With Milan getting some players back, Allegri has big decisions ahead

Posted by Sumeet Paul

Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Milan's poor start to the season has been well publicised this past week, with the media and critics suggesting that there is an early crisis brewing for Massimiliano Allegri. However, Milanello is expected to be a much happier place after the international schedule with a few familiar faces joining in at training.

With Mattia De Sciglio, Matias Silvestre, Daniele Bonera and Riccardo Saponara all expected to continue full training and Mario Balotelli also returning from suspension, Allegri has more options than usual at his disposal.

In addition, Kaka and Stephan El Shaarawy are expected to be ready shortly after, thus resulting in as close to a fully fit squad as the Milan coach can ask for.

While it is undoubtedly a boost for the club, there are some big tactical decisons that Allegri has ahead. Team captain Riccardo Montolivo has been playing out of position and has the opportunity to return to his favored spot in front of the defence. Nigel De Jong has filled in at that spot as the protective screen so far this season and done a commendable job but the Dutchman is limited in the sense that he doesn't possess the level of passing ability and vision of his team-mate.

Similarly to rivals Juventus, Roma and even the Azzurri function with arguably their best midfielder in the centre, having Montolivo at the heart of the midfield with protection on either side would provide him with the chance to dictate play and consistently be involved.

His campaign has also been interrupted by injury, which adds fuel to the fire for most critics, but considering he is perhaps Milan's most capable ball-playing midfielder, it would surely make sense to move him into a role where he can most influence the game.

The Italian international has been forced to play in the trequartista role in recent games due to injuries, but with either Saponara or Kaka expected to be installed in the line-up he can return to a more withdrawn position in midfield.

Should he continue to disappoint, Allegri will have some tough decisions to deal wit. It is doubtful he will give Bryan Cristante an opportunity, but at this time Montolivo will be useful in that position while Kaka will create the link between the midfield and attack.

Nevertheless, the defence remains the Rossoneri's biggest weakness and it remains to be seen who Allegri will decide to pair Cristian Zapata with. Speculation on Tuesday suggested that there is an agreement for Adil Rami in January, and despite the move being six months too late it will be a welcome addition to hopefully provide some solidity in central defence.

For now, Mexes' absence will provide a back-up option with the chance to impress and become a more permanent fixture in the line-up. Despite the Zapata-Mexes partnership guiding the club to the third best defence in Serie A last year, that form has not been replicated this season and the Frenchman’s suspension may come as a blessing in disguise in that Allegri is forced to make a change.

What is Montolivo's best position? Who should replace Mexes?

For all the latest Milan and Serie A news, you can follow me on Twitter @italiafooty


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