One of the biggest positives of this season for Milan thus far has been the impact of summer signing Theo Hernandez, but there might be cause for concern over his form since the restart.
The optimism was immediate last summer after his stellar performance against Bayern Munich in pre-season, but after he sustained an ankle injury in that game, we had to wait to see him light things up for us in Serie A.
Prior to the coronavirus lockdown, he had six goals and four assists in 25 games, and with his explosive, tireless runs forward down the left flank, he introduced a new dynamic to our attack that few teams could deal with as he emerged as one of our most important players.
Things haven’t quite fitted back into place since the season restarted though.
Not 100 percent fit? Something not quite right…
While the Frenchman was suspended for the Coppa Italia clash with Juventus, he has returned to the starting line-up since and has featured against Lecce, Roma and SPAL.
To his credit, he hasn’t looked as troubled defensively since the restart as that was a major flaw in his game this season, and so perhaps work and focus has gone into that side of his game over the lockdown period.
What is noticeable though is that he’s not attacking with the same conviction and explosiveness, as he hasn’t quite managed to show the brilliant form that he displayed previously and that has undoubtedly been obvious in our last three games.
Hernandez did win the penalty against Roma, but that aside, he perhaps doesn’t look fully fit or a minor knock is bothering him. That’s mere speculation at this point, but he doesn’t look quite right when you consider how influential he was just a matter of months ago.
As noted by MilanNews, he may well have actually come away with a slight injury against SPAL after the foul from Marco D’Alessandro which earned him a red card, but it’s suggested that it isn’t serious and he’ll be available against Lazio.
While that is good news as he can be a game-changer when he’s performing at his top level and is still unmatched when it comes to our options at full-back on both flanks, it’s hoped that he can rediscover that spark this weekend as we’ve arguably seen a more timid and restrained Hernandez since the restart and that’s denying us a really important factor in attack.
That said, goals haven’t been a problem as we’ve scored eight in three games. Despite that though, when Hernandez is firing on all cylinders and is bursting forward down the left to give his opponent nightmares, it usually leads to positive things happening for us as a result.