Stefano Pioli’s AC Milan is taking shape. Even though many players are away on international duty this week, the former Fiorentina manager has had some time to work with part of the first-team squad at Milanello, and the media seem to have a pretty clear picture of how the Rossoneri will line up come next Saturday.
Just like Marco Giampaolo, who was sacked from his position earlier this week, Pioli is expected to use the 4-3-3 formation as it’s the best option based on the players that Milan have. Furthermore, the 4-2-3-1 formation is expected to be the alternative, given that he has alternated between the two in the past.
In other words, the biggest change will be in the approach, as Pioli’s tactics certainly are different compared to Giampaolo’s. Of course, both focus a lot on the attacking phase, though the execution on the pitch can’t be regarded as similar since Pioli likes to make use of the wide areas, while Giampaolo is very keen on playing through the middle.
Therefore, there won’t be a major overhaul personnel-wise, but rather with regards to the philosophy. At the back, Musacchio and Romagnoli are expected to pair up in the middle as usual, although Caldara’s return (which seems imminent) should result in the Argentine being relegated to the bench.
On the flanks, Calabria and Hernandez remain the favourites, although Conti could give the former a run for his money. In fact, he will play from start against Lecce as Calabria is serving a one-game suspension, having received his second red card of the season after just seven games.
According to the latest reports, Pioli will rely on Biglia to add some much-needed experience to a very young squad. In other words, he should start in the middle ahead of Bennacer, having already had an individual meeting with the manager about what he believes are the main issues of the team for the time being. Alongside him, the usual battles are expected.
Once again, there will be no major changes up front either. Although they haven’t been at their best at the start of the season, Suso and Piatek more or less have cemented their respective spot in the starting eleven. Of course, there will be a period of evaluation for Pioli, who hopefully can get the duo going. To the left, either Leao or Rebic will get the chance.
Likely XI (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Calabria, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Kessie, Biglia, Paqueta; Suso, Piatek, Leao.
Bonaventura is also worth a shout, having returned from his knee surgery. The Italian played from start against Genoa and did really well, acting as a link between the midfield and attack. Of course, he’s also very experienced, which we know will be useful for the Rossoneri.
Overall, Pioli will have some thinking to do, especially since there are a few tricky positions with regards to the player selection. However, I’m sure he will get a pretty good idea of the starting eleven once the international break ends, thus giving him the chance to work with all of the players.
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