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Tactics Tuesday: Two Strikers

Few have questioned Balotelli's dip in form under Seedorf, but the answer is real simple, he needs a partner to flourish

Claudio Villa

Seedorf's insistence on the 4-2-3-1 goes beyond the lack of wingers, while he has a striker than can pay the lone man at the top, the better one and the one he relies is not that guy. I also said this was the WORST formation for AC Milan's current roster and each match proves that point painfully for us over and over again.

Balotelli took a fair amount of criticism from the media this week, with rumors of pending sale to Chelsea or Arsenal, and that his attitude was lacking. The striker is not guilt free, but watching some of the matches under Clarence, his deployment and ability to be successful is being greatly limited and the performances prove it. On his day he can be electric, and few players can be as clinical when the team needs it most, but in reality he is not a lone striker. For better or worse Mario will never run down CBs like Cavani, he will never move off the ball like Suarez, be a fox in the box like Pippo and he will never track back in dig in. In some respects Zlatan never had those characteristics either, but It wouldn't stop me from taking the big Swede back over again and over again.

Now I am not saying Balotelli can be like Zlatan or that he even should be, the point is a little simpler than that. The characteristics and traits of this guy beg for him to have a partner, one with a bit of incisive running and some high work ethic. You saw flashes in Sunday's loss when Pazzo was brought on, it allowed Balo to play off the CBs in the space just in front of the defense and while Pazzo pressed more towards goal, pairing him with SES could create channels and space for the Pharaoh to run and finish in.

The limitations of the 4-2-3-1 are not only effecting our results, but they are now effecting the players deployed in it. Prandelli was in attendance on Sunday and you have to wonder what was going through his mind as he watched Cassano carve open Milan's defense and Balotelli struggle to see the ball until he got a partner. Is that the answer for Italy in 2014? While Cassano is most likely not the top option, or maybe even an option at all, rest assured few with tactical acumen will be playing Balotelli as a single striker going forward.