MN: A tactical tweak Pioli could try again to restore balance to Milan

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli may well consider a change of shape and system given the struggles his side have had so far in 2023, a report claims.

MilanNews recalls that Milan have played five games in total so far in the new calendar year and have conceded nine goals: one against Salernitana, two against Roma, one against Torino in the Italian Cup, two against Lecce and two in the Supercoppa against Inter.

The Rossoneri have lost that defensive solidity and that compactness that had been decisive in the second half of last season to win the Scudetto. Obviously there are various factors feeding into this such as individual errors and lack of mental focus, but in the meantime tactics could also help send a more balanced team on the pitch.

The 4-2-3-1 has been Stefano Pioli’s trademark in recent seasons, but at the moment the formation seems to be not yielding the desire results. A solution could be to insert a more physical player as the central attacking midfielder.

While awaiting the recovery of Rade Krunic, who was often very useful in that position last year, Pioli could field one of either Tommaso Pobega or Aster Vranckx, who could offer greater coverage in the non-possession phase in what would almost be a 4-3-3. That alone wouldn’t be enough though, as greater attention and organisation is needed from the rest of the team.

Tags AC Milan


  1. Ya let’s put pobega or vranckx in an attacking midfield role, let me just quietly cry in the corner. I didn’t even like when Kessie did it and now those two are considered. Smh

  2. This is what I would do:

    Send the whole team to a retreat for as long as the schedule allows – make them hangout with each other, do activities that are designed to gel the team.

    as far as formation goes:

    We need to protect our two center backs – the way Kessie did last year. But I dont want to take out either Tonali or Bennacer – so we need a third MF, a central defensive midfielder that shields the two center backs.

    so we could go with a 4-3-3 or a 3-5-2

    4-3-3 would look like this:






    a 3-5-2 would look like this:





    *Give Vasques a shoot

  3. Milan missing tbe leader between the sticks,goal keeper job is bigger than stopping shots, I think the team is missing the directions they used to get and the killer passes.. at the front our old man didn’t have break going from leauge to WC and back, that’s little too much for him. Calabria was never a great player and coming from injury he is not the same and that goes to all “recovered” players… Milan going g through rough times but hopefully we come out of it… not to forget disappointing summer transfer but I think that was due mainly to the change in ownership and settling for whatever available in the market…

  4. We need to sell these second class players from summer. If Red Bird doesn’t have money, Ac must be sold to a richer owner.

  5. This is not a formation issue. It’s a play development issue. Changing formations won’t change the outcome if the way the ball is being moved remains the same. Further it’s going to be difficult to switch style or play development mid season in between a packed fixture list

  6. Pioli should rather play Adli/Tonali/Vrankcx in that position. All 3 are good at creating chances and providing assists. What does he have against Adli, I don’t understand????
    Pioli must remove/rest players when they are underperforming. Players like Calabria, Giroud, Tomori, and Leao (at times) have been playing poorly in the last 4-5 games, yet they start every single game. There is no squad rotation. It is not that there are no other players in the squad. Dest can replace Calabria; Rebic can replace Giroud; Thiaw can replace Tomori; CDK can replace Leao.. These are some of the bold decisions Pioli must make. But he is too timid or scared to make bold changes. He always goes for safe changes (those who have already played/used to the Italian league – like Pobega, Tatarasanu, Messias, Gabbia, Krunic, etc..) and that is affecting the results! This is the biggest mistake Pioli has made in season 2022-23. His dependence of weaker players is what is costing the team and the results.

  7. (3-4-3)
    Kalulu — Kjaer — Thiaw/Tomori
    Dest — Bennacer — Tonali — Theo
    Diaz — Rebic — Leao

    It is time for Pioli to bench/rest sub-par players like Calabria, Giroud, etc.

  8. Underlying rule, “Play to the strength of your players”.

    Can formation be changed this deep into the season without huge problems to get required impact? Absolutely!

    Does a change in shape necessarily result in change of play style? Consequently a bit!

    Should we switch to 3-5-2 or 3-4-3? Big No! 3-back has been Piolis fall-back formation and it has never worked. The roles of the players and tactical interpretation are too much at contrast to what they are used to.

    What formation will bring out the team’s strength? 4-3-3 !
    Probably the most potentially dynamic and versatile shape in football. It is the most nearest to our current shape and certain key aspects can be easily transfered.

    Pioli should play a typical 4-3-3, and go back to playing more direct, simple passing, less comlex player roles football, and not just throw one MF in the AMF role and continue with 4-2-3-1. This allows adequate shield for the defence, adequate numbers in midfield and an attack focused largely on attacking.

  9. And give Vasquez spot in starting line up.,
    Just like when Sinisa gave that spot to Dollaruma.
    Tata not recommended,reflect ang long pass very owful,
    Maignan we waiting you bro..!!

  10. I love how everyone is blaming Tata, but look at the defensive mistakes of the back 4 recently and you cannot blame him solely for Kalulu making an errant pass and turning it over, Hernandez not tracking back and giving up and own goal, Tonali getting used by Dzeko, or Tomori being ohysically manhandled by Martinez on the turn. These are horrendous defensive lapses that maybe Maignan would have stopped one but the fact of the matter is that we have been horrible defensively and the high press has been broken down so effectively by the opposition.

    1. No one is blaming Tata for the goals. We’re blaming him for poor passing and lack of leadership in the defense. If you fail to see those weaknesses in him, I don’t know what to say.

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