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As of now, we are using the 4-2-3-1. Seedorf is using Kaka in the middle, with Honda out wide on the right. Seems like Taarabt will also be used wide until SES comes back.

Birsa seems to be done, and unfortunately Niang, perfect for this formation, was sent away for a reason unknown to all.

In the 2, we have Montolivo, but also Essien and De Jong, both taking away from Cristante. De Jong is very slow in passing and not syncing well with Montolivo, while Essien is old and will be done after this season (hopefully).

What about the 3 person back line, since De Sciglio is out, I just don't know how we can play with 4.. we defend poorly, Abate can't do shit forward, and Urby can't defend.

------------------------------Balotelli (Pazzini)----------------------
--------------SES (Taarabt)--------------Honda (Kaka)--------------
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Emanuelson---Cristante (De Jong)---Montolivo (Poli)---De Sciglio (Abate)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------Mexes----------Rami------------Zapata--------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
---------------------------------Abbiati---------------------------------------


Anyone else think this could work better?
When was the last time Milan used 3 centre backs?
(02-22-2014, 07:28 PM)ZvonimirBoban Wrote: [ -> ]When was the last time Milan used 3 centre backs?

Last year Allegri experiemented for 1 game with it only. I don't remember last time we used it as a system for awhile....

All I'm saying is that if we want to keep the 4-2-3-1..then we should probably look for the players who can actually play in that system. Honda as RM ..no good... Urby as LB..no good.. and De Jong at CDM.. also probably no good.
4-2-3-1 is not suited for the forwards and attacking players we have.
I kind of disagree Reza. I think if Seedorf keeps using Honda outwide while Kaka is in the middle then yes. If we instead have a healthy ELS play opposite outwide with Taraabt (who is very rough but coming along) we can better evaluate. Then choose either kaka or honda behind Balo.

I think seedorfs setup actually fails us in the LB/RB role. DCS is the only player competent in this role as it asks a lot of a defender to combine in attack while having to make it back from a forward position. As we see Urby is a poor defender but attacks fairly well. Abate defends fairly well but is poor in attack. Either way the team becomes exploited when they play. A LB while holding onto DCS would really change this team.
Even in the way you set it up Balo is not 'enough' in the box. To me successful 4-2-3-1 set up are the ones where at least one of the 3 is a constant presence deep in the box. Look at Germany's Muller for one example. For sure, I am an ElS fan and he would improve it but I am not sure it is enough.

Defensively we are a mess, more than one excellent addition is needed, not sure any coach or formation will work. To me it says a lot when Seedorf wants to try Essien and De Jong together.
Before I give my opinion, I'll just say I think it's very unlikely we'll see a 3 man defence as Berlu is adamantly against it. As for when we last used it with regularity, it was under Zaccheroni and one of the reasons he was never one of Berlu's favourites.

About 3-4-3 that you line up with Elmago, I do have doubts though I'd like to hear your interpretation of how it might work. To begin, I think in modern times the reason teams use 3 man defences is usually to gain a numerical advantage in midfield as they have an extra midfielder and will even sometimes deploy one of the attackers deeper, resulting in up to 6 in midfield at times. Unless Honda and/or El Shaarawy are dropping back into midfield with regularity, in 3-4-3 we won't have numerical advantage in midfield.

Another reason for the 3 defenders is usually to have two man markers against two attackers, with one spare to cover. Given it's still common for a lot of teams in the modern game to play with one direct forward, we have two spare men, one of which could be better utilised to cover space elsewhere. If we have a defensive line of 5 during defensive phases, I fear we will give up too much ground in front, or ultimately be made to shift to a more counter attacking game (ala Mazzari's Napoli). Personally I want to see us dominate the games more.

That's why a number of teams (Udinese quite noticeably) who have used a back 3 in recent times have been flexible and shifted to a back 4 during defensive phases. DS can pull back into RB to give us a back 4, but I don't think the 3 CBs are capable of pulling out left to cover LB.

Secondly, the central defender in the line of 3 must be intelligent and tactically very capable as a sweeper. With all due respect to the 3 in the lineup, none of them are even tactically competent, never mind intelligent.

I also have concerns about the wings (assuming we don't shift to a back 4 as mentioned above), as in that system De Sciglio and Urby would be expected to cover a huge amount of ground in the wide areas, but importantly would have to be solid defensively as they will generally cover the wide areas themselves, unless we stretch the attack or defensively lines to help provide additional cover. While I have little doubt DS has the ability to do that role, Urby's already shown he's not exactly a solid defender. Asking him to cover the whole wing without much additional support is a big worry.

I would be curious to understand how you see 3-4-3 working. I'm not saying it's wrong, but this is why I have doubts. At the same times, teams like Guardiola's Barca have shown how 3-4-3 might work in recent years, though I think it's fair to say he had a very distinct playing style and even then many argued he was better with 4-3-3.
(02-23-2014, 04:58 AM)reza Wrote: [ -> ]Even in the way you set it up Balo is not 'enough' in the box. To me successful 4-2-3-1 set up are the ones where at least one of the 3 is a constant presence deep in the box. Look at Germany's Muller for one example. For sure, I am an ElS fan and he would improve it but I am not sure it is enough.

Defensively we are a mess, more than one excellent addition is needed, not sure any coach or formation will work. To me it says a lot when Seedorf wants to try Essien and De Jong together.

True that on Balos role in the set up. I guess I'm hoping he is still young enough to mold his game for that. Otherwise I think Pazzo can fill in that role (we will find that out today I guess)
(02-23-2014, 11:42 AM)ACMILAN1983 Wrote: [ -> ]Before I give my opinion, I'll just say I think it's very unlikely we'll see a 3 man defence as Berlu is adamantly against it. As for when we last used it with regularity, it was under Zaccheroni and one of the reasons he was never one of Berlu's favourites.

About 3-4-3 that you line up with Elmago, I do have doubts though I'd like to hear your interpretation of how it might work. To begin, I think in modern times the reason teams use 3 man defences is usually to gain a numerical advantage in midfield as they have an extra midfielder and will even sometimes deploy one of the attackers deeper, resulting in up to 6 in midfield at times. Unless Honda and/or El Shaarawy are dropping back into midfield with regularity, in 3-4-3 we won't have numerical advantage in midfield.

Another reason for the 3 defenders is usually to have two man markers against two attackers, with one spare to cover. Given it's still common for a lot of teams in the modern game to play with one direct forward, we have two spare men, one of which could be better utilised to cover space elsewhere. If we have a defensive line of 5 during defensive phases, I fear we will give up too much ground in front, or ultimately be made to shift to a more counter attacking game (ala Mazzari's Napoli). Personally I want to see us dominate the games more.

That's why a number of teams (Udinese quite noticeably) who have used a back 3 in recent times have been flexible and shifted to a back 4 during defensive phases. DS can pull back into RB to give us a back 4, but I don't think the 3 CBs are capable of pulling out left to cover LB.

Secondly, the central defender in the line of 3 must be intelligent and tactically very capable as a sweeper. With all due respect to the 3 in the lineup, none of them are even tactically competent, never mind intelligent.

I also have concerns about the wings (assuming we don't shift to a back 4 as mentioned above), as in that system De Sciglio and Urby would be expected to cover a huge amount of ground in the wide areas, but importantly would have to be solid defensively as they will generally cover the wide areas themselves, unless we stretch the attack or defensively lines to help provide additional cover. While I have little doubt DS has the ability to do that role, Urby's already shown he's not exactly a solid defender. Asking him to cover the whole wing without much additional support is a big worry.

I would be curious to understand how you see 3-4-3 working. I'm not saying it's wrong, but this is why I have doubts. At the same times, teams like Guardiola's Barca have shown how 3-4-3 might work in recent years, though I think it's fair to say he had a very distinct playing style and even then many argued he was better with 4-3-3.

First, I want to say I am not an expert in tactics. I am a professional tennis coach.. after a professional tennis career...I played soccer as kid and then again after my tennis career in a semi-pro league. I have always played under the 4-4-2 formation, and therefore understand that the best.

Now, I think that we have holes in our team that would exist in ANY formation. However, I don't think the 3-4-3 would be bad. SES tracks back to midfield, thus, stacking it as you say. Wingers DO have to track back but they never have to cover the middle as they do in the 4-man back line, which Urby greatly struggles in if you notice. Whenever the defense is pulled right, and he tracks into the middle, he gets screwed. in a 3 man back line, they cover the middle, and the wingers cover solely the wing. It would also stack our midfield, and we see how great that works for Juventus. The problems you mention about the 3-4-3 don't exist in the Juve team, regarding the 3 man back line, etc. In the last 5 years, the best teams to come out of Italy are quite simply Juve's 3-5-2, and Napoli's 3-4-3 when they attacked with Hamsik-Lavezz-Cavani. That team was very well organized and great on counter attacks.

As I said I'm a bit more defensive minded, and hate the fact we don't have world class defenders like we did. I'm most proud of Nesta-TS, and in Italy with Cannavaro-Nesta (materazzi). That is intimidating.

The 4-2-3-1 could work if Balotelli works harder, we get SES back, and Taarabt proves to be a good winger. Honda/Kaka should ONLY be played in the middle, Robinho and Birsa should leave, and Niang should come back. Saponara should also learn to play on the wing if he wants to stay, because I bet in 2-3 years Mastour will be playing in the middle. Then, in CDM, Montolivo will need to find a sufficient partner who can defend and also pass well. Cristante or Poli perhaps, and I like De Jong in the team, even if he doesn't start. He's a good defensive option off the bench. Essien and Muntari should move on after this year as they're both getting older, and Muntari's form is not good, nor does he suit the 4-2-3-1. A LB needs to be bought no matter what the system is.
(02-24-2014, 02:59 PM)ElMago99 Wrote: [ -> ]First, I want to say I am not an expert in tactics. I am a professional tennis coach.. after a professional tennis career...I played soccer as kid and then again after my tennis career in a semi-pro league. I have always played under the 4-4-2 formation, and therefore understand that the best.

Now, I think that we have holes in our team that would exist in ANY formation. However, I don't think the 3-4-3 would be bad. SES tracks back to midfield, thus, stacking it as you say. Wingers DO have to track back but they never have to cover the middle as they do in the 4-man back line, which Urby greatly struggles in if you notice. Whenever the defense is pulled right, and he tracks into the middle, he gets screwed. in a 3 man back line, they cover the middle, and the wingers cover solely the wing. It would also stack our midfield, and we see how great that works for Juventus. The problems you mention about the 3-4-3 don't exist in the Juve team, regarding the 3 man back line, etc. In the last 5 years, the best teams to come out of Italy are quite simply Juve's 3-5-2, and Napoli's 3-4-3 when they attacked with Hamsik-Lavezz-Cavani. That team was very well organized and great on counter attacks.

As I said I'm a bit more defensive minded, and hate the fact we don't have world class defenders like we did. I'm most proud of Nesta-TS, and in Italy with Cannavaro-Nesta (materazzi). That is intimidating.

The 4-2-3-1 could work if Balotelli works harder, we get SES back, and Taarabt proves to be a good winger. Honda/Kaka should ONLY be played in the middle, Robinho and Birsa should leave, and Niang should come back. Saponara should also learn to play on the wing if he wants to stay, because I bet in 2-3 years Mastour will be playing in the middle. Then, in CDM, Montolivo will need to find a sufficient partner who can defend and also pass well. Cristante or Poli perhaps, and I like De Jong in the team, even if he doesn't start. He's a good defensive option off the bench. Essien and Muntari should move on after this year as they're both getting older, and Muntari's form is not good, nor does he suit the 4-2-3-1. A LB needs to be bought no matter what the system is.

I don't think anyone/many here or on most forums really consider themselves experts in tactics Wink While I have a firm interest in the tactical side of the game, I can honestly say I'm regularly confused as to how systems work. Most recently I've been trying to understand ideas of Total Football by watching old Holland games, but it's very difficult to understand, especially as I've grown up watching fairly rigid Italian systems.

You're right about holes being in the system regardless of the system though. Tactics can help us organise our game better and make use of the players in our side in the best way possible, but ultimately the players are limited and it will show through no matter how much we work on our tactical game.

El Shaarawy tracking back is an interesting idea to add numbers to the midfield, but I wonder if that would limit the influence Honda has. The reason I say this is Honda is a player who is best when he's got passing options in front of him. If El Shaarawy is pulling deep regularly then unless he's got Gattuso levels of stamina he won't be in front of Honda offering options to the playmaker. Balotelli's movement is poor and rarely does he make himself available to teammates, so I'd worry Honda would struggle. I think Honda's best performances for Milan so far have been when he's had options around him to pass, like Sassuolo when he came on as we pressed for an equaliser, Spezia where we totally dominated and more recently Samp, where Pazzini and Saponara, as well as Taarabt to an extent made themselves available to him.

About Urby, I won't lie I think he's defensively inept. You're totally right he struggles when asked to move in as teammates shift across, but at the same time I think he's generally very poor defending in wide areas, where he's often leaving gaps behind or taking needless risks trying to dribble out of high risk areas. While he would get more cover and have less need to pull in when part of a 3 man defence (5 man when pressed deep), I think we need to replace him in the summer at LB/LWB, so therefore I would rather we develop for next season from now rather than try to change system to accomodate players who have no real future as starters (you also agree we need a new LB whatever happens this year right?).

I agree completely about the lack of quality defenders in Milan these days. It's disheartening to think we went from having the greatest backline in history to what we have now.

About the 4-2-3-1, I'm satisfied with the recent progress made under Seedorf and while we do need some players back to fit the system and some new players to come in to meet Seedorf's requirements, if we have a project then we should continue with it. Seedorf's just come in and this season's a write off, so I'm happy for him to try his ideas even if he's not yet got all the right players for it.

About El Shaarawy, while watching the Samp match I was thinking he'd be great for the role recently occupied by Saponara, Kaka and Poli, essentially as second forward. We need a player who will press more there than Saponara or Kaka, but is technically better and more threatening than Poli. Given the way Saponara often moved to get in behind the Samp defence, I thought El Shaarawy would be very well suited for this. Also, given the position on the pitch (quite central), it would be great to have someone who will look to play quick passes rather than taking on lots of opponents, which I think El Shaarawy is better at than asking him to dribble past opponents often.

Likewise you mentioned Mastour playing centrally, but in this system I think he'd work best in the Taarabt role at wide left, as the space he gets in wide areas means he's got room to dribble and take on opposing defenders.

edit: just want to say this is a very good discussion!
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