Sky: Pioli has tried out a new formation in training – key role for De Ketelaere

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli wants his side to remain unpredictable and he has been trying a new formation in training, a report claims.

According to what is being reported by Sky (via MilanZone), Pioli has tried out a different system to his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation during the last few training sessions, and it is a system that Milan fans will be familiar with.

The broadcaster report that the former Fiorentina and Lazio boss has been deploying the team in a 4-3–1-2 in sessions as Milanello with Charles De Ketelaere acting as the trequartista behind the front two.

No further details were given as to who else was deployed where, but it would certainly fix the issue of inconsistency on the right flank if two of Olivier Giroud, Ante Rebic, Rafael Leao and Divock Origi were put up front.

In addition, the midfield three could then be made up of Sandro Tonali as the regista – a position he held at Brescia – with Ismael Bennacer and either Yacine Adli or Tommaso Pobega (or a new signing) as the box-to-box players.

Tags AC Milan


  1. I’m a little bit scared of a formation change. I hope they don’t start using this as a starting formation. Maybe use it if we’re already up by a couple of goals to begin with. Seems like an incredibly offensive formation. And I get a bit worried about how Leao will fit into this formation 🤔

  2. 4-3-1-2 Formation is logical choice for ACM current strong players. But i wonder how we will remain unpredictable with 4-3-1-2. Because with 4-3-1-2, the midfield will be full of ACM players so the RB & LB will be pure Wing-Back, not go midfield like Theo & Calabria usually did and give the unpredictable movements for other players and the wingers stay in isolation to wait for open spaces to exploit.

  3. Even though I like the 4312 formation, changing formation that won us the title and has worked great over the last 2.5 years after 2 games into a new season might not be the best idea

  4. None of you read. It’s been worked on as a way of giving an element of surprise. You can’t expect us to play that formation every game and not get found out. There’s probably at least a few formations the team have been versed in. This gives us an extra string to our bow when facing teams who will look to run the clock down by just being compact.

    1. + it’s not like the current system is working that well as both LW & RW have been insanely ineffective. Something needs to be done for sure.

  5. Well some people wants Pioli to use 4312 where CDK and Adli can start. So let see if this experiment will go well or not.

    But if it’s not getting good results, i can see people harassing / mocking Pioli and asking Maldini to fire him lol.

  6. Considering how out of places Leao, Messias and Saelemacker at times and how much reinforcement we are getting in the middle, I’d say 4321 would be a good alternative to 433. That 4321 brought us the last CL when we had good ACM in Kaka and solid registra and mezzala in Pirlo, Seedorf, Gattuso and Ambrosini. Although Tonali, Bennacer, Adli and Pobega are not quite there yet; we currently have similar players that can be used for the 4321 with CDK as trequarista

    1. LOL. Kaka, Pirlo, Seedorf, Gattuso. You’re comparing a world class squad to a bunch of kids. Modern football is played out wide. Hence the proliferation of 3-5-2 and 4-2-3-1 formations. To go to a 4-3-2-1 or the 4-3-1-2 would be a backwards step. NONE of the top sides play that way right now.

      1. LOL….read carefully before commenting. am I comparing our current set of players to those guys? Besides why would we copy top sides who can afford to have the best wide players to play wide. It is like having a janitor salary but partying like the President. Our wide side is only decent on the left side, it is like boxing with 1 hand only, so why we have to be a stuck up just for the sake of copying the trend?
        Don’t be silly.
        Going back to 4321 is not a backward step, it means adapting to what we have which actually is a progress. 352 442 433 4321 4312 12345678 all formations have existed for a very long time, they don’t just belong to a certain period.


        1. Agreed on the formations dont belong to a certain period. We either go buy the players for a specific system; and overpay sometimes to get what you want, OR fit the system to what you have. Neither is correct or wrong. We just have to pick. Maldini and Co try to recruit somewhat flexible players just in case.
          Last thing, Carletto made a living fitting a system to the players. he had the 4-3-2-1 with us, then a 4-3-3 at RM, played a 4-2-3-1 at times at Chelsea etc.
          Guardiola is a 4-3-3 and he makes his club buy to his needs. Again, pick the approach.

        2. Exactly, very well said. It may work, it may not. But sticking with the same formation which currently doesn’t work is not a smart move. Considering we barely utilized CDK the last 2 games and Adli not being used at all. Adaptibility and flexibility are expected in modern football.

  7. I’m glad to hear them talking about this formation, it’s my preferred Milan formation for the current squad as it eliminates our problem of RW entirely.

    Now we can run Adli, Bennacer, and Tonali at the same time, CDK at AM, and Leao and either Giroud or Origi up top together with Leao having license to roam wide when he wants.

    Hope this is true.

  8. I can only feel for leao, but he can still meet up in attack.
    4312 is the best with varieties of players we have at hand.
    It would contain our solids midfielders mostly Tonali in register and Charles best would be more explore.
    I also think this might be the best for Diaz because he need two strikers upfront to help him rotate.
    Origi or oliver, one of them will be present in the box.
    I support the move.

  9. It cannot be worst than play 4231 with junior start as RW. 4312 are interesting formation too with that formation we can play adili or pobega alongside with tonali & bennacer . Dont forget bakayoko are good to play with 3 midfield formation too maybe he will find his good form like in the past with gattuso coach using 433. If this formation are good then we can start sell junior & lord saladmaker in january or next summer. Lets hope it work magically

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