The season is well underway and if there is one spot of constant debate among Milan fans it is about who should be playing in the defense. If Montella is insistent at playing the back three then his best solution is following Juventus path to picking a back three that will support and provide stability for a Milan team that badly needs it.
Results have not come easy for Milan and standing currently in 7th on just 19 points it is clear Milan have underperformed. Changing the defense around and modeling the back three around Juventus style can bring faith for the players, fans and executives that maybe Montella can turn things around.
To do this Montella has to find on his team who can closely resemble Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli. Milan have already took one of those great players at the heart of a Juventus defense when they were doing great and challenging for Champions League titles in Leonardo Bonucci. Bonucci’s place is secure on the team and he needs some help to find Milan’s best form again to make the team succeed. So who are those two players to join Bonucci in the Milan defense?
It should be Alessio Romagnoli and Cristian Zapata.
Starting with Romagnoli, the Italian was brought in for the future of Ac Milan, but the future is now and this technical defender needs to be a constant fixture in the defense. A bit like Chiellini, he can pass with the best defenders and has been compared to historical greats like Alessandro Nesta and it is about time he proves he can do it.
As a player, he is technically gifted with passing skills rarely seen for a defender and is a great aerial threat that can come in handy for set pieces. With this hype comes the need to produce results and in his 12 combined appearances in Serie A and the Europa League he has been just average and that is not good enough for where Milan want to go. Of course, it is not all his fault, but his lapses in awareness can become costly. Playing next to a seasoned veteran like Bonucci can and should help if Bonucci keeps up his end of the bargain. Montella needs to end the rotations for rotations sake and play Romagnoli more constantly.
Cristian Zapata’s time has come and he should be given at least the rest of the year to try and hold hi place in the starting 11. A gifted aerial defender/attacker and a solid passer Zapata has been a constant and unifying force for his national team of Colombia. A team who has been flying high and performed well in the CONMEBOL qualifiers earning Colombia a direct spot into the World Cup next year in Russia.
He can do some of this at Milan and the best part is he does not have to be the best player on the defense. All Zapata has to do is play his style of game and support Bonucci and Romagnoli. He has not been given much of a chance playing in only 5 Serie A games, but he should especially since Musachio has not been sharp at all. It is time to give Zapata a longer run and I can see him stepping up and performing like he should.
Montella has to decide on a back three, that is the only way for Milan to develop a team identity and Zapata and Romagnoli should be the answers. If Montella can’t fix his defense his days in Milan are numbered.