The last tactics talk we had seemed to be a big hit, so I wanted to bring it back today prior the Udinese match and as a way to lead it into the upcoming game as well. I will try to do this from time to time and as mentioned I don’t want to alienate any readers or fans with what some may consider boring technicalities.
The focus today is the midfield diamond versus the 3 flat midfielders with a CAM in front. The diamond midfield is my personal bread and butter, and works very nicely when you have a CAM and CDM who can interchange and move nicely around the center circle. Seedorf and Pirlo have done this so effectively in the last two games it is easy notice the difference in Milan’s forward movement. When you have a CAM who exclusively attacks it does not allow for interplay and exchange between those two CM’s, instead you have a player who remains in the attack and high on the pitch regardless of those players operating behind him. If Pirlo pressed than Seedorf hung back and vice versa which gave the squad more defensive balance which is of the utmost importance with our aging backline.
The diamond, by nature also pushes the midfielders a tad wider and gives Leo flexibility to employ DM types or use wingers in the form of Abate or Janks. Want More offensive, use wingers, more defensive use DM’s, rather simple when you think about it! The midfield diamond also spreads the field a bit width wise and doesn’t not put so much onus on wingbacks, they can and should still attack but they are not forced into deep positions in the corner because that is an area that can now be exploited by a player like Ambro as he did Sunday against Bologna, or by the any other player willing to claim the space on the attack.
Based on personnel, this system flat out works for our Milan, and the results have shown it with two wins on the trot, and hopefully another against the underperforming Udinese tomorrow. The question that arises out of this discussion is why can’t Dinho play the same role that Seedorf does in the diamond? It is a fair question, and commonly asked, but the answer lies in their individual style of play. Ronaldinho is an offensive threat at heart, almost a striker, and his first step is always toward the goal. Seedorf on the other hand is an attack minded midfielder who does not always press play forward. They are both talented players who can recognize when to attack, but only one offers that steely style of play in and around the center circle. The downfall of a lone CAM, as Dinho plays, in between the strike and mid line is the amount of running and movement that is required. Diego is a perfect example of this player as he can move laterally very well, but also benefits from versatile midfielders behind him, something that Milan lacks. Leo can not afford to push this issue with the personnel at hand.
It is going to be a long season and with the midweek tie, we need Ronaldinho to contribute, while still resting some of the players who have worked hard in the last week. Leo needs to evaluate and see if there is a way for him to employ the diamond while finding time on the pitch for Ronaldinho maybe in a more advanced position, but Wednesday will reflect how Leo handles this. As I stated earlier in the week this game is a must win, nine points out of these next three home games will go a long way and step one was a success, hopefully we can say the same for step two against Udinese.