AC Milan: What the Rossoneri Need to Do to Regain the Scudetto
For a side that has earned tremendous amounts of success during the past few years, AC Milan have fallen startlingly far in a short period of time.
Perhaps many are overreacting to the impact of Silvio Burlesconi's austerity measures during the summer and the sales of some of the club's best players, but this Milan side looks rather bereft of inspiration at the moment.
Whatever the reason, AC Milan certainly do not look like fulfilling their preseason goals of winning the Scudetto and potentially challenging for the Champions League.
Here are a few things that the Rossoneri should do to get back on track.
I might have said that AC Milan need to keep Robinho healthy, as he is just now returning from a month-long injury absence. But, as reported by Goal.com, there is serious interest in him from elsewhere.
Most notably, Santos have expressed their interest in bringing their native son back to Brazil, and that will be a tough pill to swallow for Milan fans.
Despite his fragility and inconsistency, Robinho still has almost all of the skills that made him into a world-class player, and he is one of the few truly creative and unpredictable players left in the squad.
Resisting a move back home is one of the keys to Milan's success.
Commit to Winning the Midfield Battle
One of the biggest reasons why Milan have failed to produce decent performances recently is that they are getting both out-passed and out-tackled in midfield.
Against Anderlecht, there was little that was produced through the middle, robbing the strikers of valuable service and making it much easier for the Belgians to defend.
Moreover, it was apparent that there was no real urgency on Milan's part to really produce much of anything with incisive passes—and they never grabbed hold of the game as a result.
To get back to winning ways, this will have to be solved immediately.
Switch to a 3-5-2 Formation
A possible way to reinvigorate AC Milan's attack and inspire creativity is to simply trot out a much more forward-thinking and versatile formation.
Juventus have run the 3-5-2 to great effect when operated with extremely disciplined defenders and a team defending mentality in midfield.
Putting in an extra creative player such as Antonio Nocerino or Riccardo Montolivo beside Kevin-Prince Boateng would add another brain and set of feet to make things happen, and would help Milan control the possession.
Even if Massimiliano Allegri decides to add an extra defensive midfielder, he would still have to tactical flexibility to arrange his midfield however he pleases with two quality strikers.
Keep Massimiliano Allegri
There have been a great many calls for Allegri to either step down or be fired from his post, with Rafa Benitez mentioned as a possible replacement for the distinguished manager.
To some degree, the fans' anger is understandable; after all, the club has not lost its opening two home games since 1930 and looks as if it is barely treading water from a footballing perspective.
Part of that is Allegri's fault, but we must remember how much he has done for Milan in the recent past, and what a capable boss he has shown himself to be.
In his first season, he won the Scudetto, and in the second, finished runner-up to a Juventus side that went unbeaten. And the Rossoneri have gone far in multiple cup competitions during his time in charge.
Perhaps a tactical rethink is needed, but the problem here lies mostly with the players and not their manager.
Keep Everyone Healthy
Obviously, not everyone will be healthy and in form at the same time, but AC Milan have several of their best players out at the moment, which, to some degree, excuses the struggles they have been having.
Neither Robinho, Riccardo Montolivo nor Alexandre Pato were available against Anderlecht—when their services were sorely required—and most would agree that having those two names in the starting XI significantly boost a team's chances of winning.
Their return will, in turn, lift others around them. Giampaolo Pazzini needs service provided by a creative player alongside him, and Robinho or Montolivo could be his perfect partner.
While Pato's future is a bit murkier, there are signs of hope in a very depressing start to the season for AC Milan, and they could yet make a title push.