Simone Inzaghi was not the manager for this success, with the former Lazio manager replacing Antonio Conte in the summer. The loss of key players such as Romelu Lukaku, Achraf Hakimi and Christian Eriksen has made the Inter team, not the force it was this time last season.
Milan may have been worried at the start of the season with the calibre of players they lost. The saga surrounding Gianluigi Donnarumma’s future was finally resolved, with Italy’s starting goalkeeper swapping Milan for Paris. Key central midfielder Hakan Calhanogulu did the unthinkable as he swapped Milan for Inter.
Pioli was smart in the transfer market and made sure his Milan side could put up a title challenge. The signing of England centre-back Fikayo Tomori from Chelsea, after being on loan at San Siro last season as well as Ligue 1 title winner Mike Maignan from Lille has been inspired.
Conceding just 29 games in 31 league games so far this season, Milan has managed to concede 20% fewer goals than at this time last season. Four more clean sheets have also been kept in comparison to this time last season, 13 instead of nine.
Pioli’s most key signing in the transfer market was arguably that of Olivier Giroud. Arriving for £900,000 from European champions Chelsea, the 34-year-old has shown that quality can triumph regardless of age.
His eight league goals this season have included the vital winners against Scudetto rivals Napoli and Inter. He’s been part of a Milan team that shares the goals and has the third-best attack in Serie A.