Tuttosport: From 4-3-3 to Christmas tree – Pioli studies solutions to cope without Leao

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan’s biggest game of the season so far comes on Sunday night as they face Napoli at San Siro, but Rafael Leao will not be present.

As reported this morning by Tuttosport (via MilanNews), Stefano Pioli is using the final training sessions to look at various tactical solutions to help cope with the absence of Leao, given that he is the leader of the attack with 8 games played so far in which he racked up 3 goals and 6 assists.

The 4-2-3-1 formation at present remains the most accredited hypothesis, perhaps with the transfer of an Alexis Saelemaekers to the opposite wing, but it also cannot be ruled out that the Milan boss slightly alters the system to get the most out of the players available.

A return to the Christmas tree (a 4-3-2-1) could occur, with Brahim Diaz and De Ketelaere side by side behind Olivier Giroud and one of either Tommaso Pobega or Rade Krunic employed as a mezzala.

Then there is also the idea of a 4-3-3. In this case, Pioli would leave the playmaker out and play with Messias on the right and Saelemaekers on the left, flanking Giroud of course who will be asked to work overtime.

What will not change is the attitude and speed that Pioli asks his players to impose on the match. Milan have made aggression one of their trademarks and it has worked so far in Serie A, but Napoli have so far emerged victorious from the two tricky Champions League games against Liverpool and Rangers, winning 7-1 on aggregate.

There will be no Victor Osimhen for the away side on Sunday, but Spalletti is showing that he knows how to cope without him.

Tags AC Milan Milan Napoli


  1. I think it makes sense, why shoehorn players into positions that they’re not comfortable with. Napoli look good, two comfortable CL wins.

    4321 works well, crowd the midfield and let the fullbacks provide width. I Don’t think Napoli is going to be easy.

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