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Sunday, May 8, 2011

AC Milan crowned Italian champions

"I still cant believe it! I made a pledge with Adriano Galliani that if we won the Scudetto, we'd walk up to the church in Versilia on foot. It'll be quite a hike!" was Massimiliano Allegri's reaction after his team AC Milan clinched their 18th Scudetto at the Stadio Olympico with a 0-0 draw against AS Roma. The former Cagliari tactician had never won silverware before and he managed it in his first year at Milan, only his third year in serieA. " Allegri was excellent this season and he will continue our tradition of producing great managers" remarked Galliani referring to the former Milan tacticians such as Sacchi and Capello.

True, the way Allegri has handled this team deserves credit. It isn't easy managing a team owned by Silvio Berlusconi. Although he splashes cash in the transfer market to build a good team, he constantly makes his voice heard on the tactical aspects of his team's game. Ancelotti has experienced this himself during his long stay and as recently as last year Leonardo quit this club citing lack of understanding between him and Silvio. Leaving the off field issues aside, it would be fitting to highlight on how Allegri has managed the best out of this Milan team.

  • Formation: Initially Allegri stuck with the 4-3-3 formation left behind by Leonardo but soon realized that this allowed the opposition teams to dictate the game in midfield as players like Ronaldinho or Pato rarely track back. His change of formation to 4-3-1-2 was crucial. This was a formation (or slightly altered 4-3-2-1 under Ancelotti) which had brought Milan a lot of success in the past and was better suited for older players like Seedorf, Pirlo and Gattuso. It was only after he changed the formation, it became so evident how poor 4-3-3 looked with the lack of good full backs for the Rossoneri.
  • Boateng as Trequarista: I would hail this as Allegri's best decison yet on the Milan bench. Kevin Prince Boateng's strong points are his pace, his movement off the ball and his ability to get along into the passing triangle with the strikers. He has such a lively presence in midfield and his work rate is phenomenal. With him as the trequarista (the attacking midfielder behind the two strikers), Milan could become more efficient in recovering the possession and converting it into attack. Boateng offers more flexibilty in this role that he gets into different positions unlike traditional trequaristas.
  • Workhorse Midfield: This has been a major feature of Allegri's Milan this season. Tough tackling midfielders capable of breaking up the play would be employed as the midfield trio making it much more difficult for the serieA teams to build up play in midfield. There were games this season when Milan midfield consisted of Van Bommel, Gattuso, Flamini and Boateng! This was another reason this side managed to have the best defensive record in serieA this term.
  • Shifting Pirlo and Seedorf to the Left: For years, Pirlo was known as the deep lying playmaker. However, what Allegri did was that he shifted Pirlo to the left of the midfield in a more advanced role, a move that made effective use of Pirlo's vison and passing abilities into the attacking play than spraying passes from the centre, deep in Milan's half. Unfortunately, Pirlo remained injured after that for majority of the season.Interestingly, Allegri repeated the same trick with Seedorf too until the last game.
  • Work Rate: This has been the main reason Ronaldinho left in January. Allegri confined him to the bench for the lack of work rate. This had a positive influence on Robinho. He had to step up his game in order to be in the starting eleven. The Result -We saw a complete different Robinho from the troublesome one who played for Manchester City. He might have missed some sitters this season, but it was his work rate and defensive work that received the most of the appreciation.
  • Development of Ignazio Abate: Leonardo might have been the first one who made Abate play at right back but it was Allegri who helped, or developed, him to a complete full back. He has been outstanding all season and rightly been mentioned in the media to be part of Prandelli's Italy soon.


  1. First of all congrats on wining the title.. Great to see a change at the top of the Serie A after the lows of the match fixing scandal.. :) Will be exciting if Milan can reclaim their lost European glory..

  2. They will rise in Europe again. For that reason, work has already started in bringing highly rated Brazilian 21 yr old playmaker Ganso to Milan!