Milan have come off a good transfer window where signings will surely improve the quality of the squad. More importantly there are options for key positions and more tactical flexibility available for Gattuso. Here are the ways Milan could line-up in 2018/19.
First off, we have the usual 4-3-3 that AC Milan have adopted over the past couple of seasons. We have grown accustomed to this look of Milan that pushes up via the wings and defends with the CDM dropping back into the defence. The 4-3-3 is still the most likely formation for Gennaro Gattuso as he has the players to slot in and the team is well aware of the tactics here. The formation would be much more lethal is Gattuso can deploy Samu Castillejo as a LW and Calhanoglu as a LM as this would allow more creativity going forward. What remains to be seen is who will play as the mezza’lla between Biglia and Bakayoko as this will determine the pace of the team going forward as well as how sound the defense will be. There are a few options for Gattuso to make as highlighted in the formation above.
With the new signings there is potential for including more attacking midfielders in the staring XI leading Gattuso to adopt a 4-3-2-1. This formation would greatly benefit Gonzalo Higuain as he would get much more service if the likes of Castillejo, Calhanoglu and Suso are deployed together. This formation however would need Kessie and Bakayoko to sit deep and play a passing game requiring some improvements from the pair. The key aspect of the 4-3-2-1 is that it would allow the fullbacks to drive up the field more often allowing Diego Laxalt, Rodriguez, Conti and Calabria to make use of their speed. This is a more attacking formation and one that is more adaptable during the game but it is critical for a good partnership to run the midfield thus linking up the defenders and the attackers. The word of caution in using the 4-3-2-1 would be the lack of depth for the positions required.
Lastly I believe there is potential in the squad for Milan to experiment with a back three this year. Despite the failures in the previous season Milan now have players that suit a 3-5-2 or 3-5-1-1 system with the wealth of centre-backs and full-backs in the squad. Caldara played at the heart of an Atalanta back three and could play alongside Romagnoli/Musacchio/Rodriguez forming a strong and quick back unit. The speed of Laxalt and Conti would thrive on the wings of the midfield and Higuain as a target man supported by one of Suso or Calhanoglu would do well to hold up the ball. The issue with the formation is the choices being left on the bench as the attackers on the squad would be excessive to the formation’s requirement but this could just mean that there are better options for substitutions. This one is unlikely but there is clearly potential.
How should Milan Line-Up this Season?
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