Piolo has set up Milan to be a well-organised, structured unit this season which has been key to their success. The veteran manager has had spells at the likes of Sampdoria, Lazio, Inter and Fiorentina, but it’s starting to click with the Rossoneri.
His 4-2-3-1 system is working wonders, causing problems for opposition – shown by only Inter scoring more goals in Serie A so far. As well as their organisation and pressing, a big factor of their attacking prowess comes from the wing-play, overloading the flanks to be able to get crosses or cutbacks into the box.
That’s shown with Milan boasting the greatest number of successful crosses into the box in Italy’s top tier this season. Davide Calabria is the usual starter at right-back, with the 24-year-old becoming a regular in the side under Piolo and becoming influential going forward. The Milan youth graduate often provides overlaps or underlaps for the attacking wingers, with one of the defensive midfielders filling in and covering to protect the backline in defensive phases.
That’s also the case with the left side, with either former Real Madrid left-back Theo Hernandez or new signing from Monaco, Fode Ballo-Toure, often getting forward down the left side, allowing the left-winger to cut inside and terrorise defences. Calabria and Hernandez have been directly involved (either a goal or assist) in a combined six goals in Milan’s 12 Serie A games this season.
They aren’t just a threat on the flanks either, with their central midfielders having the passing abilities to play balls through the centre that cut through defensive lines. Piolo also likes to switch it up and go with a more direct approach, with the defence going long and bypassing the midfield to find a target man up front, either Olivier Giroud or a certain Swedish legend, that can hold the ball up for the speedy attackers around him to play off.