CorSport: Pioli puzzles as he deploys Milan in a 5-0-5 formation against Sassuolo

By Ben Dixon -

Saturday’s performance against Sassuolo was by no means a classic AC Milan performance, as they eventually won by a goal to nil – through another Christian Pulisic opener.

Milan got the job done, yes. Was it pretty? No. Partially, that can be due to Sassuolo. The Neroverdi were defensively resolute and frustrated the Rossoneri for large parts of the game. However, Milan did not make it easy for themselves and always looked to miss something.

Corriere dello Sport (via MilanNews) writes that the reasoning for this could be due to a clear tactical split in the team on Saturday, which needs to be looked into by Stefano Pioli and altered. Throughout the second half, Milan seemed to be playing a 5-0-5. This could have been due to Milan wanting to attack more, but there was no balance in the side, which could have been punished.

Perhaps, though, this was due to desperation. The situation with Pioli is clear. He only has a few games to save his job, with Milan reportedly having his replacement already lined up. Therefore, it could have been done in an ‘all-out-attack’ way of thinking to try and earn a positive result. In this case, Milan got their reward, but it was an ultimately unconvincing one, which will not help the 58-year-old in his quest to save his job.

Tags AC Milan Milan-Sassuolo


  1. I would love to see 3-5-2





    1. How on earth would this work? Aren’t you aware that all 3-5-2 systems become 5-3-2 when in defense? How the fvck are Leao and Pulisic going to function as wingbacks in defense? Have you seen them defend? Insane.

    2. I love most of that setup, but I have the following (100% respectful) modifications that I would like:

      I think Jovic and Giroud are too close in nature to play together. I would push Leao up as the second striker, to play off the Nine (right now, I’d start Jovic and use Giroud as a “super sub,” and give him a rest unless needed).

      I would push Theo up to the right wing, and replace him on the back line with a true central defender.

      Pulisic has been much better, defensively, than expected, and Theo should have no problems getting back as a left back on defense, reverting to a four at the back when defending.

  2. Leao Jovic/Okafor




  3. Most coaches now use some variation of the WM system.
    3-2 or 2-3 structure to play out of defense + 5 attackers, either overloading the opposing 4atb with a line of 5 or as 2-3 (boxmidfield) or 3-2 structure

  4. I like how people here think new coaches like Glasner will somehow make Milan into a unstoppable winning team

    his win % at Frankfurt was 39%, why tf would he succeed or be offered a job here, Motta is the only new coach with any chance but if people think Motta will instantly make Milan into multiple title winner you are day dreaming

    1. Nice, so you’d prefer Motta’s 36% win percentage over Glasner’s 39%. Interesting. Wonder if you’d hire Klopp after barely skimming 40% before going to Dortmund?

        1. Man u reading don’t have reading comprehension skills eh. Klopp…one of the best coaches around…has the same %win rate …and ur asking if he could succeed?
          #brain dead

  5. Coaches are coaches…. They always come up with their own school of thought….. The” Pioli Pattern”…. Vision??? No, just confusing the opponents…. Systems???

  6. Like I said, win or no win, Pioli’s tactical problems aren’t going away. Still, no reliable midfield presence. Everyone pushes up leaving the defense exposed. Against a team better than Sassuolo we would have lost like that.

    Bennacer was supposed to play as a 6 but at times he was pressing as high up as Giroud. And the times he was in front of D, both RLC and Reijnders were far up front leaving midfield disbalanced.

    Bennacer and Reijnders are supposed to be playing interchangeable positions not to provide a point of reference, but often it just left huge gaps in the middle… There’s just no tactical discipline.

    1. I agree with everything you said and would add to it the lack of tactical _understanding_.

      433, inverted FBs, 442, 4231, 343, 505. New players trying to gel. Oh … And 30+ injuries.

      Part of me wants to offer Pioli the excuse that he has to work with who is available. But part of me thinks about Krunic coming in at CB or Musah playing on the back line, midfield and wing in the same game.

      I’ll continue hold out hope this is simply the overwhelming result of the injuries we (the fans) _see_ AND the fatigue we don’t see on the training ground.

      Forza Milan.

      1. I have the same thoughts exactly. It is hard position to be in, but someone needs to take responsibility here. But for me — constant, almost maniacal disbelief in our great young players is the greatest sin. You know have he played Simic as the main option and loose — I would not mind. My biggest problem he does not display confidence anymore. Not in how he looks nor in how he acts.

  7. I don’t understand why Pioli plays the game so one dimensionally. He’s tells his players to go forward without any patterns of movement that pull defenders out of shape. Ball progression is static because the formation has no depth or design to create space between the lines. I don’t like how he’s deployed RLC. Although he’s only been marginally better than Krunic RLC does well at holding the ball. I think if he was played deeper and flanked by Bennacer and Reijnders who would be free to play the box to box roles or make attacking runs into the channels. Essentially a shape like a 3-2-5 in attack

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