EL Matchday 1: Austria Wien - AC Milan (September 14th, 19:00 CET)
I am taking the liberty to open this thread. The first one I opened this season, we won, so I hope to bring good luck again. Big Grin Also, I lead the Prediction League as of right now...so I can do whatever I want around here for a few more days at least.  Devilol Sagrin

There's been a lot of discussion on tactics and formation in the Lazio match thread. Some are not too phased by our use of the 4-3-3 and see no problem with it while others want to see a change to a 3 man backline and the utilization of wingbacks. 

As I have said in the Lazio thread, I don't have a problem with any particular formation. I believe any scheme can be successful of you have the right players for it. Some match up better against others, but the point first and foremost is that you need the right players to execute it propery. 

Having said that, I believe that the players we have bought and currently have in the squad are best suited for a back 3 and 2 wing back formation. From there on, it's up for a debate if we use 2 mids + 2 AMs + 1 CF...or 3 mids and 2 CFs, or 2 mids + 1 AM + 2CF, etc, etc. 

I think we need to transition towards this look sooner rather than later. The more we wait, the more points we are likely to lose because we really don't have the personnel to finish in a top 4 with a 4-3-3. It will be very tough especially against solid sides (like Lazio for example) and is very predictable with the players we have.

On to this game, we are likely to see some rotation. Kessie has played every game so far and I think should get a break. Locatelli should slot in and I DO NOT want to see Montolivo anywhere near the field. Hopefully Conti is back, but if not, Abate should do. Bonaventura and Calhanoglu both started off the bench against lazio so there is no reason why they should not be able to start. It is important to start the competition with a win.

I would like to see something like this.

--------Mussa - Leo - Romagnoli--------

It's important that Musacchio, Bonucci, Romagnoli play together as much as possible. I believe this is the unit that will take us forward and they need to work together. Same goes for Conti and RR as they are a big part of that part of the team. Locatelli and Biglia should have more than enough to control the game, protect the backline, and allow Hakan, Jack, Conti, and RR to do their thing in front of them. I don't have a preference for the CFs, but Silva needs to be given a proper chance. Suso can take a break and be an option off the bench.
I like this lineup too. I agree that we should start trying 3-5-2 (Kalinic and Silva/Cutrone) or 3-4-2-1, because we simply can't afford keeping Romagnoli out.
I agree with the lineup you've posted there. I think going forward it's the de-facto system we should be building around. As mentioned in the Lazio thread and as you've mentioned here, I'm one of those who isn't placing too much importance on our formation right now. However, I'm for us going to a back 3 and as I've said on a number of occasions I think it's best suited to us, but the key right now I think is we need to stay compact when defending at all times. 

That said, being on the subject of tactics, I think in every regard 3-4-1-2 or 3-4-2-1 has to be our primary system. It's the system which we have the best balance throughout the squad to rely on our players. In terms of personnel we have:

For the front 3 (whether it be 2 strikers and a playmaker or 2 playmakers and 1 striker): Silva, Kalinic, Cutrone, Bonaventura, Calhanoglu, Suso (this guy actually considers himself a trequartista and started his career there)

For the wingbacks: Conti, RR, Calabria, Abate, Antonelli (all of them have been slightly suspect defending in a back 4, whereas a back 3 actually reduces the defensive responsibilities on them)

For the central midfield roles: Kessie, Biglia, Locatelli, Montolivo, Mauri

For the defensive 3: Bonucci, Romagnoli, Musacchio, Paletta, Zapata, Gomez

Numerically and I think in skill sets, that squad is almost ideally suited to 3-4-2-1 (1-2). In hindsight I do think Montella made a mistake not moving to this system during the summer, it would have made sense to have started the transition after the Craiova ties. I understand his reason for sticking to 4-3-3, like the continuity from last season, but given our starting lineup is almost completely new and now knowing how little opposition Shkendija actually offered, it's a shame the change didn't start sooner.

Anyway, I'm excited about the return of Romagnoli and I agree Locatelli should play this match. If Montolivo is still considered ahead of Locatelli in Montella's books now, then the guy needs a slap because Montolivo's performances do not warrant being anywhere near the pitch. Kessie's made a couple of critical mistakes in the last two matches too, so it's probably best he gets a rest and is allowed to grow out of the limelight for a few days.
Probable XI vs Austria Wien: Donnarumma; Musacchio, Bonucci, Romagnoli; Abate, Kessie, Biglia, Bonaventura, Rodriguez; Kalinic, André Silva. via Sky
Dev...I fully understand why you are not too concerned with the formation right now and that you would rather see us straighten out other things no matter the formation, as it will make us more solid and gather us some points. BUT, as you also mentioned in your post, most of the players (starters in any case) are new and they have no history with Milan, so in that sense continuity doesn't make sense. As a matter of fact, as I mentioned earlier (might have been in the Lazio thread) some of them are more used to a back 3 anyway (and if not that, definitely more suited to some of those variations we have talked about).

Also, like you said, we should have been making the transition a lot sooner. Again, I really don't understand Montella's hesitance in doing this and even less so his insistance on a 4-3-3...that by the eay has looked FAR from impressive. In that sense, we are not losing much anyway.

As you know...I've been one of the people tht's supported Montella and defended him in the past. I still support him. But whereas last season we had no quality, this season I am convinced that we have a squad capable of playing really good, quick, modern football and should be able to get into the CL. I am not too concerned by the result itself against Lazio...but instead about the way we played (similar to last year with some VERY slow build ups and consistantly giving the ball back to the CBs instead of being braver and transitioning quicker). Not only that, but other things that I don't want to get into right now, in which the formation (and refusal to transition into what's clearly better suited like a 3-4-2-1) and choice of players (like Monto over Locatelli) are a part of.

Also, Dev, you are spot on with the numbers. That "spread" could not be any more perfect. This is also why after the market closed, ai thought it was very clear as to what formation we were going to play. So it is just very confusing thay we have not even attempted it thus far.

AC_Troy...that looks like a 3-4-1-2....or maybe it will be a 3-5-2. Either way, it will be an improvement and a step in the right direction.
It's a 3-5-2
(09-11-2017, 09:20 PM)AC_Troy Wrote: Probable XI vs Austria Wien: Donnarumma; Musacchio, Bonucci, Romagnoli; Abate, Kessie, Biglia, Bonaventura, Rodriguez; Kalinic, André Silva. via Sky

This lineup gives me confidence. Smile I won't be able to watch the game on Thursday due to work, Sad  but I hope it will be a victory. It is important to have a good start. Smile
(09-11-2017, 09:44 PM)nefremo Wrote: AC_Troy...that looks like a 3-4-1-2....or maybe it will be a 3-5-2. Either way, it will be an improvement and a step in the right direction.

I don't think we have anyone that can play "1" at this moment.
Calhanoglu can do it and has done it. Suso also has done that in the past. Jack might not be the typical "design" of a player that plays in that position, but he can most certainly be successful there. Imo, all 3 of these players are AMs more then wingers.
Well, it all have been said in this thread and Lazio's game thread. We should bring the best of our players. It is better late than never. Hopefully starting from this game, Montella could open his mind widely Big Grin.

I like the three CBs especially we play 3CB with all players on pitch are first team players. The last EL games, the 3 CBs did not perform well but the team were not first team so the trio had to work very hard. The midfield is much better compared to the last EL game where we put our third team (not even our second team). Curious to see how Silva partners with an experienced player like Kalinic who is said good at build up the play upfront.

What I am concerned only about the bridge between midfield and the forwards.
"When Costacurta and Maldini won they didn't celebrate much. They were thinking about winning the next game" - Alessandro Nesta