with three in a row coming in the second half of the group stage including particularly satisfying home wins over Chelsea (a talent factory) and Salzburg (last year’s finalists).

Finishing top of that group was a demonstration of quality, and the Rossoneri qualified for the round of 16 among the top seeds so they are waiting to know their opponent after the play-offs in February.

In terms of individuals, there are a few players who have been almost ever-present as Andrei Coubis, Antonio Gala, Bob Murphy Omoregbe, Victor Eleti, Kevin Zeroli, Andrea Bozzolan, Adam Bakoune, Gabriele Alesi, Lapo Nava and Nicholas Pluvio have all made 10 or more appearances.

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Younis El Hilali started the season well and racked up five goals in six games, with Jordan Longhi following behind (four in seven games), Chaka Traore having four in eight and Marko Lazetic on three in five.

The main results worth mentioning are the 5-1 thrashing of Cesena back in August, the 3-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb in round two of the Youth League, a 3-0 win away against Bologna, beating Chelsea 3-1 at the Vismara and the aforementioned 4-0 drubbing of Atalanta.

Now there is a period of rest and recovery, while the team will be back together in early December to restart preparation. Games against Napoli, Juventus and Inter await early in the second part of the season, with the main aim being to establish some consistency domestically.

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