AC Milan started the season with three consecutive victories in Serie A against Bologna, Torino and Roma. During these games, we saw some intriguing tactics deployed by Stefano Pioli.
Today’s edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport (seen below) talks about the changes that Milan have made since last season, starting with the most obvious one which is a switch from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-3-3.
Milan do not rely on Rafael Leao alone any more, but also focus on the right flank. They no longer relies solely on Ismael Bennacer’s direction in midfield, because they have expanded their build-up methods.
They do not leave responsibility in front of goal to Olivier Giroud alone, with multiple scorers already this season and seven goals in the first three games.
The new ideas, at least judging from the first 270 minutes of the season, are successful. Against Bologna it was Tijjani Reijnders’ insertion that split the game open. Against Torino, the quick exchanges of Pulisic and Loftus-Cheek were decisive. Against Roma, Pioli used Calabria next to Krunic, in front of the defence.
The paper adds that Pioli ‘was inspired by Guardiola’. Davide Calabria’s move is akin that of John Stones, a central defender who was used several times as a midfield playmaker.
The new additions, already perfectly integrated, exploit the spaces opened up by the work of the wingers who widen the field, Leao on one side and Pulisic on the other. Pep’s City accompanied Gundogan and De Bruyne by taking advantage of the very wide wingers, such as Mahrez, Foden, Bernardo Silva and Grealish.
Guardiola had four attacking men behind Haaland and Pioli does the same: Giroud is well supported and Theo Hernandez has not yet been fully used as a wild card.