GdS: Verticality and depth – five ways Milan have changed over the summer

By Oliver Fisher -

With two games under their belt in 2023-24 so far, we can begin to draw some concrete takeaways regarding AC Milan’s set up.

La Gazzetta dello Sport have highlighted the five main changes made by Stefano Pioli and the management have made early in the season from a tactical point of view and with the business they have done.

The first aspect highlighted is the new position of the full-backs. Last year Pioli asked Theo and Calabria to move centrally and assume the positions of a mezzala. The novelty of this season is the frequency with which they are doing it, and sometimes even simultaneously.

The second aspect comes as a consequence of the two full-backs inverted, and it is the fact that the midfielders are freed. In fact, it has been observed that this year they are further up the field, with both Tijjani Reijnders and Ruben Loftus-Cheek making deep runs.

The third feature is verticality, and the new signings have arrived with this in mind. Pulisic’s goal in Bologna and Theo Hernandez’s against Torino show that they will look to go forward at all times rather than side to side, aiming to get a shot on goal as quickly as possible.

Modern football is increasingly decided by individual plays, and one-on-one battles often decide matches. Milan have strengthened themselves a lot in this sense as they have raised the level of quality in some key sectors such as with the two mezzali and the right wing position.

Last but not least is the bench, which over the years has become increasingly decisive thanks to the five substitutions. If you look at Pioli’s changes, you can see that the depth has changed. Now Noah Okafor can enter in Leao’s place, while Samuel Chukwueze is Pulisic’s alternative for now.

Even Luka Romero – who has indisputable technical qualities – is an excellent weapon. In the midfield Yunus Musah is able to make Loftus-Cheek catch his breath, without forgetting that by the end of the year Pioli will have Bennacer again.

Tags AC Milan


  1. Please correct me if I am wrong but when both invert Krunic drops and we effectively have 3 center backs.

    I see so much “he doesn’t do X like a 6 should”. Seems to me it’s not his job in the system.

    If this is true (I’m pretty new to all this) then Pioli putting such a high value on Krunic knowing the system makes a great deal more sense.

    1. Usually only 1 of them will invert and on the few occasion that Theo charged inwards, Tomori actually went up like a leftback. But ya, Krunic did drop to cover as he had done last season.

    2. its on a play by play basis.

      they read the situation, but they need to get to a 3-2-2 position with wingers wide. Giroud a target.

      But pioli based on the other team’s tendencies will give them different ideas about who should move where to create the greatest openings.

      Pioli focuses more on how other teams like to play than most…and equips the team with plans a, b, c, etc

  2. Hey, so rumors have it Bayern is interested in Kalulu. Furlani masterstroke would be to get cash and Pavard for Kalulu. Definite upgrade, Pavard is young still AND he U-Turns on Inter…

    1. 27 isnt really young. 28 in march.
      Dont get me wrong, Pavard is a good player I just feel like we should develop Kalulu further and put our chips on him.
      And i know people hate on Calabria and want an upgrade on rb but they’re just being silly

  3. Ok due to this tactical analysis is it not better we accumulate Romero at least he can also bring the flow in the 4-2-3-1 our deadly formations

  4. brought to you by Pep Guardiola. Every one of these tactical articles could just be replaced with analysis of man city…with slight variations between who is used pushed from the back into the middle of the midfield…

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