AC Milan‘s triumphs under Stefano Pioli were built on the formation that he gradually instilled and perfected. The 4-2-3-1 was a thing of beauty, Milan played their best football in years, and they strode to a top-four finish. However, the past months were indeed cruel to the Rossoneri faithful. They suffered an identity crisis as their 4-2-3-1 ceased to function. January and February were disappointing for the club and fans.
Head coach Stefano Pioli tried out a back three to counter his team’s poor form, but it quickly became clear that Kalulu, Thiaw and Tomori were not up to the task. Indeed, their recent match at Udinese highlighted just how poor Milan’s defence can be, with the backline presenting deep cracks yet again. The recent international break came as a much-needed respite for Pioli and his players, allowing the coach to recoup and reflect on what had gone wrong, writes Il Corriere della Sera. A possible decision to revert back to the configuration that brought Milan so much joy last season, the 4-2-3-1, appears wise.
However, defensive struggles have been compounded by their offensive woes. AC Milan’s search for solidity has steadily decreased their offensive output with only one occasion where they scored more than one goal per game in their past eight league fixtures was against Gian Piero Gasperini’s struggling Atalanta side.
In addition to that, the issues up front are just as important as those in the defensive department. The striking options between Olivier Giroud and Zlatan Ibrahimović are plagued by inconsistencies, injuries, and aging. In such a context, it is vital that the Portuguese star winger Rafael Leao regains his form as it is much-required now more than ever. In fact, though he showed some signs of improvement in Udine, he is yet to score since mid-January. AC Milan desperately requires his flair and his infectious smile. Otherwise, the road ahead is going to be very difficult, both domestically and in the Champions League competition.
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