Saturday Milan welcomes Genoa and their fans to the San Siro after a 15 year hiatus stemming from a travel ban in 1995 for the stabbing of a Genoa supporter. The atmosphere for the game should be electric and both teams have failed to meet expectations after their heavily intertwined transfer market. This summer saw Kaladze and Zigoni go to Genoa from Milan for Sokratis and Prince Boateng, with a host of other co-ownership deals taking place as well. Both teams were active in their mercatos outside of the partnership as well, we all know Milan’s striker heavy exploits, but it was the moves Genoa made that should make Milan’s fans jealous with Rafinha and Veloso joining the squad, two positions in desperate need of depth at AC Milan. So as both teams limp into the fixture it will be interesting to see which team has found more chemistry and success with both of them desperately needing points.
Gasperini’s men have always been formidable opponents in Serie A, with their formation wreaking havoc with opponents defenses. This may not be the case as Gasperini looks for a more conservative 4-4-2 akin to the one used in Parma midweek. Genoa may actually look to attack early as the team is not built to sit back and defend. Luca Toni will spearhead the attack with Criscito and Palacio flying down the wings and Veloso anchoring the mid. Allegri will have to be worried about the wide play because if the wide strikers don’t track back there could be potential acres of space for Criscito and Palacio to exploit and create crosses for Luca Toni to finish. A wide midfield 4-4-2 could cause problems for the wide open 4-3-3 so it will be up to Allegri to set up Milan accordingly.
Up to now I have been lenient with Allegri because frankly looking at his roster chock full of forwards and lacking any real core players in the midfield this team was setup to fail. But there is no excuse for him to not go down without a fight and prove that he is capable of making tactical decisions that make a difference. The first one has to be benching Ronaldinho, and while you can all whine and I cry about how hard I am on Ronaldinho, if he plays the only viable formation is a 4-3-3, and if he doesn’t Allegri can FINALLY put a formation on the field that makes sense! So with Ronaldinho on the bench he can start Zlatan and Robinho up top, with Clarence behind and a midfield line of Flamini, Pirlo, and KPB. Defenders and keepers are whatever mix are healthy (and under 30) so they can run actually for 90 minutes in this crowded fixture period! If Allegri needs more steel he can play Rino in a flat four man midfield, giving Pirlo a bit of freedom to get forward in lieu of Clarence. This formation will balance the team in desperate need of a win, and will allow Allegri the ability to show some tactical know-how and flexibility in his system. Who knows maybe we thrash them in a 4-4-2/4-3-1-2 and even the Dinho fanboys become believers, but I won’t hold my breath.
Simply put, this team and this Coach need to make a change because the same floundering course of action is not going to get us anywhere. The team is playing like an open book that all of Serie A has read twice and until that changes the same simple man marking tactics that have worked, will continue to do so. Leaving Milan hopelessly hoofing balls into the box with absolutely zero answers on the counter. If Allegri wants to keep his job, and this team actually wants to win a game, the game plan needs to be defend first attack later. If the so called "clinical finishers" are as good as advertised they will make good on their few chances and the team will be strong and balanced at the back. I know it may not be the prettiest football on Earth, but frankly I don’t care a win is a win, not to mention the past three weeks of "champagne football" with Ronaldinho, Robinho and Zlatan have not exactly been easy on the eyes have they?