Milan Player Ratings vs Sassuolo: Pulisic Lives Up to Hero Tag Again

Milan reinforced their position in the Serie A top four with a gutsy 1-0 home win against a resilient Sassuolo side on Saturday evening. Despite performing well below expectations, Stefano Pioli’s side got an all-important triumph over the line to close out 2023 on a winning note.

Pressure was mounting on Pioli following a dismal 2-2 draw at rock-bottom Salernitana last time out. With table-topping Inter already miles away and fifth-placed Fiorentina breathing down their necks, victory was imperative for Milan. 

Luckily for Pioli, San Siro proved a safe haven again. Milan had won three consecutive home league matches before the kick-off, inspiring confidence among the Lombard faithful as Rossoneri sought their first top-flight home win against Sassuolo since 2019. 

But the hosts’ first-half performance left a lot to be desired, even though they comfortably held Sassuolo at arm’s length. Christian Pulisic embraced the spotlight when it mattered the most. 

Ismael Bennacer threaded the ball through the visitors’ backline for the USMNT forward, who finished with aplomb to fire Milan in front on the cusp of the hour mark. Rossoneri spent the remainder of the game running down the clock, and Sassuolo’s faceless attack lent a helping hand. 

Let’s look at our player ratings. 

Milan 4-3-3

Mike Maignan – 6.5

After conceding five in this corresponding fixture last season, the Frenchman spent most of today’s game as a spectator. Had to make some routine saves, though.

Davide Calabria – 7

Heavily involved on both ends of the field, the Milan captain ran his socks off this evening. Although his attacking contribution flattered to deceive, he did a splendid job holding Armand Lauriente at bay. 

Simon Kjaer – 7

Another authoritative showing from the veteran defender! In addition to making numerous crucial interceptions, he dominated Andrea Pinamonti in the air. 

Theo Hernandez – 7

Back at the heart of Pioli’s backline, the 26-year-old barely put his foot wrong tonight. Calm with the ball at his feet and aggressive at winning it back, he led by example.

Alessandro Florenzi – 6

Despite enjoying much of the ball, his decision-making often let him down, but he redeemed himself for a blunt attacking performance with a top-notch marking of Domenico Berardi. 

Tijjani Reijnders – 6.5

With confidence oozing out of every pore, the Dutchman danced in the center of the park, moving the ball around quickly and purposely while completing several trademark runs through the middle. 

Ismael Bennacer – 7.5

If anyone doubted the Algerian’s ability to slot right back into Pioli’s starting XI following a lengthy spell on the sidelines, today’s reassuring performance put such skepticism to bed. 

Ruben Loftus-Cheek – 6

Seemingly tired and out of steam, the Englishman seemed on the back foot from the get-go. Pioli could’ve taken him off sooner. 

Rafael Leao – 6

Had a first-half goal disallowed for a clear offside, but other than that, the Portuguese forward failed to impress. Wasted too many balls and couldn’t beat his men in one-v-ones time and time again.

Christian Pulisic – 7.5

After a relatively quiet first half, the former Chelsea star burst to life after the break and scored another precious winner with a routine finish past Andrea Consigli. 

Olivier Giroud – 6

A frustrating game for the experienced frontman! Not only did he lack a proper service in the box, he was often required to drop deep to help Milan build their slow attacks. 


Yacine Adli – 6.5

Luka Jovic – 6

Kevin Zeroli – 5.5

Samuel Chukwueze – 6

Jan-Carlo Simic – 6.5

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