After being criticized on the level of insanity in all his experiments, Massimiliano Allegri has finally responded to his critics. He has not spoken a word of disbelief and has silenced one and all by ending the year with AC Milan on the Summit. Everything he has touched has turned in to gold and with Milan’s plans in the winter transfer window, the Scudetto seems more or less secured. So what has Allegri seen that his predecessors could not??
The Balancing Act
All of Milan’s previous managers have had a formation fixation. Carlito was a man for the Christmas Tree and Leo wanted to score 5 goals in each and every game with a 4-3-3. They hoped for too much instead of thinking and this led to the downfall of AC Milan. When Allegri came to Milan he was surely backed up with Milan’s summer signing bonanza. No matter how much Galliani is praised but the real pressure is on the manager to play them in the right formation and win at the same time. Max followed on the footsteps of Leo and it clearly did not work out with a three pronged attack. Ronaldinho and Pato were completely out of sync at the flanks and Milan’s attack looked wasteful. To top it up, as and when they lost the ball, the midfield looked so static that Milan inadvertently found themselves losing out on the counter attacks.
Where Allegri scored was when all his so called insane experiments transformed into a blessing in disguise. After trying out all the ingredients, he finally found the right mix and that’s when the 4-3-1-2 was born. He was quick to figure that playing Pirlo and Seedorf together was like mixing Wine with an expired Cola. Due to the Lack of pace in the midfield, Rino, out of his passion, starting going forward to make something happen. His age did not allow him to track back and that caused the lackluster performance by the defense line.
The 4-3-1-2 strengthened the midfield and Rino recaptured his lost effectiveness. Kevin Prince Boateng has been the find of the season and has excelled in each and every position which he has been offered. With this formation Ibrahimovic has been given the freedom which he missed at Barcelona and his chemistry with Robinho and the Prince has allowed him to score goals and also hold the ball for others to chip in.
The Phase Out
Courage is something that you need to keep a player like Ronaldinho out of the team. Carlito and Leo did not have it in them to go against Silvio Berlusconi as R80 was his favourite. On the other hand Allegri has never managed a team as big as Milan and it was pretty amateur to hope that he would throw the Brazillian out of the scheme of things. This would have led to a lot of bad mouthing as Ronnie is still considered as a legend by Milan faithfuls and the Club owners would not have liked this kind of a controversy just at the starting of Allegri’s tenure. Moreover had Milan lost a couple of matches when R80 was left out, who knows what Silvio would have done considering his disturbed state of mind.
Allegri gave him a lot of chances and when things were not working out, he gradually started using other options. That’s when Seedorf was played as an attacking mideo. Many termed it as a blunder but again one cannot dispose R80 and Seedorf, a Milan legend, at the same time. This was a master stroke and it turned into gold. Its quite evident that Ronaldinho’s days at Milan are numbered. Allegri can try to avoid insulting the former world player of the year by bringing him on the field in injury time but maybe he wants to extract the full out of R80 before he leaves. Max at his very best.
Rino, a guy who wears his heart on the sleeve of the Rossoneri jersey was down and out. He had been mediocre since the past year or so and the Tifosi were on his neck asking him to hang up his boots. He has been given a new lease of life by Allegri. It does not take rocket science to figure out that Rino is not in the team for his passing abilities. He is there to break play, track back and follow the opposition till death. He is not growing any younger, so Max has given him support by making Abate run in tandem with the Italian. As a result both these players are seen following and man marking a single soul. This has given enough exposure to the young Abate and his defensive abilities have nurtured whilst playing with the legendary Italian. He still has a lot to learn though and by including him in the starting lineup, Max has instilled confidence in the fullback to play for a club as big as Milan.
Flamini after being ignored for the past season was all set to leave the San Siro, but he has been assured of a starting place as Milan look to get rid of Seedorf. It was unfortunate that he got injured again, otherwise Milan could have ended 2010 with more than 36 points.
The Rossoneri are on the right track and hopes from the winter transfer window are at an all time high. Antonio Cassano will be seen sporting the red n black after the winter break. This move will give some depth to the Milan squad and give rise to a whole new dilemma when Pato returns. This has been a tale of revival for the Diavolo and this saga will continue to flourish with Allegri at the helm.