As evidenced in yesterday's draw to Carpi, Milan are suffering from a lack of creativity in the squad. Whereas the team has looked great in some games, like last week's thrashing of Sampdoria, all too often the Rossoneri have lacked ideas and ruthlessness in the final third. Switching to the 4-4-2 formation has been helpful, yet some changes in personnel are needed if this team is going to consistently find the back of the net.
With Milan's attack in fine form (7 goals in two games) coming up against the league's weakest defense, many foresaw easy pickings in this one. Much of Milan's brilliance in the last two fixtures came down to Niang and Bonaventura's partnership on the left flank. Despite their excellent performances, it would be unreasonable to place the team's creative needs on the two entirely. This was the case on Sunday, as Giacomo Bonaventura in particular was tasked with providing the spark Milan needed. On the opposite flank, the same could not be said of Cerci. His evening was marked by predictable play, offside calls, and poor first-touches, leaving Carlos Bacca isolated from the majority of the play.
A balanced Milan frontline could have hurt Carpi's defense much more than the Bonaventura-led attack did on Sunday. Sinisa Mihajlovic sensed the unbalanced nature of Milan's frontline as well, yet waited until the 70th minute to bring on Luiz Adriano, in what was Milan's only change of the match. This speaks more to the lack of quality on Milan's bench than Mihajlovic's hesitance to make a change. Available options included Honda and Suso, yet the team needs more reliable and creative players to be able to come on in stagnant showings like Sunday's.
I believe the solution lies in Milanello, and not elsewhere. Kevin-Prince Boateng looks set to return to Milan after Mihajlovic spoke of his importance to the press. The right-wing is not his preferred position, but he played there under Allegri and delivered for Milan in big fixtures. The formation Sinisa Mihajlovic plays has the wingers sit back a little deeper than the wingers in Allegri's 4-3-3, which would work in Boateng's advantage. Jeremy Menez is a viable option as well when he returns from his back injury. He led Milan's frontline for the majority of the 2014/2015 season, but has played as a winger for most of his career. There is also the possibility that Honda finds his feet again, or Suso is given a chance by Mihajlovic. The options are there, but until there is a clear-cut selection for the right-wing position, Milan cannot afford to spend 70 minutes of a match waiting for things to take care of themselves.
Milan's next three fixtures in Serie A are against Verona, Frosinone, and Bologna. The attack cannot afford a repeat performance, and needs to be firing on all cylinders before matchups with Roma, Fiorentina and Inter in January. If Cerci does not pick his game back up, there are a host of players ready to take his place.