Word around the rumor mill is that Mister Filippo Inzaghi will deploy a 4-3-3 for the 2014-2015 vintage of AC Milan. Now I am not as adverse to the 4-3-3 for AC Milan as I was the 4-2-3-1. Many ask why, and the answer is rather simple, the team didn't have the right kind of wide balance needed to support the 4-2-3-1 and the failed Clarence Seedorf experiment should have reinforced that point. Yes, it was stubborn and while the team begged more for a 4-3-1-2 or a 4-3-3 he soldiered on. Pippo doesn't appear so ready to walk the road to ruin but the 4-3-3 still has a few flaws.
Let's start with the proposed lineup of players we know are on the roster as of today:
Abbiati; Abate, Rami, Alex, DeSciglio; Poli, NDJ, Muntari; Menez, Balotelli, El Sharaawy
It's not a bad roster, it does lack that certain something and frankly it lacks a bit of balance. Depth is also an issue and if you consider the injury prone nature of a few of a players, OK all of our players, things get a bit more bleak. Pazzini is the natural fill in for Balotelli. If Robinho sticks around then you can slot him somewhere on the side of the CF. Midfield is a bit more bleak with Cristante and an already injured Montolivo. Essien remains on the roster but for how much longer? The only other fullbacks are Bonera and Constant and one could argue neither is really a fullback with Zapata and Albertazzi at CB. It is true the rigors of the CL are nonexistent but this team will be expected to compete in the Coppa Italia, something last year's team didn't seem capable of. Oddly enough it leaves one guy sort of hanging in the breeze and that is Keisuke Honda! Sure Pippo can roll into a 4-3-1-2 to use the #10 from Japan to his fullest but what happens otherwise? Seems like wasted wages to me...
So as the market picks up the real question for Milan is where is the most help needed?? Another Poli type would be for me a huge must buy. Fullback is certainly a situation to be concerned about and while I think Abate and DeSciglio offer by far the team's best option but what happens with injury. One must also consider that both are relatively young and a player like Balzaretti, a bit older and cagier and can play both wings would be the right sort of cover for those guys.
More importantly is my comment above, this team lacks something but it is the sort of something that is hard to quantify. This team doesn't scare me, it doesn't have a guy that will turn a match. Sure you can argue that SES and Balotelli have that capability but looking at the balance and the rest of the squad this team will score but can it hold it down on defense? Milan teams that have experienced success were always well balanced and I don't see it in this group. It also lacks a true leader someone to turn to in moments of difficulty to lead by example, and maybe that guy is standing on the sideline but in the 70th minute Pippo can't take the pitch. There is certainly a glimmer of hope here, but the foundation that hope is built on is a bit of a ways off in my opinion.