Empoli vs Milan Player Ratings: Kessie’s Redemption

On Wednesday night, Serie A fans tuned in to watch the swansong of the year 2021, and the meeting between Empoli and Milan did not disappoint, serving the loyal Calcio fanatics one last goal-fest. Franck Kessié broke the deadlock early on, but the hosts swiftly found an equalizer through Nedim Bajrami. Nevertheless, the Ivorian was adamant on ending the year on a high note, and he managed to restore the visitors’ lead. The Rossoneri added two more goals in the second half in courtesy of their fullbacks Alessandro Florenzi and Theo Hernandez, but Andrea Pinamonti pulled one back for the Tuscans from the spot. So let’s check out the player ratings for the spectacular clash between Empoli and Milan which ended 4-2 in favor of the Diavolo.

Empoli XI

Guglielmo Vicario – 5.5

It’s never a happy day for a goalkeeper who concedes four goals. The Italian shot-stopper was the main culprit on the second goal as he allowed Kessié’s low shot to pass between his legs. Perhaps could have done better on Florenzi’s freekick as well. But dealt well with a last-second rocket from Romagnoli.

Petar Stojanovic – 5

The Slovenian struggled to contain Saelemaekers, allowing his opponent to instigate two goals during the first half. He was substituted by Aurelio Andreazzoli at halftime in favor of the more defensively-solid Marchizza.

Simone Romagnoli – 6

It wasn’t a bad performance from the “other Romagnoli”, who also happens to be side’s captain. Helped in containing Giroud for most of the match, even if he struggled against the Frenchman’s physicality at times.

Sebastiano Luperto – 6

The Napoli loanne would have hoped to present a Christmas gift for his parent club by holding their league rivals. He proved to be a capable opponent for Giroud, but the striker beat him for the ball to set up the match’s opening goal for Kessié.

Fabiano Parisi – 6

The young Italian started brightly at left-black, providing a burst of energy on the flank. But his impact faded in the second half after switching to the right. Another fullback who found difficulties against Saelemaekers.

Liam Henderson – 5.5

The former Verona man had a quiet evening, and perhaps he should have been more alerted ahead of the first goal, as he failed to lend his teammates a hand despite being relatively close to the action.

Samuele Ricci – 5.5

The Regista fought hard all night long, but the second goal took the wind out of Empoli’s sails, and this is when Milan became much more dominant in the middle of the park.

Szymon Zurkowski – 5.5

A shy performance from the Polish midfielder. Failed to track Kessie’s run which led to the Rossoneri’s second goal.

Nedim Bajrami – 7

The Albanian simply didn’t deserve to be on the losing side. We’ve been talking about his prowess since the beginning of the campaign, and he once again showcased why he’s one of the best up-and-coming playmakers in Italy. Equalized the scoring for the Azzurri with a brilliant shot, and could have replicated the scenario in the second half, but his effort was denied by the woodwork.

Patrick Cutrone – 5.5

The striker put up an industrial performance as ever against his former club, but he just couldn’t find his way around the mighty Tomori.

Andrea Pinamonti – 6.5

The young Italian deserved to put his name on the scoresheet after coming close on a few occasions, and he eventually converted the late spot kick which restored some pride for the home side.

Empoli Substitutes

Riccardo Marchizza – 5.5

Introduced at halftime to bolster the defense, but his contribution on the left flank was minimal

Filippo Bandinelli – 5

Held the ball for Theo which allowed Milan to score their fourth and put the match to bed early.

Andrea La Mantia – 5.5

Threatened with one header but it went wide.

Leo Stulac – N/A

Kristjan Asllani – N/A

Milan XI

Mike Maignan – 6

The former Lille goalkeeper put a hand on Bajrami’s shot, but the power took it past him. Made a crucial save on Pinamonti’s cheeky shot in the first half.

Alessandro Florenzi – 6.5

The right-back was having a relatively quiet night according to his standards, but he surely made up for it by surprisingly scoring from a freekick. Always has a new trick up his sleeve.

Fikayo Tomori – 7

Another dominating performance from the former Chelsea man who continues to grow from strength to strength. Comfortably dealt with Cutrone and La Mantia.

Alessio Romagnoli – 6.5

The captain had some nervous moments against Pinamonti, but did well in general to preserve the win. Almost ended his year with a stunning goal but his long range effort was denied by Vicario.

Theo Hernandez – 6.5

The France international wasn’t enjoying his best night, but when the Empoli defenses gifted him a ball inside the penalty box, he surely wasn’t going to refuse such a precious gift.

Sandro Tonali – 6

The young Italian fought too hard for his own good. His over-physical challenges earned him a yellow card which resulted in his substitution early in the second half. But still made some critical interceptions, including a vital block to deny Pinamonti’s shot.

Ismael Bennacer – 5.5

The Algerian offered some quantity but not so much in terms of quality. Also earned a yellow card late in the second half after stopping an Empoli attack.

Junior Messias – 5.5

The former Crotone man had a disappointing outing for the second time in a week. Tried to dribble past his markers, but even when he succeeded, his shots failed to threaten the opposition.

Franck Kessié – 7.5

Following a tough first half of the season, the Ivorian redeemed himself while playing in an unusual position just behind the striker. Stefano Pioli’s maneuver definitely worked out well for Milan, as it allowed the 25-year-old the opportunity to menace the opposition with his dangerous shots, resulting in two first half goals.

Alexis Saelemaekeres – 7

While Kessié will find his face on the headlines tomorrow morning, the Belgian was the unsung hero for Milan tonight. Playing on the left flank, his crosses were behind three of his side’s goals, while also causing endless problems for Stojanovic and Parisi.

Olivier Giroud – 6

The former Arsenal and Chelsea man was rarely seen all night long, but his physical presence was crucial for Pioli’s plans, which is why he kept him on the pitch until the final whistle. Provided the assist for Kessié’s first goal with a simple yet smart pass.

Milan Substitutes

Tiemoué Bakayoko – 5.5

Helped the Rossoneri in winning the midfield battle, but then gave away a penalty kick as the ball struck his arm.

Pierre Kalulu – 5.5

Found some difficulties when going forward, but looked decent at the back.

Rade Krunic – N/A

Brahim Diaz – N/A