Milan players lack plenty of skills and/or ability to do certain actions. It starts from the fullbacks, to the centre-backs, midfield, and then onto the front three. I will start from the back four. The amount of years Abate has played for Milan and he still lacks the ability to cross the ball. Mattia De Sciglio was smart to use Tassotti to develop both feet and ability to cross the ball, but Abate neglects to use him. Everyone knows the chances of Abate completing a cross in the box are slim to none. If there is anything Abate needs to improve and keep his competition afar is his cross. The other task Abate needs to work on is tracking back after a counter attack. Countless times opponents have scored or almost scored due to vacancy of Abate on counter attacks. Kevin Constant at LB can provide the offensive abilities and he has the physicality to be a defender. But his defensive positioning and awareness needs improvement. Prime example was the home match against Undinese when he was unaware of opponent behind him which resulted in a goal.Mattia De Sciglio only has to gain more experience, and improve his offensive abilities.
In between the fullbacks are the centre-backs. Mexes and Zapata has been the best consistent duo for Milan so far. They have been improving as time goes by, especially Zapata. Regardless of who is paired, centre-backs have to improve on communication, knowing each other deficiencies, and practice to be in sync. The one knock for all the centre-backs we have that are in common, is the ability to man mark opponents in the box. Our centre-backs have given up plenty of goals in the box during set pieces. If the centre-backs had the ability to man mark opponents in the box on set pieces for the entire season, our place on the table would have been much better.
If there is an immense amount of deficiencies in a position of many, that is midfield. The midfield lacks the ability to maneuver out of pressure/tight spaces, creative passing, keeping possession, off-ball movement, and ability to attack 1 v 1. The only midfielder we have that I know who has that abilities/skill listed is Montolivo. Flamini, Muntari, and Nigel De Jong are defensive midfielders but they lack that killer instinct of being a top defensive midfielder. Bommel stint at Milan should be a prime example of what a top defensive midfielder they should amount to. Bommel’s defensive positioning, will and stamina to track back after counter attack, tackling, long balls, and ability to maneuver out of pressure/tight spaces is what Flamini and Muntari lacks. I didn’t plan on including Ambrosini, Nocerino, and Traore in this discussion because they no longer belong there, but they lack the ability to be an average midfielder. Sorry to go off topic, but I hope Galliani sell those three.
We have the most promising attack around Europe, but the front three still lack certain abilities. Stephan El Shaarawy has an under-developed left foot, so he is predictable to maneuver to the right when attacking 1 v 1. When El Shaarawy is attacking on the ride side of the field, he attacking arsenal are limited. He has to improve his 1 v 1 when on the ride side of attack. If Stephan experiences not receiving the ball for a chunk of time, he should come up as high as the back four to attack the opposing team from there. M’baye Niang decision making needs to improve, especially when Milan is on a counter attack. Niang also needs to gain experience, which will improve his all around game. Balotelli may have the talent, but his game has holes. For a player that is physically gifted, he has been on the ground more than most his size. Although Mario has been fouled plenty, he can not stop play expecting the ref to call the foul. Balotelli has to include playing 1-2 pass with his adjacent partner at times to change up the style of play. Mario also has to commit on more channel runs and interchanging positions to push the back four further. Samuel Eto’o should be the perfect example for Balotelli when on defense. When Eto’o was at Barca, he always applied pressure to the back four and the deepest lying midfielder to force a turnover that can convert into a counter attack goal. On the other hand, Pazzini consistently apply pressure to any opponent near his vicinity. I have seen much weakness in Pazzini expect for him disappearing at times. If Pazzini doesn’t disappear in games, I believe everyone would see he is best suited to start ahead of Balotelli. Don’t get me wrong, Balo is a better talent than Pazzini, but Pazzo is a harder worker. If I can put Pazzini style of play and work rate in Balotelli, then Milan has a complete striker.
Allegri is not a Milan player, but the coach has some holes he needs to fill. When playing an opponent somewhat back to back, he tends to lose or draw the second match against the same opponent. Prime examples have been against Lazio (in 10-11, 11-12) and Barcelona. He has to tweak his game or change the formation to throw off opponents, because it seems opposing teams have figure out Allegri’s game plan the second time around. Allegri has to improve the end result when opposing teams are pressing. Milan has the inability at times to keep possession when opponents press high up. Allegri’s midfielders lack the ability to handle tight spaces. Allegri’s midfielders also have the tendency to force the pass when they have nowhere to pass the ball and opponents are defending deep leaving little space to pass to the front three. When opponents are defending deep, the midfield has to come up higher and interchange to create a hole in a structured deep defending as well the front three. A great offense is a great defense. Allegri has to work on Milan pressing opponents and creating turnovers. Barcelona and Bayern Munich may have the arguable best offense, but their ability to create turnovers and pressing are one of the best. The advantage of changing back to 4-3-1-2 is the ability to press because of Allegri extensive knowledge of that formation. There is no need of talking to the strikers of pressing except for Balotelli and if he is still there, Robinho. The timing of or which player Allegri is substituting in when Milan is losing or needs a resurrection tends to be off at times, because the end result didn’t end up in Milan’s favor. Milan’s energy seems to fluctuate in matches. If there is one thing Milan needs to work on as a team, that is it.