Even though AC Milan lost against Juventus, falling further down the standings, there is still some light at the end of the tunnel. The Rossoneri put up a good fight against the Bianconeri, who had to rely on a piece of individual brilliance from Dybala off the bench to win the game in the end.
Of course, in Milan’s situation, a good performance simply isn’t enough to turn their situation around, let alone climb up the standings. However, as the team was able to put arguably the best Italian side in so much trouble, surely they are at least on the right path.
Then again, we will just have to wait and see if it was a one-off, or if Stefano Pioli actually has managed to get through to his players. In any case, the manager should build on the positives ahead of the clash with Napoli, including the 4-2-3-1 formation which he deployed in the final 30 minutes of the game.
It took a lot of guts from Pioli to make the change, as his midfield tandem suddenly consisted of Bennacer and Paqueta. However, it paid off as both performed really well defensively. Considering that his favourite position is closer to the opposition’s penalty box, the Brazilian should receive some extra credit for his performance.
Furthermore, the San Siro side were able to shut down Juve’s wingers and full-backs much more effectively, which was one of the points that Pioli brought up in his post-match interview. With the 4-3-3, the midfield was often very compact, which opened up space on the flanks. The manager’s change fixed this, adding more defensive stability.
Against Napoli, though, a few changes will have to be made as Bennacer and Calhanoglu are suspended, which quite frankly is a big blow for the Rossoneri. Biglia is expected to replace the Algerian, while the race for the Turk’s spot is still open. Should he change formation, then it would be fairly easy to solve these issues without feeling the absence too much.
Since Calhanoglu’s suspension opens up a spot up front, Pioli should opt for Biglia and Krunic for the midfield tandem, thus freeing Paqueta to start in a more attacking role. Apart from the obvious choices, such as Suso and Piatek, you could get a lot of different styles from this formation based on the selections for the remaining positions.
My ideal AC Milan XI (4-2-3-1): Donnarumma; Conti, Duarte, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Biglia, Krunic; Suso, Paqueta, Bonaventura; Piatek.
You could easily start Leao on the left flank instead of Bonaventura, but the feeling is that the latter would guarantee more in the defensive phase. Furthermore, it’s a perfect opportunity to get the Italian going, having recovered from an injury recently. No matter the formation, the main topic of discussion will probably be the centre-forward role.
Piatek was disappointing against Juventus, and even though he didn’t get many chances, he missed those that he had. In order to get back to winning ways, Milan need to be more composed. For the time being, Pioli’s men are good enough in the defensive phase. Up front, on the other hand, they just aren’t cutting it. Hopefully, the change in formation could inspire them to do better.
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