Milan without a #9


WITH THE decline of Pippo Inzaghi, Milan no longer have a #9 striker, but have adapted admirably. 

Milan’s attack is currently the best through 7 matches, scoring 12 goals for an average of 1.71 goals/game. Unfortunately for our side, we have also conceded 11 goals, 1.57 goals/game. Having the best defense last season in Serie A, I believe that our defense just needs more time to sort themselves out. Milan’s offense, on the other hand, remains as potent as it was last year. Last season we scored 65 goals in 38 games, a 1.71 goals/game average.

One of the reasons for our success last year was due to a distribution of goals amongst our players, most notably, among our front three. Ibrahimovic, Robinho, and Pato all tied for 8th on the Serie A scoring charts, scoring 14 league goals apiece. Last season differed from our previous successful campaigns due to the fact that we had three equal threats on goal, as opposed to one, out and out, scorer who soars above his compatriots. In 06/07 it was Kaka with 17 goals in all competitions (Inzaghi with 14, then Seedorf, Pato and Gilardino with 9) In 03/04 it was Shevchenko with 28 (Kaka 14, Tomasson 12).

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The difference between these two previously mentioned seasons and last season, tactically, is the absence of a true #9. The absence of a #9 has caused teams to play differently against us. In 03/04 our point of the attack, Shevchenko, made his living scoring in the box. Also, doing the same throughout his career is the master of tap-ins: Phillipo Inzaghi. Both of these strikers made a name for themselves on their predatory instincts inside the box, and their ability to turn loose balls in the box into goals for Milan.

In today’s Milan, we do not have such a player on our squad (he is 38 and often cut from the team). Upon his arrival, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was supposed to be that player for us, as he often was for Inter. That being said, Zlatan has not performed that role for Milan, as he likes to bring the ball up the pitch himself. I suspect it is his need for perfection that drives it, but in any event, Zlatan likes to have the ball, whenever, where ever. This usually ends up being outside the box. From here, he often takes on the role of creator. This sometimes means that Ibrahimovic has to drive into the box himself and unleash a shot, this sometimes means he has to pass and look for a give and go, and sometimes, it means he has to pass and stay stationary and wait for movement to develop. This slows down our attack, and allows our midfielders to come forward, which is when Milan does their most damage.

It is my personal observation that many of Milan’s best attacks start from the edge of the box, either on the right side or the left. Abate’s crosses, Cassano’s lobbed crosses, Ibra’s dribbling moves, and KPB’s forward pushing runs all ensure that the most dangerous area for Milan is between the sides of the 18 and the sides of the 6.


It is from this position that Milan are able to do their most damage. Aquilani is able to hit long shots in from outside the box, as is Zlatan and more recently Kevin Prince-Boateng.  All of these players can dart into the box, and be targets for headballs (see goals against Lazio and Lecce), they can wait and continue to pass the ball around the box and hold possession, or they can make themselves available for deflections, redirections, and shots on the one-touch.

This method has been effective thus far. Milan only failed to score in 6 matches last season. This was second to only Napoli in the league last season. This year, we also seem to show the same sort of diversity of attack, as 9 different players have already found the back of the net. To put that in perspective, last season, 13 players found the back of the net. We’re well on our way to another successful season, number 9 or not.


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Rossonero 23

if we had a proper CAM, Ibra could easily perform as the number 9..instead Zlatan has to drop very deep in order to collect and distribute.


As i said 100 times before Eriksen will rezolve this problem for many years:)


absolutely right. I vote for Ganso yeaaaahh.


An article or what, anyway good write up, but still need some player’s in dis squad, to compete in ucl


I think we are performing admirably even without one. Give the squad time.

Rossonero 23

yet…you are demanding Eriksen.

i dont understand you sometimes.


Where did I say we shouldn’t move for Eriksen? I’m all for moving for new players. Dede (Vasco da Gama) and Eriksen would be great in the summer.

You try to put words in my mouth. Please stop responding to me.


*winter, not summer. I’m not switching to IE or Firefox…

Rossonero 23

I thought we were signing Eriksen in January???

Rossonero 23

so much for that post.

lmao. my badzzz:D:D:D:D:D:D


Well Noticed!


As the Season pushes on, Milan will get better!


we need the new #10 player


Am I the only one who finds it disturbing that only 4 of our goals were scored by strikers? One of them by robinho, who I think was playing as a trequartista, and 2 by cassano, who is more of a second-striker… Our forwards really need to step up. Ibra needs to take lessons from boateng. Pato needs to learn…a lot, really. Cassano should seriously take more shots. against barca, and against napoli, i dont think he had even one shot on goal.


I’m not disturbed at all. Ibra has had two CL goals and was vital in those both games. Pato… well… we all know where he is (treatment table). Cas*sano has had many as-sists. Cas*sano will also only work well with a proper midfield… as we saw against Lecce.


Ibra has laid all his strength on getting Milan out of the group stages in CL. What do you want from him? Should Ibra get some lessons from KPB. Are f!!! kidding me? Ibra is the engine in Milan. Last season he had the most work-rate in both attack and midfield. Give it a rest. When you are using two DM in a game like Lecce without any real creativity in them you don’t need an attack you need a prayer.


When I said he should get lessons from KPB, i didn’t mean work rate. I was referring to KPB practicing his shooting. Ibrahimovic is our main striker, he needs a better finishing rate. Not Inzaghi-like, but at least something better than last season (10 shots to land 1 goal). He’s a bit too wasteful for my liking, although every other aspect of his game has been top-notch.


Ibra is a big as-sist man, and he’s the one that scored in the CL. He is carrying us into the next round. I think we should be happy with him. He’s made 12-13 as-sists last season… I think… and 15 in all tournaments.


Aren’t we forgetting someone now? What’s his name? Oh, right.. Pato?

Rossonero 23

pato is fine though….allegri admitted it in the interview in one of the posts. he doesn’t want to let pato until after the next international break though….which is sad. shows how weak pato is.


Milan dont have a trequartista like Kaka, so a lot more is required from Ibra! If Milan sign a trequartista or a CAM like Ganso, Eriksen, Van Der Vaart, Luca Modric, or a Douglas Costa who is a great young talent. Then Ibra and Pato will score more goals!


Playing without a proper CAM is more of an issue than lack of a number 9. Eriksen would remedy this problem as would Montolivo in midfield. It is no mystery Boateng is not creative enough for the CAM role. Nonetheless, the squad performs admirably without one.


I definitely think Pato is our most clinical finisher, he’s always shown that even in his dips of form. I’ve said before that while Milan are playing a 4-3-1-2 Ibrahimovic should be the trequartista.


Zlatan knows that. He has said it so many times before. But until we get a creative player on the same level as Ibra in our midfield Ibra will perform in the same way. Last season every time Ibra had the ball he also attracted several players to his position leaving an vast empty space in front of the goal. The side note is that Ibra seldom gets any free kicks because of his size when he rushes through his opponents. Zlatan slowing down the attack is only a matter of perspective, I like to see it that he is… Read more »


Ibra as a sole trequartista is a also something to consider.


Ibra as a trequartista would be a waste of talent.


It depends on the situation. He has the talent in either way.


I dunno I think Ibrahimovic’s ability to play in those passes that no one else sees combined with Pato and Robihno’s pace and movement would be pretty cool. It may also stop the defenders always trying to hit Ibrahimovic with that long ball.


Ibra as a trequartista? Are you kidding me?. He’s good where he is. Please.


Please what?


Ibra is good where he is. The idea is almost as bad as making Thiago Silva a left back or midfielder.


i hope Zlatan scores 2morrow

Milan francis

I agree,Ibra can be a bit wasteful(eg against BATE)I think atimes he add too much venom on his shots,especially whenever he is inside the box.




Good analysis, I think the problem is that Milan requires some more good ball makers so Ibra don’t have to assist and has more chance to score goals


the only thing milan is missing right now a player who can do the same role as rui casta or kaka had before. ganso or lucas are the best options

It's Maqq

With Montolivo on his way and hopefully a proper CAM we will see all new Dimension of MILAN terrifying defenses, but right now i think along with midfielders we definitely need defensive re-enforcements after conceding 11 goals, we should be starting from a DMF as I won’t be surprised if all of our DMF’s retire or leave by the end of the season. Nesta still has it in him but I’m sure next season he won’t have the legs to match the pace of modern game. We need a strong CB as a backup along with Mexes. As Bonera is… Read more »


How can we give the team some time when our midfield is ageing.we need players who can reduce the burden from the attackers n i think eriksen,montolivo,caseimero are needed in the team.our defence shd be rejuvinated.


I think for now all we need is at least 1 creative player in MF/AM so Allegri can have more options especially when we’re desperately in need of goal or against defensive teams.


It’d be the best getting two creative minds in the winter-market – Montolivo will arrive, i’m sure. The other one? A brazilian with a non-EU passport: Ganso, Casemiro, etc.
Eriksen is a good player (i watched him before) but isn’t he cup-tied for the UCLtop16?

Getting all 3 would be fine, but that’s what i’d call miracle.


we need balotelli

Mr Goph

Seriously? Ibra should learn from Kpb? Seriously? Just so u know Ibra operates more as a cam than kpb do. Ibra have to track back to retrieve balls and create chances and all of a sudden he should learn from kpb because he scored a hatrick? Answer this, who was milan’s top scorer last season?, who was our top as*ist?, who score a bicycle kick winner vs Fiorentina?, who won the goal of the season?, who carried milan in the first half of the season?, who score the winner vs inter in the derby? And i can go on all… Read more »


We used to have Rui Costa filling this position then came Kaka. Since his departure we havent succesful get one to replace him, we need Ganso. Erikson is overrated kid either Ganso or Hazzard afterall our coach ignored El Sharawi i cant understand why