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AC Milan’s unexpected solution


Just half a season in Milan, and without spending too much time adapting to the new playing environment, Romagnoli’s once “invulnerable” starting position went to Tomori, which is more than enough. testament to how much of an impression the England midfielder has made at the Rossoneri.

Fikayo Tomori
Photo: Getty Images

On January 22, 2021, Fikayo Tomori joined AC Milan on loan from Chelsea. On January 28, 2021, captain Alessandro Romagnoli’s starting position was occupied by a British rookie in the match against AS Roma. The stormy rise of this young central defender in a short time has surprised the fans, as well as the Rossoneri’s leadership.

Since Romagnoli joined the San Siro team in the summer of 2015, many other defenders have signed for Milan and have quickly left. However, for the midfielder who was expected to become a perfect successor to the legendary Alessandro Nesta, no manager dared to exclude him from the Rossoneri’s starting lineup. Until Fikayo Tomori appeared.

The former Chelsea academy graduate was not the first choice of technical director Paolo Maldini and his associates. He is also not the second choice, or even the third option in the list of names that the Milan leadership aims to increase the depth and quality of the central defender position in the 2020 / season. 2021.

After failing to achieve goals pursued for months like Mohamed Simaken and Ozan Kabak by Rossoneri’s extremely stingy negotiating style, Tomori became the name that was reluctantly brought back with a tactic. has become the hallmark of Maldini and his associates in the transfer market – a loan agreement with an option to buy out.

After all, Milan have benefited greatly from one of Frank Lampard’s most disastrous mistakes as Chelsea manager. Initially, the purpose of Tomori being brought back to the Rossoneri was just to increase the depth of personnel, but surprisingly, the English midfielder exceeded expectations and completely “knock” captain Romagnoli out of the starting lineup. Favorite match of head coach Stefano Pioli with his amazing performances.

A “PRESSING MASTER”

The tactical system of head coach Stefano Pioli requires his players to regularly press high and high intensity with the opponent all over the field. Tomori’s defensive style fits this requirement perfectly.

Tomori’s “natural instinct” is to be proactive in defense, always ready to block attacks from the very beginning before the opponent can put the ball into dangerous areas. Usually he will leave his position and rush to challenge an opponent holding the ball, if the English midfielder can steal the ball, it will be “two swallows with one arrow”. First, an attack was suppressed before it could grow to a more dangerous level, and second, the opportunity to launch a counterattack appeared.

Tomori is a true “press master”, he has the highest average pressing success rate per 90 minutes compared to his teammates in the center of the Rossoneri defence. The figures recorded in Tomori were 39.4%, and those of Simon Kjaer and Romagnoli were 29.6% and 30.6% respectively – a very clear disparity.

Fikayo Tomori

Fikayo Tomori

The prerequisite for central defenders who tend to like high pressing is to have a fast speed to run back in time when needed. In this respect, Tomori can also respond perfectly – he is one of the fastest players on the team at both Chelsea and Milan. While playing for the home team at Stamford Bridge, Tomori once confidently declared that he was the fastest player in this club when commenting on the speed index that the FIFA 20 game installed for himself and was wholeheartedly approved by Mason Mount. Fort. The English midfielder has also featured in many articles as one of the 10 fastest Premier League players in 2020.

The famous coach Fabio Capello also had a share praising Tomori’s great speed in an interview with PianetaMilan: “Paolo Maldini and Frederic Massara made a great deal, because of their speed. Tomori is one of the most important factors for a defender, besides the ability to clearly perceive how to defend in different situations. Speed ​​will help a lot in defense.”

Fikayo Tomori
Fikayo Tomori

Tomori’s power of speed becomes even more impressive, as well as valuable, when you compare it to the stark contrast that his Milan team-mates at centre-back present. At the age of 32, Kjaer is naturally not as energetic as he was in his youth and speed will be a weakness for him, while Romagnoli has been beaten by opponents with speed so often that Milanistas are used to it. I am tired of this image.

MODERN MODERN AND TRADITIONAL

In addition to being a very passionate and bold “press player”, Tomori is also really excellent in many basic aspects of defense.

It is the English midfielder who makes the most tackles per 90 minutes (2.02) and has the most successful tackles per 90 minutes (0.92), compared to Kjaer (1.92). and 0.79) and Romagnoli (0.85 and 0.42). His disabling success rate (57.1%) is also the highest of the 3 – Kjaer is 52.2% and Romagnoli is 41.2%.

Tomori also recorded the most number of passes per 90 minutes at 1.92, while Kjaer’s was 1.43 and Romagnoli’s was 0.66. In addition, his interceptions (2.32) and clearances (5.59) per 90 minutes are also superior to those of his two teammates (Kjaer is 2.11 and 5.45 respectively and Romagnoli is 1.94 and 4.81)

It can be concluded that, at the age of 23, Tomori not only possesses the vigor of youth, he also displays an ability to read the game, understand situations and judge very well, as well as possess a really great potential. great.

“28 million euros for Tomori is a huge bargain. In terms of judgment, speed and agility, he is better than Matthijs de Ligt, who cost Juventus 85 million euros to bring in,” said famous Italian football journalist Paolo Ziliani. determined.

Here is a great tackle from Tomori in a match against Manchester United posted on AC Milan’s official YouTube channel:

Or another situation:

Fikayo Tomori

Defenders in modern football tend to be required to meet the three criteria of being fast, very mobile, and being able to handle and pass the ball well. As for Tomori, he has fully met all three requirements when wearing the Rossoneri shirt. Of course he is very fast, very mobile, and according to WhoScored, one of the noted strengths in the English midfielder also includes passing the ball.

The England midfielder’s average pass success rate per 90 minutes is the highest (90.6%) compared to his two teammates Romagnoli (90.5%) and Kjaer (88.3%) in Milan. He also has an impressive long pass statistic, averaging 10.13 long passes every 90 minutes and having a success rate of 74.5%. At the same time, although the number of forward passes per 90 minutes recorded in Tomori is the lowest compared to the two Danish and Italian teammates, the difference is not large (Tomori 2.27, Kjaer 2.71 and Romagnoli 2.31).

Fikayo Tomori
Fikayo Tomori
Fikayo Tomori

The above information proves that Tomori’s very high pass success rate does not only come from safe passes, but also from “high dose” decisions. Besides that, he is also often willing to receive the ball from teammates around him – even when under pressure – and this certainly provides a great support for the team’s goalkeeper.

In addition, Tomori is ready to go high in the offensive phase if he has to, and once again, he continues to outperform the two central defenders in another statistic – the number of times.” pull the ball” every 90 minutes – with 1.6, while Kjaer’s is 1.28 and Romagnoli is 1.18.

Fikayo Tomori
Fikayo Tomori

Not only is a good midfielder passing the ball, but also ready to “pull the ball”, that’s why the xGBuildup statistic – the average value of the times he participates in the ball deployment is based on the “expected goal” index. – of Tomori is recorded as 0.53 by Statsbomb.

Aspects that need IMPROVEMENT

At both Milan and Chelsea, though Tomori had really impressive “air combat” performances – most notably a jump header up to 2.63m to score against Juventus, and was recorded 100% aerial win rate also in this match – however, overall, this is still an area where he needs to improve a lot – at least in terms of stability.

Tomori is the shortest of the Rossoneri’s top 3 central defenders with a height of 1.84m. Although only slightly shorter than Romagnoli (1.85m), his ability to win in aerial contentious situations is much worse than “Il Capitano”. Romagnoli is the player recorded with the best aerial ability of Milan’s top three centre-backs, achieving an average of 69.9% successful air contests per 90 minutes, Kjaer 62.3%, and Tomori has the lowest statistic with 55.6%.

CONCLUDE

Just half a season in Milan, and without spending too much time adapting to the new playing environment, Romagnoli’s once “invulnerable” starting position went to Tomori, which is more than enough. testament to how much of an impression the England midfielder has made at the Rossoneri.

“Tomori has motivated himself with talent and determination. He has no fear at all when he has to play in a new environment. In terms of ability, I believe Tomori can completely become a great player,” former famous defender Franco Baresi once affirmed.

After the 2020/2021 season ends, one of the topics that Milanistas are most interested in is whether Paolo Maldini and his associates are determined and capable enough to keep Tomori.

The purchase fee of 28 million euros for a high-quality central defender is not a huge amount. But given Milan’s extremely sensitive financial situation and the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to the football world, this is not an easy task for the Rossoneri, even though both ” big boss” Franco Baresi and Maldini have both confirmed that the club will do whatever it takes to own Tomori from Chelsea.

After all, there is no need to wait too long after the summer transfer window officially opens, the Milanistas and certainly the head coach Pioli can breathe a sigh of relief with the club leadership showing up. realize his statement about the case of the English midfielder.

Tomori could be a better centre-back, maybe not, but he’s definitely showing a really great ability and has a huge potential to keep exploring, that’s why. do is more than enough for Paolo Maldini and his associates to continue to trust to bet big – 28 million euros is indeed a “huge” amount for the Rossoneri – on the young English star.

(The statistics used in the article are taken from FBref.com and only in the Serie A 2020/2021) arena.



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