The first win of Pioli’s era arrived versus SPAL. The coach had mostly resisted adjusting the criticized formation of the previous games but did leave Suso on the bench. For much of the game Milan retained control but barely threatened SPAL’s goal. The overall impression was one of nervousness and hesitancy. This could be seen very clearly in Paqueta’s performance. The Brazilian looks to have regressed and kept missing shots on goal and shooting well off ala Kessie. The so called Castillejo experiment ended early in the second and Suso returned to the pitch. His chance to save the game arrived, Piatek was fouled near the box and the Spaniard converted the freekick in excellent fashion. Milan hung on to win 1-0 without convincing many.
The game versus Lazio comes only three days after the aforementioned win. There is little time to gear up for the stronger opposition but with games against Juventus and Napoli coming up this might be the best chance to get three points before November ends. The CL qualification objective is a still a far off hope but it is all Milan has to play for.
The game winning goal might have earned Suso a few more (mostly undeserved) starts but he may miss this game due to a knock. Castillejo is set to get another if his compatriot is not ready. The midfield might look slightly differently as well with Krunic a possible beneficiary. Right back has become an urgent problem with both Calabria and Conti struggling, so much so that Borini’s name has been whispered again. In all cases a 4-3-3 seems a wrong formation but major deviations from it remain unlikely. Only Pioli can answer why the 4-3-3 keeps surviving despite evidence it is not suited form-wise and leaves the lone center forward isolated.
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