FAN ARTICLE by Ayodaygee.
It’s the modern day formation. Juup Heynckes won everything with it. Arsene Wenger has drifted into this often. Mourinho used it while in Madrid. It’s a great formation, yes, and it requires great personnel.
Now it’s a thing of joy watching your new coach hoping to emulate this formation. In his first press conference, he announced that AC Milan will be lining up in the 4-2-3-1 form. Many claimed that for this formation to excel, Milan would need fast wingers. Milan would need excellent double pivot mildfielders.
Great, but Milan didn’t really possess out and out wingers. Rather we had great attacking forwards. This was apparent in matches with Bologna and Hellas Verona where Seedorf kept clamouring for Honda and Robinho to spread out wide. Naturally they were not wingers. The double pivoters have always been great but they could not initiate attacks well. This was why we frequently saw Kaka drifting back to initiate attacks. All these were summed up when we met Napoli. Napoli is a team built after the 4-4-2 model. In more explicit terms, they play 4-2-2-1-1 with 2 wingers and a support striker. In order to excel, experience has taught Benitez that this formation must be played with frequent long passess. The short passing system would disorganize such a model. This sole reason is why Liverpool crumbled under Benitez when they lost Xabi Alonso. The sole reason most double pivots are edged on a ball winner that sits back and a long ball playmaker. This is why players like Alonso, Pirlo are going to keep on being employed all through their careers.
Against Napoli we were exposed. The 4-2-3-1 also relied on the swift long balls, swift counter attacks and swift play and this we were found deficient in. Because we really wanted to build slowly, there was a gap created between our double pivot and the defence. This led to our regular exposures because Napoli just sat back and played us with the long direct balls. One good quality about Seedorf his that he knows players and knows their characteristics well.
Our best matches have been when Poli supposedly played as the center attacking forward. But who are we kidding, with Poli on the pitch, Milan are not playing a 4-2-3-1 but rather a 4-2-1-2-1. This could also easily become a 4-2-1-3 when attacking. So I don’t get it when Seedorf replaces a injured Poli with a pure attacking center forward in Saponara. We lost a lot of steam after that. Seedorf saw the light when he brought on Poli for the first time against Bologna and suddenly we were on top of everything. The attacking forwards seemed to have more space to run into. Those last few minutes in that match were joyous for any fan.
Seedorf is doing well in my opinion. He seems to me to be very attentive. We all need to recall our experiecnces on our first jobs. He has been trained all his life to be a footballer so being a coach is really a new field to him. If you are not pleased with him, then try getting a new job in an entirely new field. He will do well. How do I know this? It’s because he reads games well. Now this is my sermon, until Seedorf realises that right now with no longball specialist, Milan excels in a 3 man midfield and that our best games have been with the 4-2-1-2-1 and not the 4-2-3-1 ideology.