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Tactics Tuesday: Pazzo and Balo

Not without some help...

Claudio Villa

Been seeing lots of discussion about the potential return of the 4-3-1-2 and playing Pazzini with Balotelli. For those who have been around long enough, I am all for it. The 4-3-3 is not my favorite formation and if you go through archives of tactics posts you will see why. But in the case of a professional football Club, it becomes apparent that you have to suit the formation to the hand you are dealt, and in the case of Milan we have a lot of strikers. To many really, so the 4-3-3 becomes a bit of a necessity...until the silly Owner asks for four strikers!?

Personally, I think Pazzo and Balotelli can play together, but at the expense of El Sharaawy. I also think they could play together with the right personnel, and Milan still have a rather simple glaring hole in the CAM role. The loss of Zlatan caused quite a ripple effect in the deployment of personnel as Boateng's shortcomings as a #10 become crystal clear, and without someone to hold possession and open channels Milan needs to rely more on the wings and moving towards naturally open space between CBs and Full Backs. Full credit to Allegri for his recognition of this, while some will say it took to long, I think he has gotten right and Milan is playing some balanced football. But getting back to the 4-3-1-2 may be a pipe dream.

The problem with two strikers is currently Milan has six, Robinho, Niang, Balotelli, Pazzini, El Sharaawy, Bojan! Granted some of them may be on the way out, and some of them just plain suck, but how do you reconcile six strikers when you only play two? Now one could argue cutting the fluff in Bojo the Clown and Robinho gives you four strong strikers, and the relative youth of El Sharaawy and Niang means you can rotate and still progress and grow, but how would this be received? Allegri rests El Sharaawy and the Owner says he doesn't know anything and "Couch Coaches" say the same, go figure!? So there are issues here clearly. But regardless it doesn't fix the issue of a missing CAM, which is crucial. So while Allegri asked for players like Cigarini, Lodi and Asamoah and got none, the 4-3-1-2 will continue to be an problem and in turn difficulty playing the two strikers.

So I think Pazzo and Balo can play together as can El Sharaaway and Niang mixed in, but without a true CAM the deployment may never work...