Tactical confusion could become an issue at Milan

Posted by Sumeet Paul

In the aftermath of the draw with Barcelona on Tuesday, there was a general sense that Milan could now turn a corner and take confidence from their performance. However, after Barbara Berlusconi suggested that her father’s tactical suggestions had been implemented by Massimiliano Allegri, which system should the Rossoneri use moving forward?

The attacking trident without a recognised striker was an interesting experiment, but given that Mario Balotelli will return to the starting lineup Sunday at Parma, it will undoubtedly have to be adjusted with the prospect of Robinho and Kaka potentially playing behind him.

Given the performances turned in by the Brazilians on Tuesday night, it makes the Rossoneri a much more creative and dynamic side, although much will depend on whether they can now find consistency and produce the same standard on a regular basis.

However, looking at the bigger picture the question is whether or not Milan should move forward with the 4-3-3 system despite bringing in Kaka to play in the trequartista role. In addition, with Riccardo Saponara’s continued development and the expected arrival of Keisuke Honda in January, does the plan become increasingly confusing?

Just over a year ago, Silvio Berlusconi insisted that the 4-3-3 would be implemented at all levels and it would be a hallmark of the club in the years to come. However, following discussions over the summer which ultimately led to Allegri’s job being secured, his desire for more expansive football suggested a move to a 4-3-1-2 or similar setup.

Having seemingly failed in the opening games of the season, Allegri has gradually been forced into returning to the system from last year due to on-going injury issues and it has arguably shown an improvement in performances.

Valter Birsa will now have a genuine claim for a place in the side after sealing two wins with match-winning goals, while there is also the factor of how to fit Stephan El Shaarawy, Alessandro Matri and Giampaolo Pazzini into the line-up.

Nevertheless, there is perhaps more solidity and comfort with playing a three-man midfield behind the trident as it offers protection both through the middle and on the flanks if the players selected on the wings are capable of tracking back.

Kaka surprisingly did well with his defensive duties while also having an influence in the attacking third, but much will depend on his fitness, which may indirectly provide space for El Shaarawy to come back into the side as on-going speculation links him with an exit.

Predictably, the changes in systems have resulted in transitional periods which have perhaps played a part in the early struggles. It is vital that Allegri and the Rossoneri now settle with a system that suits the characteristics of the players at his disposal.

In contrast, there is also an argument which could support the tactical flexibility of the squad, which allows Allegri to deploy various different looks depending on what the situation dictates. With the squad nearing full fitness, he may well see it as a positive headache to be left with.

Does the 4-3-3 or 4-3-1-2 system work better for Milan? Is it confusing or an advantage?

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


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