Let’s analyze the goalless draw between Milan and Newcastle. The key was the poor press from Newcastle in a mid block, conceding many chances. Eddie Howe’s plan was clear, to prevent Krunic from receiving the ball in the build-up, covering him Bruno Guimarães. Milan were forced to play with their centre-backs, hoping Newcastle that under pressure they would throw long balls, being the Newcastle centre-backs strong in the aerial duels.
Pioli found several solutions to counter Newcastle’s plan. Maignan generating superiority, the right back, Calabria, inverting, pushing Krunic up, dragging Guimarães, being Calabria the spare man.
The other solution was in the time Newcastle gave the centre-backs to make the best decision. As Newcastle were in a mid block, the centre-backs had time to find players behind the second line of press.
We see it here, as Loftus-Cheek is unmarked, no one jumps on the ball holder, finding the pass that breaks the 2 lines.
Exactly the same in this play in which Milan moves the ball quickly after recovering, Newcastle doesn’t close the central channel, with the midfielders at the same height, allowing the pass.
Newcastle’s other weakness was in Trippier’s area, as he was the only player capable of providing solutions in possession. This meant that he was out of position in defensive transitions, in addition to not receiving support. In the cross we see a 3 v 2 at the far post with Tommaso Pobega free.
When the ball reached the left side, Theo Hernández broke the press with his classic drives, no opposition, attacking space Rafael Leão.
Milan lacked accuracy in finishing, having all kind of chances to win the game.
Good performance by Milan to open the Champions League, Newcastle suffered in the mid block, but in the end both took a point in the group of death.