I am going to be brutally honest here it is far easier to craft tactics pieces after a loss, and we haven’t lost in awhile, so hence the void of tactics pieces. After a loss it is easier to turn an analytical eye on the team and what was wrong, but I want to change that today simply to commend Allegri’s choices and diversity in formation that has been a key to Milan’s season.
It must be said that his deep roster has allowed him this sort of flexibility, and while defensively, especially at left back he is in a weekly crap shoot, his ability to choose and blend attacking players while still maintaining balance leaves Milan a fair amount of potential now and in the future. The foundation of this success? His usage of Ambro and Van Bommel in the holding CM role, by building the team around this holding player and flanking them with a creative player and a working player has been a key and the most effective evolution of AC Milan since the birth of Carletto’s XMAS tree.
It also helps that a player like Prince came along and became a jack of all trades CAM. It isn’t his natural position but his tenacity and work rate never leaves Milan exposed as someone always seems willing to press the ball at any part of the pitch, a far cry from Leo’s fantasy Football Manager formations with four 5 defenders and the rest of the players standing around. Even Robinho got in on the act and no matter who was the star striker on the day, Pato or Zlatan, Milan never appeared to be under extreme pressure from counter attacks, or without pressure on the ball in all areas on the pitch.
Even when he made substitutions, a point of contention early on for many, he has improved. It helps that he has options, but to be able to pull Prince for Pirlo and shift Clarence into the CAM role, or a more defensive postured 4-1-2-1-2, shows his growth and awareness as a Coach. But even more important than the formation itself is a simple installation of work rate for everyone on the field to work harder both on and off the ball. The fact that a cast away like a Robinho, a player who was called un-coachable or disinterested with Club football, was reborn under Allegri as a worker and a player is a testament to the man as a Coach and his future with AC Milan.
Allegri was a questionable call for many, but one that is being rewarded with the success of the season. He worked wonders with far less at Cagliari, and you have to believe with continuing investment and integration of his own players he will continue to improve. A few months ago we were looking at a roster with Ronaldino, Robino, Pato and Zlatan and asking the question could all four be on the pitch? We all knew the answer, though some of us didn’t want to believe. Allegri knew all along as well and answered it with a resounding NO, the rest may become history…well done Max!