Courtesy of AC Milan
The Serie A is arguably one of the best competitions in the world and attracting loads of good players of the summer has definitely helped their cause. In light of that development former scudetto winners AC Milan and ACF Fiorentina are trying to get back up the table, with especially Milan trying to get into a good position to battle for the champions league places. Fiorentina overcome the offensive approach of their opponents and were quite efficient in doing. In this tactical analysis I’ll look at how Fiorentina cast off AC Milan.
Gattuso started with a 4-3-3 formation as they often do, with prolific striker Higuain and Suso up top. Pioli started with a 4-2-3-1 formation, playing Simeone as a sole striker and Mirallas and Chiesa in midfield.
Courtesy of sofascore.com
Milan played with Mauri as defensive midfielder, where as Calhanoglu and Calabria lay deeper as attacking midfielders. Fiorentina played differently and opted for the 4-2-3-1 formation where Fernandes and Veretout played as a defensive block. This left an attacking midfield of Mirallas, Benassi and Chiesa with Simeone as the sole striker of the guests.
Milan created many chances at home against Fiorentina – they had 13 shots and 6 of them were on target – but they couldn’t capitalize on that notion. That is noticeable in the amount of corners they had. They had 8 corners, but none of them resulted in shots. Fiorentina 6 corners and only produced 1 shot, which is still more than Milan could create. When you look at the clearances, Fiorentina was under a lot of pressure, with an amount of 24 clearances in their defence against only 9 in the Milan defense. Milan created more attacking opportunities, but didn’t make the most of it.
Milan in attack formation in the 4-4-2 formation. A lot of numbers on the opponents halve, but unable to break through.
Gatusso made a few changes in the second half. Castillejo left the pitch and in came Cutrone, which made Milan alter their formation. They now were playing in a 4-4-2 formation with Higuain and Cutrone up top, with Suso dropping to midfield. Laxalt had replaced Mauri on the midfield as well.
This changed happened in the 68th minute and while they were looking for a more stable midfield because of the changes Piolo made, this also left them vulnerable for the 4-2-3-1 formation of Fiorentina. Mirallas left the field for Gerson and the latter went to play as a right attacking midfielder, which meant that Chiesa moved to the left attacking midfielder position. This lead to more threatening movement and action on the side of the guests.
The change of Chiesa playing on the left at Fiorentina and Gerson on the right, gave Milan difficulties in defending.
That slight change in formation gave Milan difficulties, because they couldn’t handle Chiesa cutting in into the middle all the time. The Milan defenders were focused on the deep lying Simeone and Benassi, which meant that Chiesa had all the room to make the action. This is exactly what he did with the 0-1 in the 73rd minute of the game.
Chiesa drives into the middle and fires a shot at goal: 0-1. It would be Fiorentina’s only shot on target.
Milan tried to change things up with bringing Conti on the right back position instead of Abate , to give energy to enforce the equaliser, but that was in vain. Especially when the guest changed their formation back to 5-4-1 in the last minutes of the game (87th minute). They played Chiesa as the striker in front of a midfield of Pjaca-Fernandes-Veretout-Gerson. The defense consisted of Biraghi-Victor Hugo-Pezzella-Milenkovic-Laurini. Milan tried, but was unable to find the right way through and so the game ended in a 0-1 away victory for Fiorentina.
Milan might have had the better opportunities in this game, the difference was made in the pressing. The pressing of Milan’s game didn’t match their chances. Which in all fairness, didn’t scare Fiorentina at all. The pressing of Fiorentina however, was better and that’s why Chiesa could have so much space to capitulate on the chance his team forced out of Milan.
The inability to convert chances to goal is a problem in itself, but that wasn’t the main issue here for Milan. It’s the fact that Gattuso didn’t know how to reactie to the change in formation of Fiorentina. It was a little piece of magic at Pioli’s side, which gave the team more breathing space on the left side, which Chiesa was very thankful for.