Here’s our analysis of Milan shifting back to a 4-3-3 formation for the season.
The 4-3-3 Formation
The 4-3-3 is a familiar formation for Milan fans as it has been the chosen line-up for the past few years. The memories of this formation have not been pleasant with the inconsistencies in performances especially from the wingers. This year, Giampaolo may revert back to the 4-3-3 after the sub-par pre-season because of the players’ familiarity with the positions and the roles. Milan have significant upgrades in Rebic, Bennacer and Paqueta over past seasons and have the necessary depth that Milan lacked in the final 15 minutes of tight games. The 4-3-3 is highly dependent of the ability of the wingers to spark creativity upfront and the aptitude of the regista to weave the play. The major pitfalls of this formation are the possibility of Piatek being easily marked out of games and the vulnerability of Milan on the counter as seen over the past few seasons. The main argument here is to assess whether the additions of Bennacer, Paqueta, Piatek and Rebic can overcome Milan’s structural problems of the past two years.
The Line-Up and Key Substitutions
(DEF) Calabria (RB) - Musacchio (RCB) - Romagnoli (LCB) - Hernandez (LB)
(MID) Kessie (RM) - Bennacer (CM) - Paqueta (LM)
(ATT) Suso (RW) - Piatek (ST) - Rebic (LW)
(SUBs) Conti (RB), Calhanoglu (LW) and Leao (ST)
Suso as a Right Winger
One of the biggest points in favour of the 4-3-3 is that it best fits with Suso’s skill set. The Spaniard is one of Milan’s best players and maintains a vital role despite his polarising nature amongst fans. Suso would enjoy the space to run down the wing and cut back, he would utilise his strengths to play an important attacking role where he could contribute about 10-15 goals through assists and his goals.
Rebic at Left Wing
The new Milan signing looks unlikely to start against Hellas Verona in round 3 but will definitely be a starter for the larger part of the season. Rebic is a versatile attacker who plays best of the left, he usually occupies as LAM role and acts as a support right behind the striker. This formation would take more effort for the Croatian but he has the skills to be an upgrade over Calhanoglu, Borini and Castillejo.
Ismael Bennacer as Defensive Midfielder
Bennacer will be instrumental in any formation Giampaolo chooses however he is particularly important in a 4-3-3. As Milan fans observed last season, having a good CDM is crucial as it contributes to the defence keeping it clean and it affects the flow of attacks and transitions. Bakayoko did well in this role but Bennacer has the potential to do so much more, his passing and tackling are superb but his vision is what can be the spark for a renaissance at AC Milan.
In my opinion, the 4-3-3 is a viable choice this year as a backup option and when there is a need for rotation of tactics. The formation will be helpful against provincial sides where a wider field of play is necessary due to the incessant pressure. The formation will also be useful against teams that have stacked midfields as the wide play of the wingers and fullbacks will give Milan an edge to break through the lines.
My verdict: I rate the formation 7/10. If Milan stick with this all season, we will fight for 4th place and may finish either 4th or 5th.
Come back tomorrow for the second part of this series where I analyse the 4-3-2-1.
If Giampaolo Runs With The 4-3-3, Where Will Milan End Up?
This poll is closed
1st - 4th
5th - 6th
7th - 10th
He'll be fired