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Tactics Tuesday: Sometimes You Need a Striker

The first two matches were OK for the False Nine, but the match against Juventus screamed for a striker.

Marco Luzzani

It wasn't long ago that I was singing the praises of Filippo Inzaghi's False Nine.  The problem is tactics is not a static object, it is a living and breathing thing and if Inzaghi is going to be succesful he needs to learn from his predecessor's rigid adherence to the 4-2-3-1 and see it is a failure.  On Saturday the game called for a change, it screamed for it in fact, but Inzaghi didn't read it and with it Milan slowly faded into obscurity while Juventus strengthened as the game wore on.

I was surprised to see Max Allegri deploy the 3-5-2, but it was a master stroke.  The width of the formation and the bulk of players in the midfield pressured Milan's three man midfield tremendously and forced the wide players to spend more time chasing then attacking.  Couple this with the lack of a true striker to occupy the center backs and the Milan attack, the one thing we could hang our hat's on after the first two matches, was rendered useless.

It needs to be said that Milan's organization in this match was superb, they fell, the clogged channels but it was one dimensional.  It didn't allow for attacks to develop and progress, yes it did allow for the occasional break, but when you have three opposing players waiting to impede the break your attack becomes a foot race instead of a built up possession.  When Milan did posses and use the channels available it was solid, but without a central presence it made things to easy for Juventus.

Now I am not suggesting that Fernando Torres would have cured all that ailed in this game.  His introduction was to late and yielded little.  It was more frustrating to know that Giampaolo Pazzini, a player who preys on this sort of situation, was sitting there idle.  Would he have made a difference, I don't know, we will never know, but he would have been a change that Milan desperately needed.  Truth be told I expect these growing pains from a new Coach and I am OK with it, because i see progress, something I didn't see under Clarence Seedorf.  The real key is here to learn from it, instead of Giacomo Bonaventura, Pazzini was the better answer when SES came down with the cramps.

This will take time and there is learning to be done, but it is not the loss that concerns me, as long as it used to learn something.