Chivas Guadalajara vs. AC Milan: How Rossoneri Will Line Up in Houston

Matteo BonettiContributor IAugust 5, 2014

PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 27:  M'Baye Niang #19 of AC Milan handles the ball against Aleksandar Kolarov #11 of Manchester City during International Champions Cup 2014 at Heinz Field on July 27, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

On Wednesday night, Milan will continue their abysmal summer tour in North America as they take on Mexican side Chivas Guadalajara in Houston, Texas.

After losing their first three summer friendlies by a 10-1 goal margin, any glimmer of hope is needed for the Rossoneri as they look to take anything positive away that can carry on into the upcoming Serie A season.

What's been a constant is Filippo Inzaghi's 4-3-3 formation, which he used when coaching Milan's youth level.

Unfortunately, there hasn't been enough creativity in the midfield to create an abundance of chances, and the back line has been exposed as an unorganized, awkward unit that concedes plenty.

The case can be made that new Brazilian defender Alex still needs to build chemistry with the other defenders, but so far, he has been exposed alongside the others in the back line.

Alex wins a header after a set piece.
Alex wins a header after a set piece.Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Predicting a formation for a friendly match that is used for experimental purposes is never easy, but there are a few signs from previous friendlies that can hint at how Inzaghi plans to utilize the match.

Ignazio Abate and Mattia De Sciglio seem to be the favored options at full-back and will most likely start against the Mexican side. In the middle, expect Adil Rami to continue getting time with either Alex or Philippe Mexes, a player he knows very well from the French national team.

The midfield has been an area of experimentation, with Riccardo Saponara used in the 4-3-3 formation in a role similar to the one Angel Di Maria had last season with Real Madrid.

TORONTO, ON - JULY 24: Riccardo Sapanara #8 of AC Milan gets the ball past Dimitris Kolovos #12 of Olympiacos FC during International Champions Cup 2014 action at BMO Field July 24, 2014 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
Abelimages/Getty Images

Saponara is not normally used to that position, but he is being converted into a player who can add a burst of creativity to a unit that has been stale in the middle of the park. While Saponara tries to bring the flair, expect the likes of Sulley Muntari and Michael Essien to bring the steel.

Essien looks to take a more defensive position as Muntari often likes to make streaking runs into the box where he has the ability to score.

Upfront, Mario Balotelli should get the nod after Giampaolo Pazzini started from the first minute against Liverpool. The mercurial Balotelli had a poor World Cup with Italy and has been involved in plenty of transfer rumors, despite remaining put with the Serie A side.

It's better if Stephan El Shaarawy and M'Baye Niang continue getting time as the two wingers flanking the main striker. El Shaarawy has essentially been out of action since the 2012/13 season, and Niang is desperate to show that he belongs after getting in off-field trouble and being loaned out.

Overall, expect an improved effort from Milan as they try to salvage some dignity from the summer that has been a horror show up until this point.