Ismael Bennacer conceded two penalties in one match against Fiorentina on Sunday, and his start to life in Milan hasn’t exactly been inspiring so far.
Bennacer completed a move from Empoli to AC Milan in August, after impressing at the Africa Cup of Nations as Algeria won the international tournament.
There was a lot of expectation placed on the ex-Arsenal academy 21-year-old as a result of AFCON and his big-money move, but things haven’t gone to plan so far. Milan have lost three of the four games he’s featured in – when he’s been involved at all.
After Bennacer’s first start against Brescia (the only win Milan have managed with him in the side so far), he was dropped to the bench for the next two games.
Marco Giampaolo cryptically explained at the time: “I see and hear, I have perceptions about the players. Biglia knows how to play, Bennacer is a strong player. I build the foundations with the players that I believe are right at that moment.”
Bennacer did return to the starting lineup last week against Torino, before playing 90 minutes against Fiorentina.
Unfortunately, that game was probably his worst so far, conceding two penalties as his team lost 3-1. It was the first time a player had conceded two spot-kicks in one Serie A match since 2013.
This isn’t to say Milan fans should be writing Bennacer off already. On the ball, he’s been very solid, completing 89% of his passes and creating a chance per game from holding midfield. Perhaps he just needs some time to settle into his defensive duties.