Dec 102017
 

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Gattuso’s reign as Milan coach has started as poorly as it can. Points lost courtesy of a last minute goal conceded to Benevento and an abject loss to Rijeka in the Europa League game have served to add another air of crisis for Milan. The questions regarding the sale and ownership – including a rumour of Saudi billionaire involvement – and UEFA’s position regarding the Financial Fair Play and health of the team have made for another period of frustration for Milan and its fans.

Bologna visit the San Siro having not lost in 3 games and feature former Milan youth player, Simone Verdi, as the team’s leading scorer. The bigger issue however is if Gattuso can right the ship and use the best 11 at his disposal. The much talked about and used back three might be abandoned for this match at least. A return to a 4-3-3 is on the cards. One can hope that a stable line up can be found and the sometimes needless changes that Montella was guilty of can be left in the past.

The 4-3-3 – if it indeed happens – is likely to feature Abate, Mussachio, Bonucci and Rodriguez at the back. The midfield will probably feature Montolivo in the middle as Biglia has often disappointed this season. Kessie and Bonaventura are the other likely starters. Andre Silva and Cutrone were ineffective midweek vs Rijeka and Andre Silva was specifically singled out by Gattuso and as of this point it seems just as unlikely as ever that he will picked ahead of Kalinic. Suso, Kalinic and Borini are therefore the more likely candidates for the front three.

Dec 032017
 

Follow the match as it happens, on the forum.

The season of disappointment continued with more points dropped in the 0-0 tie vs Torino at the San Siro. Starting both Andre Silva and Kalinic did not produce any improvements and Montella was rightfully and expectedly fired. Rino Gattuso, he of the primavera, was swiftly appointed in his place. Interim or otherwise appointing another ex-player with limited experience is risky. At least the expectation will be low, based on recent history at least.

Milan travel to Benevento for match day 15, the promoted team has zero wins and zero ties in the first 14 games of the season and has scored 6 goals total in the Serie A. Needless to say anything but a win is a deep disappointment and embarrassment.

A lot has been written in the few day since Gattuso’s appointment. Besides the aforementioned limited experience and little success as a coach the issue at hand is the formation and tactics. It is pretty clear that character and grit, conveyed through the coach’s own history and temperament, are not enough to push Milan into the top 4. In his introduction Gattuso was quick to point out that he has coaching credentials (of course) and won’t rely on character alone.

Team observers have been trying to get a feel of the coach’s preferred tactics. In these early days the line up is predicted to be a 3-4-3 with the players that get to start more or less the same 11 as the week(s) before. Various sources point to a back three of Bonucci, Romagnoli and Musacchio or Zapata. In the middle Borini or Abate with Montolivo, Kessie and Rodriguez. Up front Suso, Kalinic and Bonaventura. If this is indeed the starting 11 then Gattuso needs to impart his own stamp on it because a very similar line up had looked decidedly average during Montella’s reign.

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