GdS: Milan’s formation is flexible – the objective is to create superiority

By Oliver Fisher -

This morning’s edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport has taken a look at some of the tactical indications from the opening round of Serie A.

The paper (seen below) writes how the market has brought many new faces to Milanello and Stefano Pioli has gone from 4-2-3-1 to 4-3-3 but with ‘non-canonical principles’.

There isn’t, at least for now, a classic regista. Krunic is playing at the base of the midfield but he is not a playmaker, while Reijnders, Pulisic and Loftus-Cheek are the creative forces, and then Leao and Chukwueze are the dribblers.

In practice, the formation is flexible and the objective is to create superiority in the area in which the ball gravitates in order to be able to get to a shooting action as quickly as possible.

The playmaker, therefore is whoever has the ball at his feet. Reijnders for example didn’t misplace any passes against Bologna, he read the development of the manoeuvre very well and also showed a tendency to make late runs into the box.

The players are given certain tasks and do not necessarily carry them out in their starting position. In the Pioli era, Milan never played a classic passing game, but in the year of the Scudetto win they were ruthless when they won the ball back high up and countered quickly.

Now that concept is translated into a situation of possession. And greater density in a sector can favour the change of play on the weaker side, potentially lethal with fast forwards.

Tags AC Milan


  1. Strangely (probably not since I tend to see things differently) I think the new formation is really rigid.

    I don’t like 433. It tends to be just FOUR THREE THREE with basically three players doing the same thing: the FB, the R/LCM and the R/LW.

    The inverted full backs make it interesting but is prefer a player behind the striker playing in the space who I guess would need to be Pulisic with the current squad so we don’t have many options.

    433 it is then. Hopefully it works. It did for Allegri.

    1. at no point in the game besides when they blow the whistle does the team structured as a 433, no team does that….the build up is a 3-2-4-1. the press is a 4-2-4, the low block is a 4-4-2…..

  2. If Pioli decides for any reason to revert back to 4231, I don’t believe he’ll play Leao-Puli-Chuk trio up front but rather Leao-Reijnders-Pulisic/Chuk.

    1. Milan literally played a 4-2-3-1, Rejinders was playing much further up front than Krunic and RLC

      This is the problem with this site, they read some articles and see starting XIs online and then pretend like they saw the match and will argue with you about a topic they have no clue about

      1. im still waiting for someone to explain to me how a 433 with someone playing as mezzela is any different than a 4231…

        Maybe its the personnel that people don’t like, but talking about one formation is just not capturing anything about the roles of the players…

  3. “Krunic is playing at the base of the midfield but he is not a playmaker”

    Understatement of the year. 😀 😀 😀
    He definitely isn’t a playmaker.

    1. Haha right, he should be on some obscure MLS team, not Milan. Intercompany fraternization is never good, Pioli is letting love blind him.

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