Forced errors and a 4-3-3: Tactical analysis of Milan’s win against Hellas Verona

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan emerged 3-1 winners against Hellas Verona at the Stadio Bentegodi on Sunday night, taking a huge step towards the Scudetto in the process.

It was the Sandro Tonali show as he scored a brace on his birthday to turn the game on its head after Faraoni opened the scoring, and Alessandro Florenzi marked his return from injury with a brilliant half-volley to seal a 3-1 win. Below is a brief tactical analysis of the game…

Growing pains

‘Fatale Verona’ was something which might have been on the minds of Milan players when they came to the Bentegodi given that the Rossoneri have twice – in 1973 and 1990 – lost in Verona to derail their title push.

History looked like it might be about to repeat itself when the home side took the lead in the 38th minute on Sunday night, despite Milan dominating the match for a good part of the game.

Verona play with two #10’s in their system. This allows them to find the space between the midfield and the defence. Caprari on this occasion found space between the lines with Calabria reluctant to follow his marker.

This put him in a grave situation with Lazovic overlapping and creating a 2v1 on Calabria, and the defender tried to call the bluff of Caprari and didn’t follow Lazovic. Kalulu tried to help Calabria out, but by then it was too late.

Hitting back

Milan’s first goal came courtesy of a press by Kalulu and a forced error from Caprari. This helped Tomori to capitalise on the unorganised defense of the Gialloblu and slide a pass through to put Leao in isolation against Gunter. You can already see Tudor screaming at his players to quickly get back into their positions.

Faraoni could not help Gunter double team Leao and he wreaked havoc.

Remarkably the second goal to give Milan the lead came from similar circumstances, with Leao getting the better of his man and squaring for the late run of Tonali.

For Milan’s third goal a successful switch helped Florenzi find space on the right side.

With the midfield of Verona stretched, it forced the centre-back Sutalo to come out to challenge Florenzi, essentially creating a 2v2 (with Messias being covered by Lazovic). However, since Sutalo left space behind him, the quick one-touch passing from Florenzi opened up the space and Florenzi whipped out a brilliant shot to score.

The data

The average positional map for the game seems to suggest Milan played more of a 4-3-3. In this game Kessie sat back as the defensive midfielder (a typical No.6) while Tonali pushed up as the No.8, making late runs into the box.


One thing that has been missing from Milan’s performances in recent weeks is the right decision at the right moment in the final third. It took almost a full half to get it right in Verona, but the feeling is that the tide of the game shifted after a very well-worked equaliser.

With three wins on the spin the hope is that there is confidence heading into Sunday’s game, with just a win and a draw needed from the last two matches to seal a first title in 11 years.

Tags AC Milan Hellas Verona Milan

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